Publisher's Note:  

Thomas Hall is a brilliant but brash young artist who has the talent of the old masters and an eye for color and women. But when he runs short of cash, he finds himself torn between illustrating a mural on the origins of man for a natural history museum a tribute to Darwin and illustrating the miracles of Jesus for a display inside a children s hospital called the Healing Place. A self-proclaimed agnostic, Thomas must dig deep within himself to believe beyond his doubts as he wrestles with that elusive something called faith. Then he meets a young, critically ill girl named Christina. Her haunting past and undeviating faith will test the very soul of Thomas and that of every reader.



This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Cedar Fort


The Evolution of Thomas Hall

by Kieth Merrill

Review Date:
06/01/2011

Recommended Age:
18+

Overall Rating:
****1/2

Profanity / Language Rating:
**

Violence / Gore Rating:
***

Sex / Nudity Rating:
**

Overall Review:  

The Evolution Of Thomas Hall has a little bit of everything—art, music, romance, conflict, miracles, and, most importantly, a journey of faith.  Thomas Hall is a talented artist and self-professed agnostic . . . the last person anyone would expect to accept a job painting a 90-foot mural of Christ's miracles for a new Catholic children's hospital.  I found myself completely captivated by Thomas, Cass, Christina, and their story. Although this book isn't what you would classify as a "page-turner," I couldn't put it down!  Thomas's internal conflict, and his "evolution" over the course of the story, was readable and compelling.  Although initially Merrill's characters felt a little flat to me, by the end of the novel I was deeply attached to all of them and impressed by the depth of personality each of them possessed.  The details Merrill used in the book had all been given obvious research; I was fascinated by the wealth of detail about the act of painting, music, modern medicine, Charles Darwin, and famous art inspired by the Bible.  I am a violinist myself, and it's been a long time since I read a description of a violin that was so detailed it even talked about "purfling" (the narrow black binding inlaid around the edge of a violin)!  All the details added depth and richness to the story rather than detracting from it, and made it easy to feel at home in Thomas Hall's world.   Like every book, Thomas Hall has its share of imperfections, including a few events or happenings that feel underdone or contrived.  Overall, however, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to anyone interesting in a compelling, thought-provoking read!


Content Analysis:  

Although the book does not deal directly with the LDS faith (except for a passing reference to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), the author's LDS background makes for a very clean read.  There are two or three instances of moderate profanity (no more than one word each time) throughout the book, and several instances where it is implied that a character uses foul language (i.e. "He swore" or "The sentence trailed off into a string of profanities"). 

There is some mild violence; a man tries to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, a character returns home to find his house in fire (arson), one character does his best to make life miserable for the people around him through underhanded legal means.  Early in the book, a horrific car accident is described and a child is badly injured in a resulting fire.  

There is mild sexual content as well; women are described as having attractive figures, looking good in bathing suits, and altering their appearance to increase their sex appeal. Male characters fantasize about female characters wearing bikinis.  In one scene, a character recognizes that he is thinking with his libido rather than his brain.  

Everything in this book is presented in a very positive way; nothing ever feels gratuitous or over-the-top, but the content and subject matter make the book more appropriate for older audiences.



Mature Subject Matter:  

Some mature themes are discussed; most of the novel revolves around the central character's quest to discover if God exists.  Severe injury, death, and the afterlife are also themes in the book.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

***



Reviewed By CindyB
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