Worship leader and songwriter Michael Neale’s debut novel The River tells the story of young man Gabriele Clarke’s encounter with destiny. How choices to face his fears, release his anger and resentment, and forgive his enemies result in a transformed and immeasurably fulfilling life. The book reflects how our choices to reach out and to allow others to reach us can change the past, present and future. At the heart of the story is the beauty, danger, excitement, and transcendence found in jumping into your river of destiny. There is an accompanying DVD for church or home groups to use with the book to bounce off of and explore issues that relate to one’s life in the world and life with God. Because God is only rarely mentioned and Jesus never mentioned, it would not only be a jumping off place for an evangelically oriented youth group, but an easy fit for many non-Christian faith traditions as well, which depending on your perspective could be as a strength or a weakness. For the seeker friendly oriented, a plus, for the “not ashamed of the gospel camp,” a negative. Although, one would hope for a deeper development of the books characters and more “showing” than “telling,” nevertheless kudos to Michael for courageously jumping into his destiny and first novel.
Michael Neale has been featured on Song DISCovery and has written for Worship Leader magazine. The River is his inaugural novel as he pushes the limits of his creative gifts.
– Andrea Hunter