Thank you Zondervan via BookSneeze for providing me a copy of this book!
Chase Falson is the founding pastor of the largest Contemporary Evangelical Church in New England, Putnam Hill Community Church. However, a sudden and unlikely event involving a 9-yr-old from his church cause some small cracks that have been forming in his faith to blow apart, and one sermon ends with his being forced into a leave of absence in which he used to travel to Italy and become acquainted with St. Francis of Assissi.
I enjoyed Chase's journey with Francis and the cast of characters he meets during that journey. Francis was faced with similar consumer driven issues within the church and the fiction of the story mixed with some of the truth that was Francis made for a warm, fun story to follow.
Chase felt real to me throughout and his transformation never felt overly forced or preachy which I appreciated. Through Chase's journal entries readers learn a lot about Francis, but also a lot about Chase. Through those journal entries and his talks with the band of Franciscan priests, readers can definitely connect to Chase's past and how he found himself immersed in a faith and a belief system that didn't feel authentic anymore. I definitely related to mindful struggles he had throughout.
There were moments in the middle of the book where I felt somewhat bored like things were being dragged out a little, but for the most part this book flowed quite well, and I must admit made me very interested in learning more about St. Francis and what all he accomplished (I am not Catholic and have no background on Francis at all, but I was impressed with some of the ideas presented by Cron).
All in all, I found the story and characters enjoyable and worth the read, and I can say with all confidence that if someone in my area wanted to start a church to be led as Francis would lead it, I'd buy in immediately!
I was provided an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.
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