Even The Darkness

Christian - Fiction
212 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Following in his father's footsteps, preacher Scott Daniels begins his first ministry in a small rural town. Battling his own feelings of self-loathing and tormented memories of childhood, Scott tries to resolve family disputes and differing values between his congregation. He finds himself embroiled in bitter disputes and the dark nightmares of the residents. As Scott tries to reconcile his own feelings about his wife and figure out his life's purpose, a married woman enters his life and suddenly Scott feels accepted. It is only when a tragic event occurs that he understands exactly the true meaning of living a full and satisfying life. Can Scott unravel the pain he has carried with him since childhood and make peace with the ghosts of his past?

Even The Darkness by John Thomas Tuft is an excellent story of human interaction and relationships. The characters have been created with care and the utmost consideration. They are all multi-layered and as the story unfolds, their actions and values make complete sense. I also thought the way the story jumped back and forth from Scott's childhood to the present day allowed the reader to have a deeper insight into his view of the world. There are some very emotional and heartbreaking scenes and I related to many of the emotions and inner thought patterns experienced by the characters. As Scott deliberates the choices he has made in his life, I felt his frustrations and lack of accomplishment so deeply as he constantly used his father's life as a yardstick to his own. The tragic event at the end will certainly make any reader shed a tear; it was written so beautifully. I loved the ending too; it was filled with inspiring words to ensure everyone lives their life to the fullest and to follow their heart and dreams.

Rabia Tanveer

Even The Darkness by John Thomas Tuft is the story of a pastor as he tries to remain true to his religion, his faith, and what he believes to be his duty. Scott is a pastor who isn’t the most confident in his abilities to serve God and help the people in his community. He is a happily married man who has an almost perfect life, but no one knows the fears that lurk inside his mind. Nobody knows it but Scott fights demons every day. He feels he is inadequate; he is not as pure of heart and mind as he would like to be. However, his real test begins when his morality and fidelity to his wife are tested. He needs to find the strength to fight the demons of his past and the temptations of the present to be successful as a pastor. He never thought the life of a pastor would be this hard. Is he up for the challenge?

We think of pastors either as perfect, God-fearing beings or as people who force their ideologies on their community. Even The Darkness by John Thomas Tuft makes pastors look human; real, conflicted, and emotional humans. Scott faces troubles in his faith and marital life that he was not expecting. What makes him human is the way he handles the temptations in life and how hard he tries to be the best version of himself. The author made Scott’s journey real, with emotions and sensitivities that we all can relate to. I enjoyed how the author brings up the past of the character to make the reader understand why he is acting like this in the present because it is our past that makes us who we are. We cannot run from it, but we can embrace it and move on. The author tied the flashbacks and the present really well. The dialogues tied with the story seamlessly and Scott's development was on point. This is a beautiful tale of finding yourself and being happy with what you have that everyone will enjoy.

Jamie Michele

Even the Darkness by John Thomas Tuft is a Christian literary fiction novel that follows Scott Daniels, a young minister who has taken his first posting with a rural congregation. The book is narrated by Daniels in the first person as it shifts back and forth between a relatively contemporary timeline in which Daniels is working in the church, and his time before he committed himself to a position in ministry. Through a series of flashbacks, the struggles Daniels had to overcome in his childhood and younger years are slowly revealed. As the timeline shifts to a more present day, the insecurities and shortcomings of his youth begin to transcend his life as a husband and a church leader, exposing some uncomfortable truths and forcing him to come to terms with what it really means to be a servant of God.

John Thomas Tuft does an excellent job of bridging the gap between how one believes a man should inherently be, and the limitations of a man in being able to reach such lofty heights on his own. Scott Daniels is this man and he is developed in extraordinary detail in Even the Darkness. He is both bullied for a lack of strength and a misconceived devotion to faith, while at the same time he is thrust into roles that demand an authority he has not been equipped to take. I liked Daniels' wife Sandy who is absolutely resolute in her commitment to Daniels, going so far as to initially disregard her husband's duplicity at a moment where it should have been crystal clear. His wife and children are set up to be potential casualties as Daniels spirals out of control, leaving broken hearts, homes, and even bodies in the wake of his fallibility. This is a book that will resonate well with readers who enjoy seeing the mercy of God in the life of an imperfect man.