This is at least the third time I’ve read this book, which is the case with a lot of Davis Bunn’s books. (I’m so disappointed that he’s focusing on magical fantasy now.) The Sign Painter has all the dramatic description and great action sequences I love about Bunn’s writing, and it’s also full of strong characters who cling to their faith in the middle of pain and loss. The story handles homelessness with a gentle touch, focusing less on the problems and more on the hope offered by people helping others. At the same time, it does not shy away from the truth that some people don’t want help, and it takes wisdom to know the difference.
The author interview at the end of this book does help put some of the story into perspective, as the romance does not follow the expected route. It’s a little jarring, in a way, but as an author, I certainly understand the difficulty of bullheaded characters who have minds of their own! This book isn’t primarily a romance anyway, and the thread that is there is the exact sort of gentle slow-burn that I prefer. I don’t fully agree with the extent of female leadership in the church setting, but overall, the church scenes contain a convicting reminder that we can be far too quick to turn a blind eye to problems we don’t want to deal with. Amy’s love for her daughter is sweet, and the developing friendships and theme of learning to lean on others are well written.
Of course, I’m usually in it for the action, and this book has plenty of that in Bunn’s punchy yet lyrical style. We’ve got some great good guys to root for and some nasty baddies to root against, all without an excess of graphic violence. If you like stories that weave faith and friendships with threads of suspense and danger, you’ll find this a good read.