“God must have a plan in this.” Aunt Win
Set primarily against the vast expanse and beauty of Big Sky Country in the state of Montana, Willow Feller’s novel The Epic Undoing of Haley Ann Ewing, is not just a journey across the United States from the urban east coast to the heart of the northern plains, it is also a journey in the life, heart, and soul of Haley Ann Ewing, mother-to-be; school teacher; and a very self-assured person of faith.
Humorous and thought provoking, this work of fiction proves to be soul searching as well as entertaining as we follow Haley across the country with her husband Rick, on a summer work assignment, and his eccentric aunt Win. Leaving behind a church fellowship of people who are trendy and technologically in touch with one another, we see, as the journey progresses the “undoing” of Ewing as they progress further west.
And Ewing’s undoing is related both to the loss of her various things such as her smartphone, named ‘Hal’ by her husband, and the slow but sure loss of her identity as a self-assured believer in Jesus. The result is both a hysterical look at our dependence on the new modern conveniences of social media, green cars, and the like and the deeper issue of what constitutes an authentic faith and life in Christ.
Key to understanding the main themes of the novel (which I think are focused on the Ewing’s judgmental attitudes) is the tension between the post-modern Haley and the eccentric and rustic Aunt Win. The result is an honest look at the always present danger of a faith moving away from a heart warming and soul focused faith and toward an external focus on the “right” connections and fads.
I liked this book because it made me laugh, then it made me think, and then it made me take a look at my own blind spots. This is a well-written novel which is not preachy but offers the reader some serious reflection about faith, hope, and love
I rate this novel a ‘very good’ read.
Note: I was asked by the author to read and review this book. I agreed to do so without the promise of a positive review.