Reviewed by Eric Wilson
Claudia Mair Burney
"...beautifully told... Burney is one of the Christian market's bravest and most daring authors."
Claudia Mair Burney emerged as a fresh new voice on the scene a few years back, and she continues to push the envelope with stories that explore the dance--sometimes sacred, sometimes dirty--between the spiritual and earthy sides of being human.
"Wounded" takes a different approach than Burney's earlier books. We meet Gina, a woman with a colorful past, who finds herself the recipient of stigmata. The first occurrence draws in a reporter with a questionable upbringing, and with addictions that seem momentarily suppressed by his nearness to Gina in her saintly state. The unlikely pairing draws two wounded souls into communion, while also raising the ire of family and church members. Is Gina faking the stigmata? Is Anthony truly healed of his addictions? What will happen when holy happenings are visited upon weak and desperate souls?
In the past, Bureny has used romance and humor to great effect, working them into mysteries as well as a riotous but ultimately thought-provoking "Exorsistah" series. This time around, the characters are equally flawed, but for the most part the romantic struggle is more heavenly in nature. Humor might've added some nice breathers in the midst of some very serious issues, but these characters didn't lend themselves to that. Though the story moves along, I had to set it down at times to absorb its deeper layers. Hopefully, this slower style will not dissuade new fans of Burney's writing.
Claudia Mair Burney deserves immense credit for reining in this story, keeping it focused without whitewashing the conflicts she addresses. She treats her subject and characters with respect, not only in the spiritual realms, but in the human struggles of all involved. This is a story of God's grace and love, through priests and paupers, the rich and the poor. It's beautifully told, and once again shows that Burney is one of the Christian market's bravest and most daring authors.
Eric Wilson is the author of twelve novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, the latest of which is One Step Away, a twist on the story of Job. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. Visit him online at his website.