Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Navigational by Stuart Luijerink tells the story of Winston who arrives at a seaside community and sets out to restore a dilapidated church. While he receives support from some of the locals, there are some who want nothing to do with him. But does he have what it takes to reignite the flame of worship within this community and restore their house of worship? While this novel centers on the activities of a man newly arrived in a small community, it also looks at the social issues in the city, the political dynamics, and what binds people together. The author brilliantly explores the themes of family, faith, community, and working for the common good.
I loved the suspense at the start of the narrative. The first chapters are focused on describing characters and their actions without telling readers their names. Readers want to know who they are and the mission of the man who arrives at the dilapidated church. There are very interesting characters that readers will want to follow, like Mathew, Thomas, and Prue. The setting is a small seaside town, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else. Stuart Luijerink has a unique gift for descriptive prose and from the very opening pages, he gives readers great images of the setting — the dirt road with the pot holes, the outcrops, the sand dunes, and other elements that characterize the topography and the path the protagonist walks.
The sense of loneliness is communicated by the decadent images of the church ruins. While character development and plot points are skillfully handled, the beauty of the language and the strength of imagery captivated me the most. The author also does an impeccable job in exploring the different relationships that evolve through the narrative. Navigational is the story of a community, filled with powerful lessons of leadership and relationships that matter.