Love Conquers All
Tied in to this theme is that of judging others. Kathryn Springer shows that we should never judge others, we are to love them. Unfortunately this message has not got through to all the residents of Banister Falls. Even some of the church goers are quick to judge the teens. Proving that going to church does not make you immune from the struggle with prejudice and gossip.
The novel deals with the past repeating itself down the generations as Raine’s mother Ginevieve also fell pregnant as a teen. What is different is the reactions of those around to the news.
Ginevieve is used to people letting her down. She has trust issues with both people and God. “She wanted to be alone. It was so much easier than being disappointed.” Ginevieve fears letting people into her life and opening her heart up. What will it take for the barriers to come down and to accept help and friendship?
Ginevieve and Raine do not know God. Kathryn Springer shows how hard it is to do life alone. Life needs to be done in relationship with God. After having met Christian Cody, Raine realises something is missing from her life. She starts seeking after God but wonders “Are you listening God?”
The theme of fathers runs throughout the novel. There is God our father and our earthly father. Fathers are absent in The Dandelion Field either through death or running off. However fire-fighter Dan is presented as a good role model. How one views God often depends on our relationship with our earthly father. Ginevieve believes that if God is even there, He will say to her “You messed up, sweetheart. You’re on your own.” She needs to know and trust God. Dan recognises this need. “He wanted her to trust him, but if that never happened, Dan wanted her to trust God.” Dan has a big heart, always putting the needs of others first.
Within The Dandelion Field is the twin themes of family and community. Dan’s family practices the gift of hospitality. They open their lives, arms and homes to everyone. Their warmth draws people in. Their inclusiveness contrasts with the church community who are suspicious and not very welcoming to people who are different. The church can sometimes be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a middle class social club. Within the novel, it needs the pastor and his wife, and Dan’s family to show the community how to really be ‘the church’. The church is meant to be for all, not just for those who look the part and who seem to have their lives all together. The church when it works as it was intended can be the greatest power on planet earth, as it nurtures and helps the lost, the lonely, the vulnerable and the hurting.
I found The Dandelion Field to be a compulsive read. I loved all the characters and getting to see them grow and develop as they pushed into God. It was a very realistic novel with ‘real’ people showing how easy it is to slip up and to have to deal with the consequences. Kathryn Springer was in no way judgemental. She showed that the most important thing in all circumstances is to have an attitude of love.
A wonderful start to the Banister Falls series. Bring on book number two!