A Teacher Named Faith - A First Novel by Nicole L. V. Mullis
Elysium: a place of peace and a hiding place from destruction. And that’s what Nicole L. V. Mullis’s characters attempt to find as they struggle with the rights and wrongs of their lives in a Detroit suburb of that same name.
A hijacked plane explodes over Metro Detroit on the first anniversary of 9/11. That morning, terrorists board a plane in Chicago and manage to blow the plane up over the city of Detroit, setting the city on fire in more ways than one. In an emotional moment, Saul Thorn, a political cartoonist, draws an image of his girlfriend, Faith, a dance teacher, against the carnage of the downed plane. That same day, Saul's twin brother Simon, a seminarian, falls to his knees and prays for the victims in the panicked Detroit Metro Airport. Without his knowledge, a journalist takes a photo of him with other praying travelers. As frenzied news media take both Saul’s cartoon and the photograph of Simon viral, they receive national attention. Saul is cast as a beacon of hope and Simon as a man of faith. The truth, however, is far more complicated.
In this novel, Saul and Simon, determined to control their own destinies, fight against what they love and know is most important. Set primarily in the suburban dance studio run by Saul and Simon’s mother, JoFranka, Faith rises to lead dancer in spite of a birth defect and insecurity about her dancing. Saul struggles with his fear of commitment to her, and Simon tries to reconcile his desire to leave the priesthood and marry Miranda.
Creating a family with more than their share of past traumas, Mullis weaves a story that’s hard to put down. In fact, I found the characters following me around for days after the last page was read. I wanted to know if the choices they finally made were the right ones after all. That, I think, calls for a sequel.