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Act of Faith by Erica James
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Act of Faith

by Erica James

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The main character is Ali, a young, motivated and successful accountant who was very happily married until a terrible tragedy happened a couple of years before the novel opens; we learn what it was in the first chapter, although details are not filled in until later in the book.

Erica James has quite a gift of characterisation, and despite quite a big cast, it was easy for me to keep track. Sam, Ali's father-in-law, is particularly likeable person; a voice of common sense and wisdom.

It’s a character-based novel, and as such there are lots of different subplots, including a low-key teenage romance, stresses with an overly-religious and somewhat self-righteous man, and some workplace issues.
But most of all the story is about Ali, and the way she slowly tries to come to terms with what’s happened in the past. She’s a complex and interesting character, with plenty of self-confidence.

If I have a criticism of the novel, it’s that it’s rather too long with more introspection than necessary. I felt it could have done with some significant editing in places. I had forgotten just how big a part religion plays in this novel, too; it’s a pity that Trevor and his cronies are portrayed so negatively; but there's a more balanced viewpoint from one of Ali's neighbours.

Overall, though, the writing is good, the people believable, the situations and subplots cleverly woven together into an enjoyable whole. Ideal for anyone who likes thoughtful women’s fiction with some emotional depth. Re-reading after fifteen years, I had almost entirely forgotten the story and found it very moving in places.

I’d give it four and a half stars if I could. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
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Book description
Ali Anderson is determined to stand on her own two feet—even if it means spending Christmas alone. Because for Ali, Christmas is not the season of good cheer, but a poignant reminder of the tragedy that not long ago tore her life apart and destroyed her once-happy marriage to Elliot. But an invitation to spend the holidays at the home of her best friend will change her life in ways she never imagined.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752843419, Paperback)

Ali Anderson is determined to stand on her own two feet—even if it means spending Christmas alone. Because for Ali, Christmas is not the season of good cheer, but a poignant reminder of the tragedy that not long ago tore her life apart and destroyed her once-happy marriage to Elliot. But an invitation to spend the holidays at the home of her best friend will change her life in ways she never imagined.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Bereaved after her son's death, Ali Anderson is cajoled into spending Christmas with Sarah and her awful husband Trevor. Ali takes it upon herself to play God with Sarah's marriage with consequences that even she could never have predicted.

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