Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW: The Sinner's Garden by William Sirls

Title: The Sinner's Garden
Series: none
Author: William Sirls
Published Date: Dec 17, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: paperback
Pages: 408
ISBN: 1401687385
Copy provided by: BookSneeze
Genre: Christian fiction
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Synopsis: In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden …
Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.
As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

My Review: From the very first page, I was entranced by this book. I received it in the afternoon, and promised myself I would read the first hundred pages that night. That way, I could get the reading of the book done in four days. By the time I could tear myself away from the book that night, I was halfway through the book. If I didn't have work the next day, I would have stayed up reading it all night. 
Andy is a struggling teenager with a disfiguring scar he hides behind his long hair. His Uncle Rip just came back from prison after finding God behind bars. Andy's mom, Rip's sister, is fighting her own internal battles of self-worth after being the victim of an abusive relationship. What a bunch of broken people, and yet, that's where God works best, isn't it?
I loved watching the transformation of each character play out as God worked through each of them. However, I thought the set-up for the end of the book was unoriginal. On the other hand, I was not expecting who the "Summer Santa" actually ended up being. The ending was the only part of the book that disappointed me.

FTC compliance (BookSneeze): Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I am so excited for this book. I hate that I missed requesting it for review!

  2. Kristin, it was such a good book! It was a great introduction to this author for me.