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A Thing of Beauty


A Thing of Beauty

Fiona (Fia) Hume is a former child star who, at 16, divorced her also-famous parents, Brandon and Jessica, claiming that they financially mismanaged her career. She left Hollywood and the acting business and moved to Baltimore. Now, 10 years later, Fia lives a secluded life, alone in a mansion, where she spends her time creatively turning junk into art. A borderline hoarder, her home is cluttered with random items she picks up everywhere, from antique shops to dumpsters.

Fia’s relationship with her parents is strained but cordial. She has never truly forgiven her parents for their past mistakes and is content to keep her distance, corresponding only with an occasional phone call. Then her mother informs her that she is about to release a tell-all book about the infamous divorce. So Fia schedules an interview with a New York journalist to tell her side of the story. But because she hasn’t been bringing in much income and her fortune is quickly dwindling, Fia needs to raise some quick cash to fund her trip to New York. So she places an ad for a boarder on Craigslist.

"Lisa Samson has once again crafted an exceptional read that offers plenty of food for thought and hope for the hopeless."

The moment she meets Josiah, Fia knows he is the perfect choice for a “roommate.” She establishes the boundaries up front, including the fact that aside from his small room and attached bathroom, he is pretty much restricted from every area of the mansion. Josiah is positive and upbeat, and doesn’t judge Fia for her eccentricities. He respects her boundaries but asks for permission to renovate his rented space, and Fia agrees. As much as Fia wants to avoid getting too friendly with Josiah, she can’t help being drawn to his gentle demeanor and soon makes exceptions to her rules. So forms an unlikely friendship.

Meanwhile, Fia earns extra income as an escort. She spends a lot of time with Jack, who has become more of a friend than a client, and obviously has feelings for her that go well beyond what he pays her for.

A THING OF BEAUTY is not your typical Christian novel. There is a spattering of language, as well as themes that don’t quite line up with standard conservative thinking, and God Himself is not really mentioned in the “religious” sense. However, in my opinion, this story truly is a thing of beauty. The truth is, people and situations are not always tucked neatly into a Christian “box.” They are complex, misguided and flawed. Lisa Samson is a brilliant writer who has the rare gift of giving readers a magnificent glimpse into the ways people cope with those flaws. In Fia’s case, the physical clutter she has created for herself may represent the emotional chaos she has dealt with for years. The choices she has made are not ideal, nor have they provided the peace and joy she longs for. But her story demonstrates how God can take those bad choices and the mess of our past and turn them into something beautiful. It also reminds us of the importance of relationships and discerning when to pursue the positive influences in our lives and purge the toxic ones.

Each character in this book is one from whom we can learn something. Josiah and Jack, as well as others, accept Fia for who she is, while also challenging her to look at herself and see that she is so much more than she thinks she is. It is a shame that some readers may not be able to get past the language or the heaviness of the storyline (which is balanced, by the way, with intelligent humor). Reflecting on the motivations of the characters and underlying themes the author is trying to convey may just cause you to adjust the way you think about what being a Christian really means. Jesus was the perfect example of how to love the “unlovable.” To do that, without judgment or condemnation, is certainly a thing of beauty.

Lisa Samson has once again crafted an exceptional read that offers plenty of food for thought and hope for the hopeless.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on March 23, 2015

A Thing of Beauty
by Lisa Samson