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Chick Yuill - Talking to Calippa Cumberland: It began with a lost child on Christmas Eve

Instant Apostle

ISBN 976 1 812 72648 6

£9.99

215 pages

I am in two minds about much of the “Christian” fiction I have read. Sometimes it can try too hard and end up being preachy and moralistic.

By contrast, this book by Chick Yuill is an easy-to-read page turner that introduces Christian themes with a lightness of touch.

The book begins on Christmas Eve 1976, and each of the following 10 chapters are set on a different Christmas Eve up to 2019. It tells the story of how Lori, a four-year old girl has an experience in a department store that links her with another little girl (Calippa Cumberland), who was lost in that same store on Christmas Eve. The lost girl becomes something of an imaginary friend and confidant as Lori begins to write Dear Calippa letters in journals that she keeps throughout her life.

The puzzle of the “lost girl,” is resolved in the final chapter in a denouement that might stretch the credibility of many of the readers.

This novel deals in a sensitive way with the complexities of human life. There are times when life sucks; people can disappoint us, dreams can die, and hope seems to be in short supply. Yet, there is a thin line of hope that runs through this novel, that opens up tiny cracks of light. The book reminded me of the Portuguese proverb: “God writes straight with a crooked stick.”

This would make a good undemanding read on a cold winter night or by the pool on holiday in the sun (virus permitting).

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia.

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