Imagine the biblical Song of Songs written as a contemporary novel. If that notion appeals to you, you’ll love Evangeline of Sky Valley by Andrew Case. Ebullient, scintillating, tintinnabulous—what words can capture the crackling freshness of language and the chaste, holy feelings unleashed in this novel?
Hardly ever in a work of fiction—or even nonfiction—will you read a truer, purer, more uplifting account of love and marriage as God intended it. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “What is it to work with love? It is to weave cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.” This is the quality I find in Andrew Case’s writing: he weaves together words into a robe fit to be worn by our King.
Are you looking for a great Christmas present? Look no further. Get Evangeline of Sky Valley, and while you’re at it, get the first book in the series too, Cristina of Aspen Isle, which is every bit as splendid as the sequel. Both volumes are available in paperback, e-book, and audio versions.
One of my favorite movie scenes—maybe my favorite of all—comes at the end of Cinema Paradiso when a director sits alone in a darkened theater and watches a montage of famous kissing scenes: Cary Grant and Rosalind Russel, Olivia De Havilland and Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes … on and on and on, nearly fifty great kisses in all. I was reminded of this as I read the following excerpt from Andrew Case’s Evangeline of Sky Valley—his glowing tribute to the spectacular phenomenon of kissing. Just one taste of this beautiful novel. Enjoy!
What is it that makes a kiss so transcendent? It is so simple, yet why did God make it cross every line of astonishment? My theory: it has something to do with the coming together of faces. Our face is who we are—the inseparable representation of our inner and outer self. Faces are life and give life. This touching of lives, of identities is really a tender collision of who we are, impulsed by love to taste and share our life with another.
And why the mouth? I know that not all cultures of the world have known the kiss. I used to believe that it was universally practiced in every corner of the globe, until someone told me that in Africa there are tribes that don’t, and look upon it as repulsive. Yet it is something our Lord has chosen to fill His word with. And He chose to be born into a culture where it was even more important than it is in ours.
Could it be that every kiss is a reenactment of that first moment when God breathed the breath of life into the man? That sacred moment when life and spirit came into him and he became a living being—could it be that we are all trying to get back to that moment when the face of God met the face of man and there was life?
But there must be more. The mouth is the source of words, and thus a kiss must be a surrendering of words somehow, or a gesture of offering all our words wordlessly. So much of our communion as people revolves around eating and drinking together. Perhaps a kiss is the ultimate communion, wherein two eat and drink in the other. It is the best wine without price, milk and honey—a feast that satisfies the heart and leaves hunger forgotten.
Next Post: The Night of the Choragus (New Christmas Story for 2020)