Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
Water From My Heart by Charles Martin
Charles Martin takes real risks with his new novel Water From My Heart. His focal character Charlie Finn is not a man of strong moral character. He has spent most of his adult life working for powerful men who use him to do the dirty work with which they do not want to be involved. Martin, who is known for his morally strong characters, takes the chance of alienating some of his core base of readers. They, however, would be very foolish to desert him with this story.
The start of the book is a little slow and confusing. Charlie Finn is involved with drug running and enjoying the good life. He is about to get married to a good woman, who he may or may not love. He has a weak moral code and a penchant for making bad choices that bring him good money. Again this is not the typical Martin plot and readers must be patient and trusting. They will get their Charles Martin back and the book will pour sweet rewards over them.
Water From My Heart is about redemption which is one of Martin's favorite themes. Charlie Finn is on the road to hell but there are angels coming his way. He just has to recognize who they are, and he has to do it before his enemies take his money and his life.
A twist of events take Charlie to Nicaragua. In this poverty stricken country he finds the fortune of his life. This is not a monetary fortune but rather a spiritual one. It comes with a price that can only be paid with redemption. Is Charlie up to the task? Well that is the heart of this wonderfully touching novel.
You might wonder if the book has a love story, as Martin knows how to write romantic stories like few authors can. He creates situations that grab the readers' hearts and squeezes out all the tenderness and passion they can stand. In this book the object of Charlie's love is Paulina Flores. It takes a while for him to realize his love and it comes with the knowledge he is not worthy of her attention.
Paulina is almost saintly. She is willing to make any and all sacrifices for her countrymen. She has medical skills which she dispenses to all who have needs. She asks little for herself and her daughter but manages to be a rich woman emotionally in a poverty stricken country. Charlie sees all of his sins reflected in the purity of Paulina's abilities to give of herself to everyone.
Love, redemption, selflessness are all a part of Martin's newest story and he uses his superb ability to string words together in the most effective way. He is a master craftsman and one who knows how to best tell his story. The title says "water from the heart" but in this book Martin's "story comes form his heart."
This is not your usual summertime read. Once started on Charlie Finn's adventure you will want to pursue it to the end without delay. Once you have reached the end the impact of what you have read and learned is a bit overwhelming. It stuns you with its power.
Just when you think Charles Martin has reached the pinnacle of his writing career he goes and slams you with something even better than that which has preceded it. Read Water From My Heart, absorb it, learn from it, and pass it on to your best friend. You couldn't give someone a better gift.
Water From My Heart is published by Center Street. It contains 368 pages and sells for $26.00.
Jackie K Cooper