Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'Rooms' by James L Rubart

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend. When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny. 

It seems the blurb and cover of this book led some reviewers to think this would be a haunted house story. It's actually something like a Christian version of "Sliding Doors" which intrigued me from the start.

Micah Taylor is a young business tycoon in the computer software industry. One day, he receives a letter from a great-uncle who's been dead for twelve years, informing him that a new coastal home has just been completed for him to inherit.

The house turns out to have creepy goings-on behind the doors of various rooms, and weird things filter in to every aspect of Micah's life. People he was with on certain occasions are sure their meetings never happened, while apparent strangers seem to think he should remember them well. And what about his car clocking up thousands of kilometres unexpectedly?

Micah is pulled between two worlds and thinks he can pick and choose the best of both. On one side is his company, fellow-founder and recent girlfriend, Julie, fame, money, international trips, influence. On the other, is his new reflective life at the coast, with the friendship of Rick, the enigmatic mechanic, and the lovely Sarah who works at the local ice-cream parlour. Micah discovers that his two lives are mutually exclusive in a riveting battle for his soul.

Although it's not difficult for the discerning reader to figure out which influence Micah should flee from, the predictability is not the point of the story. What earned it five stars from me is that the evil influence came across sounding so chillingly reasonable and even godly. I'm sure I won't be the only one who realises that I've been duped by similar voices at various times in my life.

And who hasn't sometimes wondered what our life might have looked like had we chosen another path that seemed an attractive option at the time? As I can't do it myself, I enjoy getting drawn into stories such as Micah's.

5 stars
   Rooms: A Novel available from Amazon

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