The Sunflower

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"Seek not your destiny, for it is seeking you." Just a week before their marriage, Christine's fiance calls off the wedding, leaving her heartbroken. With hopes of helping her through a difficult time, Christine's best friend Jessica enrolls them both on a humanitarian mission in Peru, to work at an orphanage called El Girasol -- The Sunflower.It is while working at the orphanage that Christine meets Paul Cook, a successful and charismatic American doctor who has fled the States after one fatal day took away his career, his faith, and the woman he loved.Unplanned events lead Paul and Christine into the jungle of the Amazon, where Christine must confront her deepest fears, and she, and Paul, must both learn to trust and love again.... and an expatriate doctor during a Peruvian jungle expedition.Jilted at the altar, timid dental hygienist Christine is strong-armed into a two-week Peruvian humanitarian trip by her adventurous best friend Jessica, who reasons that Christine will get over heartbreak only by giving of herself. Once she arrives at the tiny Cusco orphanage El Girasol, whose name means "sunflower" in Spanish, Christine is absorbed in work and discovers the problems and deprivations of the developing world. She befriends a deaf girl abandoned by her parents, and grows closer to the mysterious proprietor Paul. Himself the victim of heartbreak, Paul had left behind a promising medical career in America. He ends up guiding Christine's group through the jungle to an eco-lodge, where he helps his fragile lady friend overcome her fear of spiders and teaches her to "hunt" crocodiles. And when Christine comes down with a tropical fever, Paul uses his medical skills to save the woman he has already fallen in love with. After her recovery, Christine is forced to choose between love and the safety of her former life—the prospect is much scarier than spiders. This wholesome story from Evans (A Perfect Day, 2003, etc.) boasts an amazing setting but less successful are the preachy diary entries from Paul that contradict his laconic man-of-action persona. There is also a secondary plot involving child-sex trafficking that feels undeveloped.A romantic meditation on faith, redemption and public service.