Author: Randall Wallace
Title: The Touch
Publisher: Tyndale

Andrew is a gifted surgeon who will not, cannot operate. Lara owns a biomedical engineering company trying to create a tool that duplicates the movements of a surgeon’s hands. Andrew wants nothing to do with the project. Lara can’t complete it without him and her need to make this project a success—fast—goes far beyond the benefit to her company’s bottom line.

The fact that sparks fly between the two of them just adds to the fun. This is a romance that’s more than boy-meets-girl. It’s a loving look at two damaged people who find the courage to open themselves to emotional healing and manage to help others heal in the process. As one of them ponders during a dark night of the soul, “If we spend our lives trying so hard to hold on to life that we never live, never really allow ourselves the chance to dance and sing, what is the value—the wisdom, the use, the purpose, the importance—of that?“

With The Touch, author, screenwriter (Braveheart), director (Secretariat), producer, and songwriter Randall Wallace offers a novel that reads like a major motion picture. The action flows easily from emergency room to boardroom, from a high society party to a ramshackle clinic high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each character, even those who make only cameo appearances, is lovingly crafted into a unique, fully-formed creation. The story, which involves both cutting-edge scientific research and the role of art in healing the body as well as the soul, is beautifully told.

Is it a “Christian” novel? That’s open to interpretation. The characters talk about (and occasionally to) God, but he’s the one character who remains fuzzy. One of the book’s key phrases is “to believe is more powerful than to know.” Perhaps that’s true . . . but wouldn’t it be even more powerful to know the One in whom you believe? And yet, there is eventually a rather lovely scene of spiritual surrender and a decided touch of the miraculous.

Evangelical readers may chafe at the lack of personal commitment in the book’s concept that “There are only two things anyone must know: there is a God and that God loves us.” Ultra-conservative readers (if any still exist in today’s society) may balk at an implied sexual relationship outside marriage. As long as those things are not deal-breakers, The Touch can be enjoyed as a terrific story with several thought-provoking ideas embedded in the narrative. The characters are appealing, the battles they face are gripping, the emotional journey is a rollercoaster, and the love stories (yes, more than one) are sweetly satisfying.

Perhaps it would be best to say call The Touch a spiritual rather than a specifically Christian story. In an interview included at the end of the book, author Wallace says, “The Touch carries a message, not a dogma.” He goes on to say, “What I want to share is my experience that hope matters, that courage works, that love prevails.” That message comes through loud and clear.