Beginning with a roadkill-burying nine-year-old and a gas-leak explosion, Benevolent follows Gaby from her formative years; through her awakening (as an imposing, legendary Queen nearly smashes her to bits under her steed’s hooves); through high school drama; a college career filled with an epic term paper, a building fire, and a protest-gone-bad; to Israel, a land full of romance and mysticism. It all ends back in metro-Detroit with a cataclysmic clash to resolve all good intentions. Accidents abound in Gaby’s life. As does love. And, thankfully, as does mercy.
Meanwhile, Benevolent is woven with tales of The Queen, The Angel, Jaden the Great, and The Sage. Are they figments of John’s and Mercedes’ imaginative stories? Or are they something more? You’ll want to find out for yourself.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Devon Flaherty brings an old mythical tale to life with her novel, Benevolent. An unbelievably imaginative novel that touches the do-gooder inside, this book is a whirlwind of mystery, love, faith, and hope as the characters grow into their destinies.
Gaby and Annie are twins and also two of the three main characters. Fraternal though they are, they share the interesting connection of situational coincidence: what happens to Gaby, happens to Annie. Gaby is the owner of a deep heart with the desire to help the world. She volunteers constantly, donating her time to the elderly and to orphans around the world. Annie is on her way up in the world, working and doing what Gaby has instilled within her: living a hopeful and full life, helping when the opportunity presents itself. Readers will come to know Gaby as their own sister and completely love her voyeuristic and always helpful attitude.
Mikhail is the third main character, having met Gaby by volunteering to help her at an elderly facility when they were in their early teen years. As they grow up, Mikhail realizes that his feelings for Gaby are growing deeper and concentrated with the idea of love. Mikhail is a sweet soul who leads a vegan lifestyle searching for a way to tell Gaby how he feels. Readers will love Mikhail as much as he loves Gaby. It's astounding how this coming of age novel portrays so many life lessons and touches the hearts of its readers.
The plot is a wonderful combination of mythical fantasy, coincidence, sacrifice, and heroism. As Gaby plays her role, helping the world one soul at a time, the myth of her ancestors comes to life around her. Flaherty does an amazing job pulling readers into this world where the effects of the unknown are experienced so deeply. Though this novel is a commitment with its extensive vocabulary and quickly shifting character focus, I highly recommend it to everyone. Astounding novel that will result in beautiful repercussions.
Rating: 5/5 Cups