Lost and Found is primarily the story of two women. Jenna Bouvier once appeared to “have it all,” but her beauty has been marred by a surgical facial scar, her fairy tale marriage came with a toxicly controlling mother-in-law, and she hasn’t produced the children that she was hand-picked to provide. As her mother-in-law threatens to ruin her reputation, she struggles with what she thought it meant to take up one’s cross and lose one’s own life to follow Christ.
Andee Bell is driven to succeed and has achieved wealth, fame, and recognition as a financial expert. She’s a take-charge woman who is dating Jenna’s brother and turned off by what appears to be Jenna’s passivity. As they get to know one another, Andee discovers there is more to Jenna than meets the eye. Andee has her own secrets which fuel her ambition but now threaten to undo her. After she brokers a deal that ends up selling out someone close to her, her carefully constructed world begins to unravel. Her desire to cling to her own life as she understands it may mean losing what is most important.
I loved the story and both women’s journeys. I was put off by the practices of contemplative spirituality (not the idea of being thoughtful and meditative, but elements of the contemplative movement or contemplative spirituality. I expressed concerns about that at the end of a another book discussion, so I won’t get into them again here.) The book mentions Jeanne Guyon often, with a epigraph from her before each chapter. I am wary of “mystics,” though I don’t think I saw anything I disagreed with in any of her direct quotes, and I know Elisabeth Elliot read and quoted her, too. I should probably read about her some time, but I am not inclined to any time soon. I was also a bit uncomfortable with the attraction between Jenna and her spiritual director, Matthew – they both felt it was entirely spiritual and took precautions against it turning into or looking like it was turning into a romance, but in real life I think further care should be employed.
Looking beyond those concerns, as I said, I did enjoy the story and where it ended up. The last chapter takes place seven months after the climax of the story, and I would like to have known a few more details about how it all worked out, but I suppose those could have been outside what the story was really about.
(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)