Become a Fan
In the summer of 1945, as World War II is ending, Abby Ryan is studying to become a nun. On the serene grounds of the convent in Kettle Falls, Washington, she is assaulted by trespassers and rescued by Sinclair Mellington, a handsome army captain attending a retreat at the institution.
Decades later, in the fall of 2008, Isaiah Mellington, a middle-aged unemployed attorney, receives a letter written years earlier by his now deceased father, asking him to wrap up loose ends in the wake of Sister Abby's passing. He travels to Kettle Falls, expecting to only be there for a weekend. Instead, Isaiah discovers that Sister Abby's loose ends are connected to a life she lived outside the convent. Eight days after his arrival, he is still in Kettle Falls with four women--an aging former nun who is the keeper of Abby's secrets, a romantic interest of his own, and two others whose lives are being hijacked by Sister Abby's past.
As betrayal encroaches upon Isaiah as well, a half century of lies slowly unravels, shredding the fabric of everything he has ever known and everyone he has ever loved.
"Separation of Faith: A Novel," by Cheri Laser begins in the year 1945 post World War II, as Abby Ryan, formally referred to as Sister Mary Abigail was brutally attacked. This took place in the gazebo on the grounds of Lady of the Valley Convent, a painful memory that will never escape her mind. A handsome army captain, by the name of Sinclair Mellington tried to stop the attack but by then it was already too late. He was very accommodating in trying to help Sister Abby. Sinclair does become a very important player in Sister Abby's life both emotionally and legally.
Her dear lifelong friend Tess, also known as Sister Veronica was there to comfort her and offer support. This was a devastating event in Sister Abby's life and was a turning point in her decision to what she really was "called" to do. Sister Abby felt this was a sign from God that perhaps she needed to look at a different path. She was suffering guilt, shame, fear, and confusion. With much prayer, reflection, and serious thought, Sister Abby chose to leave the convent for obvious reasons. Naturally, her friend Tess was disappointed. Although Tess wanted Abby to be a part of the convent life as a nun, she also respected her decision.
Abby goes to her parents' home in Seattle to recover physically and emotionally from her attack. Ironically, Sinclair and his family also live in Seattle. After Sinclair's active duty was over, he decided to resume his studies at the University of Washington, in which he eventually became a prominent lawyer with his own law practice. Both Abby and Sinclair keep in touch throughout the years.
October 2008, Isaiah who is also an attorney found a secret letter his father Sinclair wrote. In the letter Sinclair who is now deceased, stated he needed Isaiah to go to Kettle Falls when Sister Abby dies to take care of a legal issue. Isaiah called Tess a day before Sister Abby did indeed pass away. Isaiah then drove to Kettle Falls as his father requested. Cheri Laser did a fantastic job in generating curiosity as to what was the secret of the letter. Isaiah really thought this would be a simple legal issue that could be straightened out with Sister Abby's estate, being that she lived a cloistered life for 24 years. However, Isaiah learned from Tess that Sister Abby has two daughters by the names of Zoie Gerard and Rosabella, also referred to as Rosa. To make matters even more complicated he had the unduly task to notify these women that their mother had passed away and to inform them of the funeral arrangements. You can imagine what an awkward position Isaiah was in. Not knowing if the daughters even knew about their mother, or if they knew about one another? Additionally, Isaiah is a complete stranger.
I found many interesting twists in turns in this book that will keep the reader always on the edge of their seat. Learn why Tess is no longer a nun. See how important Sinclair becomes in helping Abby fight a legal battle with a very powerful family, the Whitmores, and how both Caroline and Tess were able to help Abby through a difficult time in her life. Read about how Isaiah, who always puts women at arm's length, is considered to be a bit of a commitment phobe, meets Ava while at Kettle Falls. She helps him through his research regarding Sister Abby and her children and they began to form a special bond. Find out how Zoie and Rosa reacted to each other when then they finally meet. Learn how Zoie becomes instrumental in helping Isaiah start writing again.
"Separation of Faith" is an intricate novel. Cheri Laser's prose is simply outstanding and her characters crackle with realism--they become utterly real people. The storyline never drags, and at no point does this novel ever fail to completely engulf my attention. Laser also does a terrific job incorporating aspects of the Catholic faith into her story to add richness and dimension. The reader does have to be prepared for the occasional jumps back in time from 2008 to the 1940's. I think the author was fairly successful in doing this. Isaiah's research would bring the reader into a different era; although a few times in the beginning I felt it was not completely clear. Overall, Laser wrote so much detail about the surroundings and the motivations of her characters. I would highly recommend this book for anyone loving nostalgic, moving and detailed descriptions along with a fresh outlook on the humanity side of the past.