Silver Birches by acclaimed British author Adrian Plass is less of a story and more of a fictional memoir of David Herrick, a traveling Christian speaker. Having lost his wife to a devastating illness, David (in first-person narrative) brings the reader into the very soul of his grief, sharing his anger toward God. Plass describes David’s mourning in minute detail. David begs for one more touch from his beloved wife Jessica, one more conversation with her. He simply cannot accept her being gone forever, even though he knows she is with God.
A friend from twenty years past asks David to attend a weekend at an old castle-like house with some other friends to share their lives and feelings. David reluctantly attends and learns more that he expects. The friends are from a youth group at St. Mark’s Church, and they each bring their own emotional baggage. In fact, one of them, Andrew, leaves on Saturday morning, having felt insulted by an attendee named Mike the evening before. Then David learns that Jenny had been in love with him as a teenager, while Peter admits to David that he is a celibate homosexual. Angela discloses hatred for her ex-husband for leaving her, and Mike says that he doesn’t have “the Christian faith” shared by the others.
Although there is no direct biblical quote, references to Christ are running aspects of the book. A major theme is the philosophy that we must follow Jesus just as we are, not in ways that others may want us to be. At the end of the novel is a stunning letter written by David’s wife Jessica, right before her death, which is a perfect finale for this story. Beautifully written, with generous analogies and metaphors, this book is recommended for the Christian reader, men and women alike. – Anita Sue Tiemeyer, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
When David Herrick receives an invitation to a reunion from a long-forgotten acquaintance, his first reaction is to refuse. He isn't feeling very sociable since his wife, Jessica, died six months ago.
But the invitation comes from Angela, one of his wife's oldest friends—and mysteriously, she has something for him from his beloved Jessica. Reluctant but curious, he visits Headly Manor. When the friends gather, they no longer resemble the fresh-faced group of twenty years ago. One has been deserted by her husband, another has lost his faith, and another is filled with anger and Bitterness. As they have less than forty-eight hours with each other, they decide to be vulnerable and bear their souls. This poignant and moving story blends Adrian Plass's rich style of writing with his knack for addressing the deep issues we all face, such as faith, grief, love … and fear.