Jacob’s Admiration (Excerpt with Author Discussion)

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He marveled at how it was that she had come to him. He marveled that anyone as beautiful of mind, body, and soul could find such grace in him. He marveled at one woman’s power of redemption and how he could ever be worthy of its recuperative salvation.

He marveled at one woman’s power of redemption and how he could ever be worthy of its recuperative salvation. He marveled at what a woman like her saw in a man like him.

He turned his head back up to return her intent gaze. She was closer to him than he had anticipated, and it made him momentarily uneasy, “Would you divorce me if I decide that I am unable or unwilling to have a child with you?” He held his breath in anticipation of the blow, like a prizefighter who knows the knockout punch is coming.

The blow, however, never came. After a brief silence, she replied, “No, Jacob, I wouldn’t.” She let out a brief “humph” of exasperation. She had not intended to disclose so much. It left her feeling vulnerable, as if her final card had been played, and all she could do now was sit back and see how the hand unfolded. “So is that, I take it, your final answer?”

Jacob could not take his eyes off of her. In her moment of ultimate sacrifice, she appeared more radiant to him than she ever had before. Amidst all the pain and misery the world could dredge up, here was a woman who proved that there was indeed some salvageable sanctity left in it also. Here was a woman willing to forsake her own aspirations and needs in order to satisfy his. Here was a woman who had pledged to never leave him and meant to see it through.

Again, he longed to placate her fears, not merely tell her what she wanted to hear, but to assure her that they would have a child together and that it would grow up to be strong and healthy and good. He wanted so very much to be capable of the same type of sacrifice that she was willing to make for him. Even more so, he wished that he could really believe that their child could grow up to be happy.

6 comments on “Jacob’s Admiration (Excerpt with Author Discussion)

  1. I wanted to start my author blog/discussion with a passage from the first chapter that would depict the central conflict as the novel opens. Like many conflicts in real life, it is many-layered and involves far more issues behind the immediately obvious matter of contention. Faith wants children; her husband, Jacob, is wary of the prospect. It is what lies behind Jacob’s reluctance that spurs the action of the first half of the novel and gives us insight into his deeply wounded soul.

    As much as this passage gives us our first insight into Jacob, it also provides us with a powerful glance into Faith Colms. Whenever I thought of her character, I tended to come back to this image of her- the beauty and wonder of a woman willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Jacob. Faith is not perfect, but this moment in the novel is how I always envisioned her- a reminder of the goodness that truly can exist in the world.

    That said, a good friend of mine remarked recently that based upon a moment later in the story (yes, we’ll get to that!) that she had deep conflict with Faith, even calling her “selfish”. I pointed her back to this moment and asked her how a character that gives so much could be considered “selfish”. But that’s the beauty of literature, we can all see the same tale from our own individual perspectives and react accordingly. What makes real life so wonderful is that the people themselves are ever-changing, evolving into a continuing re-defined sense of self.

    This could initiate a number of thoughtful and probing questions for discussion. What might be the reasons for Jacob’s reluctance to have children? What would you do if you wanted to have children but married someone who did not? What is the ultimate sacrifice we can make for another?

  2. I wanted to start my author blog/discussion with a passage from the first chapter that would depict the central conflict as the novel opens. Like many conflicts in real life, it is many-layered and involves far more issues behind the immediately obvious matter of contention. Faith wants children; her husband, Jacob, is wary of the prospect. It is what lies behind Jacob’s reluctance that spurs the action of the first half of the novel and gives us insight into his deeply wounded soul.

    As much as this passage gives us our first insight into Jacob, it also provides us with a powerful glance into Faith Colms. Whenever I thought of her character, I tended to come back to this image of her- the beauty and wonder of a woman willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Jacob. Faith is not perfect, but this moment in the novel is how I always envisioned her- a reminder of the goodness that truly can exist in the world.

    That said, a good friend of mine remarked recently that based upon a moment later in the story (yes, we’ll get to that!) that she had deep conflict with Faith, even calling her “selfish”. I pointed her back to this moment and asked her how a character that gives so much could be considered “selfish”. But that’s the beauty of literature, we can all see the same tale from our own individual perspectives and react accordingly. What makes real life so wonderful is that the people themselves are ever-changing, evolving into a continuing re-defined sense of self.

    This could initiate a number of thoughtful and probing questions for discussion. What might be the reasons for Jacob’s reluctance to have children? What would you do if you wanted to have children but married someone who did not? What is the ultimate sacrifice we can make for another?

  3. I wanted to start my author blog/discussion with a passage from the first chapter that would depict the central conflict as the novel opens. Like many conflicts in real life, it is many-layered and involves far more issues behind the immediately obvious matter of contention. Faith wants children; her husband, Jacob, is wary of the prospect. It is what lies behind Jacob’s reluctance that spurs the action of the first half of the novel and gives us insight into his deeply wounded soul.

    As much as this passage gives us our first insight into Jacob, it also provides us with a powerful glance into Faith Colms. Whenever I thought of her character, I tended to come back to this image of her- the beauty and wonder of a woman willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Jacob. Faith is not perfect, but this moment in the novel is how I always envisioned her- a reminder of the goodness that truly can exist in the world.

    That said, a good friend of mine remarked recently that based upon a moment later in the story (yes, we’ll get to that!) that she had deep conflict with Faith, even calling her “selfish”. I pointed her back to this moment and asked her how a character that gives so much could be considered “selfish”. But that’s the beauty of literature, we can all see the same tale from our own individual perspectives and react accordingly. What makes real life so wonderful is that the people themselves are ever-changing, evolving into a continuing re-defined sense of self.

    This could initiate a number of thoughtful and probing questions for discussion. What might be the reasons for Jacob’s reluctance to have children? What would you do if you wanted to have children but married someone who did not? What is the ultimate sacrifice we can make for another?

  4. I wanted to start my author blog/discussion with a passage from the first chapter that would depict the central conflict as the novel opens. Like many conflicts in real life, it is many-layered and involves far more issues behind the immediately obvious matter of contention. Faith wants children; her husband, Jacob, is wary of the prospect. It is what lies behind Jacob’s reluctance that spurs the action of the first half of the novel and gives us insight into his deeply wounded soul.

    As much as this passage gives us our first insight into Jacob, it also provides us with a powerful glance into Faith Colms. Whenever I thought of her character, I tended to come back to this image of her- the beauty and wonder of a woman willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Jacob. Faith is not perfect, but this moment in the novel is how I always envisioned her- a reminder of the goodness that truly can exist in the world.

    That said, a good friend of mine remarked recently that based upon a moment later in the story (yes, we’ll get to that!) that she had deep conflict with Faith, even calling her “selfish”. I pointed her back to this moment and asked her how a character that gives so much could be considered “selfish”. But that’s the beauty of literature, we can all see the same tale from our own individual perspectives and react accordingly. What makes real life so wonderful is that the people themselves are ever-changing, evolving into a continuing re-defined sense of self.

    This could initiate a number of thoughtful and probing questions for discussion. What might be the reasons for Jacob’s reluctance to have children? What would you do if you wanted to have children but married someone who did not? What is the ultimate sacrifice we can make for another?

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