"Hope comes in an unexpected way, but not without a price."
"A Reason to Hope" is an inspiring debut novella by A.L. Marquardt, inspiring not only because of its genre, Christian Science Fiction, but also because it's one of the best indie efforts I've yet seen.
The story of a female assassin thrown from her job by a disfiguring accident leads to themes of perfection vs. misfits, sexuality, acceptance vs. condemnation, drug use, and salvation. Atypical for Christian fiction, homosexuality is portrayed as a main issue and dealt with as a question more than as a definite answer.
Pulled right into Preeah's journey with a hard yank that refuses to let go, a reader is opened to thoughts and ideas but left to come to her own conclusions. Right and wrong is pondered, but not "settled," in the vein of John Irving. "A Reason to Hope" gives us a reason to stop and think. It ends softly, giving us the feeling it is not an ending, but a beginning.
Other than a minor criticism of wanting more varying sentence structures and less use of "she" instead of the character's name (which I heard from early critiques of my work), Marquardt's prose is smooth and well-edited (a big plus for indie work), with pacing that keeps a reader well into the story.
The back cover states the author is seeking an agent for her full-length novel. I hope that happens soon, as this is an an author to watch!
** Side note: a signed copy of "A Reason to Hope" is included in the raffle below.