Number of Pages: 298
Publication Date: December 12, 2016
Rating: out of 5
OBC Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
Story Perspective: Alternating Third-Person
Themes: Faith, God, Christianity, Redemption, Trust, Healing, Love
To Learn More About the Book, Click: The Yoke on OBC Bookshelves
*This was part of the OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day Program and is reviewed for the Blogger Review Program*
Between his mother’s passing and his father’s abandonment, Barnabas Mitchell has wavered in his belief in God. Though a kind and hard-working man, throughout the years, he also has had trouble in finding and keeping friends. To honor his mother’s wishes, though, Barnabas preserves through a solitary life, into law school and becomes a lawyer.
Through his experiences he meets the sneaky, lying Bill and the sweet, honest Stephanie. Will Stephanie’s strong beliefs in Christianity bring her and Barnabas closer or separate them? Will Barnabas ever find peace with the destructive Bill and within himself?
When I first read and understood the synopsis of this book, I was excited. Being a Christian, specifically Catholic, I’ve become more open to text and other media that references and/or explores religion. It’s something I feel is important and something that I wish to learn more about.
The author does a wonderful job in portraying his characters here. Barnabas, with such a rough childhood, is developed well and it is extremely easy to sympathize with. He comes to grow as a person and learns how to let others into his life. Being the antagonist, Bill was easy to loathe and become annoyed with, but even he had a glimmer of hope toward the end. The strong-willed Stephanie also shows growth in the ability to open up to Barnabas in a way that she hasn’t done before.
When considering the plot, I feel it had its ups and downs. There were definitely periods of time when I was flipping through the pages so quickly and didn’t realize how much progress I was making until I had to stop in order to do something else. Most of the slower parts included the lawyer scenes where some of the discussion and description became tedious and sometimes confusing. Another bit of a downer was how some thoughts/descriptions lasted a bit too long. For instance, there’s a scene where Barnabas can’t get over the color of a law firm’s carpet. If he was some expert on carpets, that might have worked, but he’s a lawyer and never expressed an interest in carpets. This, of course, is a little picky, but it did bug me, lol.
I also questioned some of the legal aspects brought up during the read. Now I am no expert, for sure, and this may get confusing because I don’t want to give too much information away. However, I questioned why, if there is a piece of evidence that seemed pretty obvious to me to look through, did the investigators not look through it merely three years ago when the case first opened up? Also, can the police force just give information to a seemingly random guy on the phone just because he says he’s a lawyer? I feel the least that would need to be done is to meet face-to-face and prove the one who called is a lawyer and that the information would help his case.
For the most part, I felt the religion piece worked well here. There was a good balance of believing versus uncertainty and everyday situations/problems. Sometimes, in books, movies, books, and music that are religion-based can become too pressure-filled and overwhelming, but in this read, I thought the author did a nice job in balancing the two. [A bit of a SPOILER] The issue I took with this aspect was the fact that Stephanie, knowing that Barnabas was/is a good person at heart, could not bare to even hang out with him for about two years because his faith was lost. I’m sure there are people like this in the real world, but it made me feel uncomfortable because I didn’t think it was fair that Barnabas went to church once with her, she didn’t like the outcome, and ignored him for so long. [SPOILER done]
Overall, despite my criticisms within The Yoke, I really did enjoy reading it almost every time I picked it up. The characters were drawn well, the author had a clear point to make, and the overall message is sweet and compelling.