The Seven Last Years by Carol Balizet
This was my book club selection for October, otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it. There were a lot of "end times" novels in the 70s and 80s and I overdosed on them so I wasn't much looking forward to this one.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing because I find a lot of "Christian" novels poorly written and predictable. I know I won't win any popularity contests saying that but as a Christian it bothers me that we settle for mediocrity in our novels. There's no reason why we shouldn't have the same high standards as everyone else for our literature, music, movies and art. Anyway, in most of this book I thought the writing was good. It held my attention and at times got quite exciting. The problem was, it didn't stay that way. Just when I'd be really getting into it, I'd come across a passage that fell flat. The dialogue would become dull, the characters would behave in a way that was either a cliche or just nonsensical, and it would seem like I was reading "just another end times novel."
It was odd how the book went from good to poor to very good to boring to exciting to disappointing. I wondered if two different people were writing, the author seemed to have such ups and downs in creative energy, or imagination, or something. I can't the explain the inconsistency, but it's there and it was annoying.
I found the characters similar, too similar, to those in other novels of this type that I've read. Of course, the general story-line was also similar because it's based on the book of Revelation, but there's all kinds of room to expand on it and still stay within the Biblical parameters. Some of what the author chose to do with the plot was interesting but there were a couple of places where I think she went off track and got things absolutely wrong. There was a scene where a man knew he was going to die within minutes and it was implied that it was too late for him now, too late to believe in God, too late to repent and confess. I think Scripture says just the opposite: while there is life, there is hope. If you use your last breath to turn to God, He will hear you and receive you.
I did some research on the author and found her to be quite a controversial character. A strong advocate of home birthing, she recommended no professional medical interference at all, regardless of the circumstances. She also took a strong stand against public education and banking. Her philosophies caused her quite a number of problems, but I won't get into that here. There's lots of information about her on the internet if you want to know more.
Overall it was an easy read and it was at times fairly interesting. Eventually there will be a last seven years and who knows, they could possibly be a little like the events recounted here, but the bottom line is that I just didn't enjoy it that much.