Title: Ascension of Larks
Author: Rachel Linden
Genre/Audience: Contemporary fiction, adult
Publication: Thomas Nelson, 2017
Source: For review, TLC Book Tours
Ohhh, this book just pulled me in and tugged at my heart with a deep story, lost love, and much more.
Maggie Henry is a wildly successful photographer who travels the world for work and is not tied down by anything. She’s kept a secret though that has torn her apart for years: she’s in love with Marco, a man who is married to her best friend, Lena. The three were inseparable in college, until Lena and Marco became a two-some. Though love and passion between Marco and Maggie is evident, as they both have fiery personalities and a deep understanding of one another and their pasts… he chooses Lena, the safer and easier option. Maggie is heartbroken but must hide how she feels in order to maintain her friendship with Lena, the woman who loves her like a sister. She begins to travel the world for work so she can get away, but is pulled back into their orbit, quickly becoming a trio of best friends once again.
When Marco dies in a tragic accident, Lena calls on Maggie to come home and help her with their three young children and all their grief. At the same time, she is offered the opportunity of a lifetime in her career, which makes her feel torn, as though she must decide between the two. Throw in some interesting side characters like the mysterious Daniel, a man responsible for Marco’s accident, and Aunt Ellen, who helps hold the family together, and you have one heck of a novel.
While the first couple of chapters were a bit slow to start, I quickly got to a point where I didn’t want to put the book down. I was taken back in time to the trio’s college years and saw the evolution of all these relationships and my heart was so heavy. While it truly seemed as though Maggie and Marco were soulmates, he pushed her away, or “let her go,” supposedly for her own good.
I love how this book deals with so many hard things – death, heartbreak, family, lost love, grief – while also bringing the characters to life as we see them grapple with their emotions. I cared so much about these people and became so invested in Maggie’s life, wanting desperately for her to be happy. I was heartbroken and angry for her and felt so many of the emotions right alongside her. This is by no means a light and fluffy book and deals with some real, deep issues and I was racing through it to see what resolution, if any, there would be. Ultimately, it was such a powerful and moving story.
While this book is published by a Christian publisher, don’t let that deter you in any way if Christian fiction isn’t your thing. It’s not really my thing either, but I do read it on occasion. Honestly, this story was SO SO compelling and not preachy in any way, shape or form. It didn’t read like typical Christian fiction at all and I devoured it as quickly as I could because it was just so good.
If you enjoy books that deal with hard topics and heartbreak and stories that bring characters to life in a really good way, pick this book up. You won’t be sorry. I know I’m going to be on the lookout for other books by this author now. These characters and this story will stay with me for a long time to come!