Review

The Color of Light. Emilie Richards

book cover

The Color of Light
Emilie Richards
Published: Mira
Date: July 28th 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 496
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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For more than a decade minister Analiese Wagner has felt privileged to lead her parishioners along a well-lit path. Her commitment has never been seriously tested until the frigid night she encounters a homeless family huddling in the churchyard. Offering them shelter in a vacant parish house apartment and taking teenage Shiloh Fowler—a girl desperate to rescue her parents—under her wing, she tests the loyalty and faith of her congregation.

Isaiah Colburn, the Catholic priest who was her first mentor and the man she secretly longed for, understands her struggles only too well. At a crossroads, he’s suddenly reappeared in her life, torn between his priesthood and his growing desire for a future with Analiese.

Divided between love and vows they’ve taken, both must face the possibilities of living very different lives or continuing to serve their communities. With a defeated family’s trust and her own happiness on the line, Analiese must define for herself where darkness ends and light begins. 

My thoughts banner
The Color of Light is #4 in the Goddesses Anonymous series by Emilie Richards.  It is one of my top favourite series and the The Color of Light just added to the allure.
When Emilie Richards writes of church she has a ring of authority and compassion.  A vision that is inspiring. And so we have in this novel the story of Analiese the pastor of the local church. Annaliese is the kind of pastor I’d want for any and every church.  She is strong, caring and compassionate.  She is not about institution, she is about people.  However the life of a pastor is not an easy one.  If you belong to or have belonged to a parish of any kind, I am sure you are aware of the variety of people and their politics. That must be very taxing as a minister tries to follow their calling and deal with all the other minutiae that goes along with the role.  Annaliese has a lot to contend with, often no time to eat or call her own.  But she has a calling to ministry and it goes deeply into her being.
Annaliese welcomes a homeless family into a small apartment that is attached to the church when she finds them preparing to camp out in the cold.  The Fowler family play a big part in this story and through it a church is offered the chance to explore what church is really about.  This family has many problems and at the beginning it is Shiloh a fourteen year old that holds them together.  How best to help them? There are a variety of ways, but which way is going to lead to self respect, dignity and eventually the chance to be independent and whole again as people and as a family?
Isaiah is a Roman Catholic priest and Jesuit, arrives in the area, taking time out to explore his calling. Analiese and he have known each other many years ago, when he helped her discover her calling to ministry.  However they have not been in contact for many years until now.  I thought Emilie Richards explored his path and journey very well.  I was very satisfied finally with the way he made his choices in line with his calling.
Of course we meet other characters from previous books and see their lives continuing to take shape. We see the struggles of the homeless, we see a very topical issue facing the church and Annaliese – one that Annaliese handles extremely well. While it is foreshadowed before it happens I don’t want to discuss it so as not to give away the plot.  
This book oozes warmth and humanity at its best and occasionally at its weakest.  My heart was deeply touched by an “I love you” and the response to it.  And no, it wasn’t between Annaliese and Isaiah!
Story telling with sensitivity and at its finest.
5 stars