Secular Shelf Life with Sarah Allen: Fortunate (book review)

Andrew Sharpe
Self published – available from Amazon.
368 pages. £8.99
ISBN 978 1 783 060 016

Novels by evangelical Christians are few and far between.

However, Andrew Sharpe, a GP from Leicester, has recently published his second novel after his first won prizes a few years ago. Andrew grew up in Africa where his parents were missionaries and both his novels have been set in that continent and take the themes of return and resolution.

Comedy thriller

The novel is part-thriller, part-comedy and part reflection on Africa.

It begins with a GP who is desperate to help others but unable to face her husband who has suffered irreversible brain damage. With rapid pace our heroine meets a belligerent elderly Zimbabwean, a nurse called Fortunate and a menacing figure who seems to be trying to trap them all. The plot links these characters in a fast and rather extraordinary chase which ends in a remote cave in Zimbabwe.

Big hearted

At times the writing is lyrical and resonant; at others the plot’s outlandish turns are rather hard to take. But the reader easily connects with the protagonist and is stirred by the moving portraits of survivors in a broken land. Biblical and political themes interweave as characters wrestle with notions of perseverance, love, justice and reconciliation. This is a big hearted and very ambitious novel. Though it over-reaches in places, it is certainly worth reading.

What is more, I hope it will act as a call to other writers to present gospel hope to a dysfunctional world.

Sarah Allen is a secondary school English teacher, and is currently involved in evangelism and women’s work at Hope Church, Huddersfield.


This article was first published in the January 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information. 0845 225 0057