Eden Hill by Bill Higgs
A Review by Becky Holland
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Ratings: 5 stars
(I received no pay for this review though I did receive a free copy of the book from Tyndale.)
Sunday, January 8, will be a day that I will think of fondly. It is the day that I decide to venture back into church and it is the day that I read Bill Higg’s Eden Hill.
The sermon I heard Sunday was from David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler – I streamed it in at 6am. It was his sermon from Wednesday night, and it was about angels and obedience to God. He said something to the effect that sometimes, as Christians, we tend to see obedience in a whole different light that it was really intended – we go to church out of ‘obedience,’ we are nice to our neighbors out of ‘obedience,’ we are active in church out of ‘obedience,’ and though all of that is well and good, that is not obedience in the way God meant.
Ironically, I picked up Eden Hill right after that sermon. Mr. Higgs, forgive me, but for the first 10 to 20 pages, it was slow. I almost decided to skim to the good part. But I stuck with it. Eden Hill, Kentucky is a small community where old-fashioned country living takes priority over new ‘fangled’ living. Higgs details this very vividly in the conversations, the ‘thinking’ of his characters and the simplistic details given to the scenery and ways of life. Utilizing his main characters as vehicles to get this across with their own outer and inner observations is a key strategy for Higgs in keeping his reader interested.
You feel like you know these people. You begin to see yourself sitting in the backroom of the service station, in the pastor’s office and walking through the old grocery store. You can almost hear the horns honk and the tires go across the gravel in front of the old service station. I give Mr. Higgs an A+ for this. It is almost as if as I read, that I was actually watching every detail unfold in front of me with images and not text.
The message was clear – it was an affirmation of the sermon I heard. Things happen. Change occurs. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Being obedient to God isn’t about being neighborly or a church-goer. As the characters in this sweet novel show and grasp toward the end, obedience to God involves more than actions, it involves an inner change, an inner emotional change and an inner mental change. Being obedient to God, Virgil Mavene, the pastor, the Alexanders and the others show us in this novel is simply – living everyday, making the right choices in our words and actions. What a wonderful lesson.
There is an old saying about the Bible – one thing we can be assured of – at the end of the good Book, we all win.
At the end of Eden Hill, the characters do win. For us readers – we win as well, as we were blessed to receive a ‘non-preachy,’ realistic, gut-checker of a lesson.
Get it, you will be glad you did.