Most of us think of the desert as a dry and barren place. Kathleen Popa's lyrical prose reveals the desert to be a place of beauty and wonder where God whispers his love to us, if we only have ears to hear. To Dance in the Desert (RiverOak) offers hope and encouragement to anyone who has experienced desert times through the story of Dara Murphy Brogan, who has fled to a home in the desert to escape her broken past. But through some wonderful characters she learns to trust and love again, and find the healing and peace that only come from God.
I couldn't put this book down -- not because of the plot so much as because I fell in love with Dara and her new friends. The story is fairly straightforward, with the plot revolving around turns of character more than turns of events (though certainly there is drama and conflict to propel the story). Dara learns first to accept, then love, her new friend Jane (best described as a hippie missionary earth mother). And from Jane, Dara learns to listen to the voice of God telling her he loves her and calling her to follow him, even though she can't imagine anyone loving her or wanting her around, so damaged is her view of herself. But once you let one person into your life, a whole host of others will soon follow, and so it is for Dara. She takes a job in the restaurant owned by Jane's brother, Tom (a widower); she is beguiled by Tom's little daughter, Clemmie; she is drawn into the life of a mysterious stranger, Sophie; and she begins to find answers to questions that have haunted her all her life.
This book moved me to laughter and to tears and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a beautiful story that shows how God's grace is at work around us. Kathleen has done a wonderful job of writing about faith in a natural way, with characters who live in the same fallen world we all do and have the same kind of struggles we all know, and ask the same kind of questions we all ask -- and choose to trust the Lord.
I know I tend to wax enthusiastic about a book I really enjoy, but I don't think you'll be disappointed if you pick up a copy of To Dance in the Desert.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, she lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!