Monday, July 16, 2007

Circle of Friends, Book Four: Mike by L. Diane Wolfe

Past mistakes can never be forgiven...

Mike Taylor is the epitome of stability. His family is proud of his academic and athletic achievements at Georgia Tech, and despite the temptations of college life, he has maintained his moral standards. Yet beneath the peaceful surface, Mike is consumed with guilt, fearing condemnation and rejection. A former girlfriend’s abortion and the intense love he feels for his roommate’s wife constantly remind Mike of his failures. Unable to forget and full of shame, he refuses to forgive himself. When Danielle enters his life, he realizes he can no longer hide the past. Will she be able to reach him or is Mike past the point of redemption?


Mike Douglas said...

I highly recommend this book, as well as the others in the Circle of Friends series. Here's my review of Mike:

Guilt is a hard master, and no one is more aware of that harsh truth than Mike Taylor, the protagonist of Book IV in L. Diane Wolfe's The Circle of Friends series. Tormented by lingering remorse over a past decision, haunted by his long-suppressed desire for his friend and former roommate Sarah, Mike's life is, in large part, a lonely and unhappy one.

After graduating from Georgia Tech, Mike finds himself transplanted from the familiar surroundings of Greensboro to a new life in Albuquerque, having secured a position there at Sandia Labs. Alone in a strange city, separated from his family and lifelong friends, he feels enclosed and overwhelmed by circumstances past and present. It is in this environment that Mike meets Danielle, a beautiful and effervescent coworker who befriends him one day in the break room. The two form an immediate bond, and are soon married. The union is a happy one at the onset, as Danielle's loving support helps Mike to overcome his guilt and insecurities, freeing him from the dark cloud that has shadowed him for the latter part of his young life. There eventually comes a point, however, where unexpected difficulties begin to arise.

Over the course of the first three books in The Circle Of Friends, author Wolfe has emphasized the accomplishment of goals through perseverance, mature decision making, and emotional reinforcement from family and friends. MIKE presents her with her biggest challenge to date. After all, the central character is separated from the circle by distance and culture, and even his deep-seated Christian faith threatens to slip away after a sequence of disastrous events shakes his marriage to its foundation. Danielle brings with her an unconditional love and a built-in support group, but will they be enough to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles?

I'll leave the answer to that question for you to discover. I'll tell you this, though: new readers and series veterans alike will find this book to be challenging, uplifting, and engaging in a very personal way. You'll be overjoyed at times, you'll experience frustration (I wanted to reach into the pages and shake my namesake by his shoulders more than once), you'll be encouraged ... you will become an integral part of the lives of these youthful friends, and they of yours as they enfold you into their ever-widening circle. This is the thread L. Diane Wolfe weaves through the fabric of her work; Mike continues the tradition well, and I guarantee you that The Circle of Friends Book IV will grab you where you live, and will not leave you disappointed.

GrannyLin said...

L. Diane Wolfe offers us a look inside of the struggles of young adults in the Circle of Friends series. With Mike, readers will follow along with his guilt of the past, deep goals, and desire to find that special someone. As in all of Wolfe's books the message stands clear and strong "When the dream's big enough, the facts don't count!" A personal goal in Wolfe's own life, she shows others there is nothing one cannot do if the desire is strong enough. Through her writing and public speakings Wolfe has reached countless of others and given them a new outlook. Labeled "Spunk on a Stick" there is no way a reader can not feel encouraged and lifted through Wolfe's books. Even though Mike is labeled "young adult" it is a book for all ages, giving others a renewed strength to believe dreams do come true.