The Touchby Randall Wallace
Andrew Jones was once one of the few surgeons in the world to have that rare, God-given ability called The Touch. But after failing to save his young fiancée, Faith, at the scene of a car accident, Jones abandons his gift and shuns the operating room.
Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based/i>/b>
2012 Christy Award finalist, Contemporary series category.
Andrew Jones was once one of the few surgeons in the world to have that rare, God-given ability called The Touch. But after failing to save his young fiancée, Faith, at the scene of a car accident, Jones abandons his gift and shuns the operating room.
Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based biomedical engineering company developing a surgical tool that will duplicate precisely the movement of a surgeon’s hands, reducing or eliminating failed surgical procedures. Lara has pursued the best surgeons in the world to test this surgical tool, and all of them have failed.
As Lara pursues Jones’s skill for her project, Jones’s stubborn resistance cracks, and he begins to open up to her about the wounds that still haunt him. But when Jones discovers the urgency behind Lara’s work, he must choose to move beyond his past. As each is forced to surrender secret fears, they are bonded together through the lives of the people Jones serves and by the healing secret that Faith left behind.
Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based biomedical engineering company developing a surgical tool that will duplicate precisely the movement of a surgeon’s hands, eliminating human error during surgical procedures. Lara has pursued the best surgeons in the world to test this tool and all of them have failed.
Discovering Andrew’s unique surgical skills, Lara is determined to work with him. But Jones wants no part of it until he discovers the urgency behind Lara’s work . . . and somewhere, somehow, he must find the courage to trust The Touch. Also included: Author interview and discussion questions for book groups or individual use.
“Every person is the hero of his own life. And no matter how often we feel insignificant, we know in our depths that something in us comes from God. The profoundest moments in life are the ones that tell us we matter to someone, and this to me is the essence of faith and the essence of love . . .” Randall Wallace
Randall Wallace is an author, screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter. He directed the movie Secretariat. His other films include Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, and We Were Soldiers.
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By RANDALL WALLACE
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Randall Wallace
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen Michelangelo finished painting the Sistine Chapel, neither the Pope who hired him nor the glorified artists of Rome took particular notice of the depiction in the center of the ceiling, where God, whom Michelangelo had the audacity to depict as a Being resembling a human, stretches His divine hand toward the first man, Adam, who is lolling in beautiful yet limp perfection, awaiting The Touch that will bring him Life.
The rich, the sophisticated, the high born, and the well-bred appraised the Chapel in numerous private viewings and judged it to be good work, perhaps even worthy of praise. They thought Michelangelo had displayed craft in handling the difficult curves of the ceiling and the added challenge of painting plaster while it was still drying. They critiqued individual figures throughout the fresco, but no particular section stood out in their notice.
It was not until they opened the Chapel to the hungry eyes of commoners, who would lock on those two fingertips, one Divine and one human, with Life about to leap, that anyone within the Vatican or the learned societies of Rome began to realize that The Touch was something special.
Faith Thomas and Andrew Jones were two of those commoners, among the centuries of tourists who had lifted their gazes within the Sistine Chapel to find themselves transfixed, open-mouthed, filled with wonder and joy. Faith and Jones, as she called him, were not in most ways what anybody would call typical; both in their midtwenties, they were an attractive couple, Faith with blue eyes and dark chestnut hair, and Jones tall and sandy haired, his eyes green and fierce. Among the tens of thousands of young Americans backpacking through Europe in the summer they stood out and drew as many glances as the statues and inlaid floors of the palaces they visited.
Still they were common. Both were from Appalachia, she from the coal fields of Pennsylvania and he from the Blue Ridge in Virginia. They had met in medical school. Now they were lying on their backs on the floor of the great Chapel, gazing upward, necks resting on their backpacks, each containing a battered copy of Europe from $85 a Day. Faith was worried the Vatican guards were going to tell them to get up, that lying in the middle of the Sistine Chapel's floor was not allowed on tour days or on any other days either, but Jones had whispered something to one of them when they walked in, and the guards seemed to ignore them after that. Maybe because it was the last group allowed in before the Vatican tours closed for the day.
The other tourists in their group had already gazed at the ceiling; their eyes already wore the glaze that comes from trying to capture and comprehend the greatness of a work of art whose subject, as well as the technique in depicting it, were beyond understanding. "The Divine Touch" was something to ponder; every person who lifted eyes toward it knew that looking at it was a privilege. But Faith Thomas and Andrew Jones lay on their backs below it and felt the thrill of a special privilege. To lie on a floor where thousands, even millions, of feet walked could have seemed unsanitary to their American minds, but the sanctity of the place made even the floor feel pristine.
"Is it the gift of life?" Jones wondered aloud to Faith, as his eyes, in sync with hers, drifted from the fingertips about to touch to the form of Eve depicted in God's other hand as a partner created for Adam. "Or the gift of love?"
"Both," she whispered back. "It says love and life are the same thing." Without moving her eyes for a long moment, she added, "You've got hands like that."
"Like Adam? Or like Michelangelo?" He was grinning; she knew the cocking grin without turning to look at it.
"Like the Big Guy with the white hair. Your touch brings me to Life."
In duplication of the painting he stretched his hand towards her; she extended her hand to him. But then instead of brushing fingertips, he surprised her by gripping her hand and pulling something from the coin pocket of his jeans and slipping it onto her ring finger.
It was an engagement band.
She rolled onto her side, looked at her finger, then at him. Suddenly they were kissing, and the whole room full of tourists was applauding them, and the guards were winking at Jones.
Even the painting directly above them seemed to glow brighter.
* * *
There was no question in Faith's mind, of course, that she would remember that moment in the Sistine Chapel for the rest of her life, even if that life should last another hundred years, even if she should live long enough that she would sit drooling and could no longer remember her own name, the glow of what had just happened would nestle somewhere with her heart. As she and Jones walked hand in hand through the Vatican gates, she told him so.
He smiled, softly, and his eyes were bright with emotion, and though she had thought she could never love anyone more than she had loved him when he slipped the ring onto her finger, she loved him even more now than she had loved him ten minutes before. "You had all of this planned!" she said. "How long have you known you were going to do this?"
"Since I asked you if you wanted to backpack through Europe with me."
"I ... I could've said no. I could've ... I could've been too busy to come, I—"
"No, you couldn't," he broke in. "I wouldn't have let you."
She squeezed his hand and hugged her head against his shoulder as they strolled together through the warm and crowded streets, still filled with the sunlight of summer. Their hotel was two miles away, but they loved walking and would find a place to stop for dinner, a small restaurant with candles on the tables and singing from the streets outside. Faith adored the way Italians sang as naturally as they breathed.
Then another thought hit her. "Did you have that arranged? With the guard?"
"Sort of. Luca knew him."
Luca was an Italian friend they'd first met back in Virginia when he had come over from Rome to give a lecture called Art and the Voice of God. They had taken Luca to dinner after his lecture and the three of them had become fast friends; now Luca was waiting for them at a restaurant to surprise Faith again with a dinner to celebrate the engagement that Jones had planned. Luca would be bringing friends, none of whom Faith or Jones had ever met; but Luca promised that in an instant they would all feel like family, they would be family. Love did that, made families where before only strangers had been.
* * *
Four months later, in the middle of a Virginia autumn, the two of them were driving into the mountains, a postcard of The Divine Touch taped to the dashboard of Drew's old jeep. Faith was at the wheel; after days in classrooms and clinics and twenty-four-hour shifts in Emergency Rooms she was always eager to feel the sway and the bounce of the road into the Blue Ridge, jostling up through the worn-out seats and humming through the steering column into the palms of her hands. That she felt such things, was aware of them, relished in the connection they gave her to the physical world, made Andrew surrender the wheel, though he enjoyed driving, just not as much as she did. He would watch her as she drove, and he would smile and shake his head and think of how lucky he was.
They had left the University in late afternoon and had taken 29-South into Nelson County, Virginia's poorest region. The road, however, was one of the most beautiful drives in the state, rolling and winding through farmland where houses and churches and stores selling antiques sat on ground that Thomas Jefferson had ridden past two hundred years before, on his way from Charlottesville down to Lynchburg to visit the summer house he had built there in a place called Poplar Forest. Jones loved history, so each time they drove this road he thought of Jefferson, the relentless builder, who designed Monticello and the University of Virginia and clocks and silver cups and—not coincidentally—was a designer of the United States. Faith would smile patiently as Jones reflected aloud about such things; she found them mildly interesting but rather curious, for Faith was much more interested in what was now, in those houses they passed where the Christmas lights would be still up in May or in October, and in the families who lived in them. Was someone sick? Why would they not take the lights down, so that putting them up again would be special? Faith and Andrew were two different people—and life between them was richer for those differences.
They turned west just as the sun went down beyond the ridgeline and the gray fog of evening had begun to bathe the forest and rise from the road in wisps. Andrew was on his cell phone; he didn't like to talk when they were in the jeep—their time together, away from the hospital, was too rare, and it was hard to hear in the jeep, but Luca had just called him and cell reception was spotty, so he answered, though his habit when traveling into the mountains with Faith was to turn his phone off altogether.
"Yeah, we're back!" he called over the noise of the snow tires singing over the blacktop. "... Faith? She's great! She's been strutting around in front of all the women in Charlottesville, bragging about how she captured me!"
Faith punched his shoulder, then reached down and took his hand. He squeezed it and said loudly into the phone, "We miss you already, Luca! ... Of course you're invited to the wedding, I'll call you as soon as we set the date! ... Sure, I'll give her a kiss for you! And she sends her love to you!" He hung up and smiled at her. "He says I should ask you about the project you were talking with him about while we were there, on the neurological effects of music."
"Early studies are suggesting that playing classical music to kids makes their IQ scores go up. It started me thinking: if music impacts the brain—"
"Post-traumatic coma. It might help induce healing!"
"Bingo, big guy! See, I knew you weren't just another pretty face."
"Why does it work? Soothing? Stimulating? Or that people get healthier when they're exposed to beauty?" He looked from the Michelangelo postcard on the dashboard to Faith's face. She had just switched on the headlights and they threw back soft reflections onto her skin.
"It's love. Art is an expression of devotion, a tangible proof that someone cared enough to make and share beauty. It may be that we doctors accomplish more just by the physical touching of patients, by showing them concern, than with our science."
"Faith is the right name for you."
She smiled at him; then her eyes flicked back to the road and filled with terror. She jerked the wheel and opened her mouth as if to scream. But there was no time even for that.
In an instant, everything changed for Andrew Jones—all that he hoped and thought, all that he believed of life.
In an instant, Faith was gone.
Excerpted from THE TOUCH by RANDALL WALLACE Copyright © 2011 by Randall Wallace. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Both from Appalachia, Faith Thomas and Andrew Jones fell in love while attending medical school. They lay on the floor of the Sistine Chapel looking at the "Divine Touch" in awe; both Faith and Jones know this moment will be with them forever. Driving in the back roads of Virginia, in an instant Faith was gone as was Jones' faith. Though already regarded as a talented physician with the healer's touch, Jones quits medicine and becomes a teacher; their close friend Luca Manzi offers solace but cannot explain why God allows bad things happen to good people like Jones' Faith. Chicago based Blair-Bio-Med wants the best to test a new robotic device that duplicates the hands of a surgeon without the human error. Driven to succeed and help people in need, Dr. Lara Blair has turned to the best surgeons in the world, but none have made her tool work properly. She knows the best is Jones with his healing touch. Pleading with him, Lara wants him to be the blueprint of her gizmo. As she bullies him, he thinks what Faith would want him to do with what she considered his divine healing touch. This is an engaging inspirational second chance at life tale starring two wounded warriors struggling to move on from emotional issues. Ironically the Michelangelo masterpiece is the fullest developed "character" although Jones is not far behind. The rest of the cast including the two women in his life pales in comparison. Still The Touch is a warm entertaining drama. Harriet Klausner
Amazing story Couldn't put it down. Fast read that I will read again and again.
THE TOUCH is one of the most compelling and meaningful books I've read. I think Randall Wallace's writing is amazing. He pulls the reader right into the story. I've told a lot of people about this novel. Some are listening to it on as an audio edition and really like it. Having read reviews by other readers, I prefer they don't tell so much of the plot. Randall Wallace planned suprises, and I don't think those should be spelled out by readers.
I loved this novel. It is wonderful story line, character and surprises. I would recommend it as a wonderful bad weather day read.
I loved the aspect of "secret giving" and how we can make a huge impact on others by loving them and giving of ourselves. I was a little annoyed at the beginning of the book as they mention Faith has died but it takes till almost halfway through the book before explaining.
I just read The Touch by Randall Wallace. Andrew Jones was once one of the few surgeons in the world to have that rare, God-given ability called The Touch. But after failing to save his young fiancée, Faith, at the scene of a car accident, Jones abandons his gift and shuns the operating room. Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based biomedical engineering company developing a surgical tool that will duplicate precisely the movement of a surgeon’s hands, reducing or eliminating failed surgical procedures. Lara has pursued the best surgeons in the world to test this surgical tool, and all of them have failed. As Lara pursues Jones’s skill for her project, Jones’s stubborn resistance cracks, and he begins to open up to her about the wounds that still haunt him. But when Jones discovers the urgency behind Lara’s work, he must choose to move beyond his past. As each is forced to surrender secret fears, they are bonded together through the lives of the people Jones serves and by the healing secret that Faith left behind. This is a really good book. There are many twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Lara and Andrew were so much alike that it was hard to think they could get along. But in the end they each needed love that they had been denying themselves for so long that they couldn't stay apart. It reminded me that your faith can really help you get through anything. You just need to keep looking up.
The Touch by Randall Wallace I really enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. Throughout the novel it was hard to actually get inside the head of Andrew Jones (or Jones, as his colleagues call him) Faith Thomas or Lara (Laura without the u) Blair. So why did I like it in spite of that fact? Or why did I not really connect with them? All three of these characters were wrapped up in their professions as doctors, Lara being a researcher. They were well developed, but I seemed to miss that part that brought them into my life for me. The story line was well written, and flowed rather like a river, but I am thinking that it could have had more depth, and the suspense could have been more developed. Actually, on second thought, perhaps it just was that it is a short story, easily read in an afternoon. As that, it was clearly a great little book. Having said that, I am not criticizing the author or the editors...and the surprises were there. Randall clearly shows “The Touch” from the time Jones and Faith see the painting by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel until the end of the novel. It is understood that The Touch is the touch of God's hand to man's hand, as the artist portrayed it. Both Jones and Lara grow from being rather reclusive and selfish to learning more about God's great love and plan for them. I will definitely be telling others about Randall Wallace and The Touch, and will be looking for more novels by him. The opinions stated in this review are my own, and this is an honest review.
Dr. Andrew Jones has incredibly skilled hands, able to surgically operate on the most inaccessible areas of the human brain. After traumatically losing his fiancee in a car accident, he finds himself unable to perform any sort of surgery and relegates himself to teaching other young doctors. Dr. Lara Blair is the heir to a biomedical research company. Extremely driven, intelligent, and skilled, her life revolves around the research she is doing and the donations she gives through the company's foundation. Dr. Blair discovers that Dr. Jones has a skill for brain surgery beyond what she is capable of, and devices to convince him to participate in her life saving research. I carelessly picked up and finished this book before bothering to read the inside cover flaps. My initial impression that this book would make a great movie was entirely validated when I discovered that this is by the same author who wrote the script and novelization of the Mel Gibson film Braveheart. This book has nothing to do with that film, but the polished character descriptions, well rounded plot lines, story pacing, and portions of the narrative denote a writer with a lot of practice pleasing people. It is a nearly flawless presentation. The flaws begin to surface when examined from a spiritual standpoint. The statement repeated throughout the book "All we need to know it that God exists and He loves us" does not exactly ring true. What about our sinful condition and our need for the salvation which can only be found at the cross? Also, a scene depicting the removal of a brain dead patient from life support seemed inappropriately handled. Many Christians have convictions regarding this subject, and the way the author added it to the story without having the incidence either further plot line or character development made it seem as though he seized a quiet opportunity to promote his own opinions without giving the reader any of the supporting arguments. In the end - despite scenes in churches, praying, offering anonymous acts of love - the book felt like a 'clean' read with some Christian flavor thrown in. Finally, this book feels slightly rushed. The reader is often jumped from scene to scene without any time to let the emotional impact of what is happening unfold. The writer employs some literary techniques such as naming the fiancee Faith (Dr. Jones' faith has died) and having Dr. Blair leave her large office building to do free medical work in the Virginia countryside (coming down from an 'ivory tower') but doesn't allow them to color the story. Jones has a lot of faith in other people and often portrays something approaching hope for others as well. Blair finds fulfillment, not a fundamental change, in dealing with the real world. By making the emotions motivating the characters already present instead allowing them to wax and wane, the author sacrifices some reader buy-in for clarity. And by failing to allow his own metaphors and plot devices to spin out with the rhythm the story seemed to have established, he sacrifices possible depth to maintain novella length. The ultimate messages that pain and suffering can be healed with love, and that life has purpose and meaning resonate deeply with me. Unfortunately, I don't feel this book dealt with them on a deep enough level to leave any sort of last impression beyond that of a pleasant, well written read on your evening in.
Inspiring! This is a great story that reminds us how we can allow life situations and fear to block us from using the gifts God has given us. Dr. Andrew Jones is a gifted surgeon who has stopped doing surgery. Lara Blair is a research doctor who is looking for a talented surgeon to perform an near impossible surgery. As these two become friends, we learn about the trials both have faced. This is a moving story about faith and courage.
Dr. Andrew Jones, "Jones" to most everyone who knows him, has a gift. An off the charts, special-like-no-one-is-special, gift. However, a tragedy in his life has impaired him in a number of ways, and he is teaching others - but not practicing personally. Dr. Lara Blair is the intensely smart and seeking researcher that on the surface has everything - beauty, brains, billions - and she is not truly satisfied in life or with herself. The author employs a tiny twist and we are taken on a journey to discover that the most important "touch" of all. I really enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend it - it's a great, fairly quick read - and hopefully it will make you think as it did for me.
This is a very good book right from the start. The characters are warm and engaging, yet human. The plot is easy to follow with some twist and turns along the way. The author uses his words to paint a very vibrant picture of his characters and their world.
I read all the time, but I've never come across a book like this before. When I first came across this novella and saw that it was *just* a small book, I figured it wouldn't be that great of a book, because don't you need a lot of space and words to create your characters and build up the story? But I was wrong. Although this book is extremely succinct and to the point, its not lacking in heart, plot or character development; in fact, far from it. I honestly don't want to say too much about the plot or storyline of this book, as I don't want to spoil any of the surprises and twists and turns. However, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and did not want to put it down, although I had to a few times just to process what had just transpired. If you want to have your heartstrings tugged, catch a glimpse of hope in this gloom and doom world, or just want to escape for a few hours, you will love this book!
Randall Wallace in his new book, "The Touch" published by Tyndale House Publishers gives us a contemporary story into the lives of two doctors. From the Inside Flap: Andrew Jones was once one of the few surgeons in the world to have that rare, God-given ability called The Touch. But after failing to save his young fiancée, Faith, at the scene of a car accident, Jones abandons his gift and shuns the operating room. Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based biomedical engineering company developing a surgical tool that will duplicate precisely the movement of a surgeon’s hands, reducing or eliminating failed surgical procedures. Lara has pursued the best surgeons in the world to test this surgical tool, and all of them have failed. As Lara pursues Jones’s skill for her project, Jones’s stubborn resistance cracks, and he begins to open up to her about the wounds that still haunt him. But when Jones discovers the urgency behind Lara’s work, he must choose to move beyond his past. As each is forced to surrender secret fears, they are bonded together through the lives of the people Jones serves and by the healing secret that Faith left behind. Everything hinges on the beginning of "The Touch" where Andrew Jones gets to see the Sistine Chapel and, in particular, the scene where God is reaching down to man to touch him while man is reaching up to God to touch Him. The tips of the fingertips are inches apart and the relationship is just about to begin. Once the relationship starts then what flows from God to man and from man to God will also overflow to others. That is the gift that Andrew Jones has and the one he walks away from after the tragic death of his fiance. It takes the new relationship with Lara Blair to see what is needed. "The Touch" is a book about destiny, what God means for us to have. This is an incredibly well-written story about love and faith and will touch you deeply. I recommend it highly! If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The book was beyond my expectations for what I expected from a medical background book. It covered love, loss, faith, mystery, giving of one's self to others, but mostly the story just carries you along in a most enjoy able way,full of surprises, and a range of emotions that we go thru in life. Hated to put it down. Great story. I am going to look for other books by this author. I would recommend this book for club discussions.
A story of faith, hope, and love. Looked forward to finding time to read this book each day; loved the spirituality delicately weaved throughout.
Doctor Andrew loses a loved one and refuses to do surgery again. Lara owns a research company that is developing a surgical tool and needs a surgeon to test the tool. When she hears about Andrew's surgical skill, she wants to work with him at her company, but he refuses. I thought this book was interesting. Medical research has come quite far in recent years, and this book shows how one tool can help save lives.