Review for Innocents Pray:
The question is: They’re praying, but how should God answer? And whose prayer?
Innocents Pray carries a varied cast of characters, but each is important, and each has their own spot to play in this novel from:
Brother Able the hospice chaplain, who has his own troubled past
Dr. Rich Bernard, a researcher, and a caring, yet determined person
Victor and Libby Davis: one sympathetic and sacrificial to Dr. Rich Bernard’s mission and the other so in love and hurt.
Jordan, troubled, hurt, and only a snap away from serious trouble
And then, there’s the website posts.
Lickel does a powerful job of creating the subtle tension throughout the story, increasing it chapter by chapter until all the events, all the emotions collide--not in some tornado-like storm, but in an even deeper, emotional collision that is shocking and extremely mind-blowing in its depth.
Choices have consequences, and each of these characters will either learn from those choices or suffer the consequences.
One of those books that doesn’t leave you easily and keeps you thinking long after you’ve read it. Highly recommended.
--Carole Brown, author of the Award-winning The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, and several mystery/suspense series
Innocents Pray, A book review
By Shelley Wilburn, author of Walking Healed
July 4, 2016
Every now and then you run across a book that affects you to your very core. It was that way with me when I read Lisa Lickel’s book, Innocents Pray.
To begin with, the setting in Innocents Pray seems like any other with what looks like an average American family, complete with their own struggles and quirks. We have a father who works away from home more than he’s at home, a teenage son dealing with the struggles of being a teenager yet fighting fears and demons no teenage boy should face, and a mother who must yet again fight the battle with the dreaded C word, along with trying to decide whether or not to put her family through another battle. Add to the story a live-in companion/nurse who becomes more than just a caregiver, but a friend to the mother, a spiritual advocate who has secrets of his own, a doctor who is searching for a cure and a whole lot more, and a few other surprises thrown in for good measure, Innocents Pray is a book that keeps the reader not only intrigued but wondering what’s going to happen with the next turn of the page.
Liberty Davis (more affectionately known as Libby), an avid artist who runs her craft and art business from a studio inside her home, is fighting the gnawing in the back of her mind that her cancer may have returned. Passing it off as a strained muscle from walking the beach of her Wisconsin home, she ignores it and tries to hide it for as long as she can. However, her companion and nurse, Nona sees right through her façade and calls her husband Vic home from his missions work abroad.
Vic Davis, Libby’s husband has been secretly called home by his wife’s companion. She fears Libby is sick again. Catching a private flight with Brother Abel of the Alexian Brotherhood and spiritual advisor of Paradise House, a hospice facility stationed in California, Vic and Abel strike up an impromptu but distant friendship in the few hours of their flight. Neither knows that they’ll ever meet again, nor how connected their lives will become.
Through the journey of Innocents Pray, you watch as first Libby, then Brother Abel detail their life events, always wondering how one plays into the other. However, there are also a couple of mysterious blog posts from different blogs to contend with that lead the reader to wonder exactly who is posting these things and how distressed their life must be to write the things they do.
Innocents Pray is a very intriguing book. I kept reading, trying to decide if Libby was going to succumb to the cancer invading her body. Would Vic, her husband ever realize that keeping his home and family together was important rather than jetting off to who knows where to install medical equipment for the company he works for? Not that his job isn’t important, but doesn’t God also desire for one to keep his family together? How were Libby and Vic missing the vital issues that their son Jordan was struggling through and why were they passing it off as just everyday things a teenager goes through? What part did Nona, Libby’s companion and nurse serve in all this? And how was Brother Abel connected?
Of course, add in the mysterious research that Dr. Rich Bernard is doing at Paradise House and it’s a web of mystery, intrigue and deception…or is it legitimate? Who will live and who will die? That’s one question I wanted to know. The outcome was surprising. Through it all, faith in God flows through the undercurrent throughout the entire book. Whose prayers will He answer? How will He answer? Does He even answer? As the pull of the book claims, “One wants her to live, one wants her dead, one wants her cells.” Who will get their wish? Whose prayer will God answer?
Having lost my mother to cancer over twenty years ago, Innocents Pray tested my comfort zone. However, determined to read this with an open mind I finished the book and was glad that I did. It was a great story with twists and turns, lots of people, lots of opinions and a little bit of drama weaved in for good measure.
It also led me to research the Alexian Brothers, a healing mission of the Roman Catholic Church. They engage in *“a prophetic, holistic approach to healthcare, rooted in Gospel values.” The Alexian Brothers have an 800-year legacy. I had never heard of the Alexian Brotherhood, however found the organization quite interesting.
Lisa Lickel does a great job of keeping you entertained as well as wondering what’s next.
I recommend reading Innocents Pray, especially if you’re struggling with your faith, loss, or just want to be kept on your toes. You don’t have to be Catholic in order to understand the depths of faith and questions we all ask God periodically throughout our lives; especially the question of, when several people are praying different prayers for the same person, whose prayer does God answer?