"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.
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Simon & Schuster
October 03, 2005
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Excerpt from The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans
Going to the jungle wasn't my idea. Had the thought actually crossed my mind, I would have immediately relegated it to that crowded portion of my brain where things I should do someday but thankfully never will are safely locked away to languish and die.
The idea was my daughter McKenna's. Three months before she graduated from high school, her sociology teacher, a graying, long-haired Haight-Ashbury throwback who had traded in his tie-dye T-shirts for tweed jackets with leather elbow patches presented to his class the opportunity to go to South America on a humanitarian mission. McKenna became obsessed with the idea and asked if I would accompany her on such an excursion -- kind of a daddy-daughter date in the Amazon.
I agreed. Not that I had any real desire or intention of going. I figured that she would soon graduate and her mind would be occupied with other concerns. I never believed it would really come about.
I should have known my daughter better. Four months later I found myself standing with her and a dozen of her former classmates in the Salt Lake City airport boarding a plane for Lima, Peru.
Unbeknownst to our little group, we had entrusted our lives to novices. We were the first group our expeditionary guides had actually led into the Amazon -- a fact we discovered twenty-four hours later deep in a jungle teeming with anacondas, jaguars and hand-sized spiders. Several times in the course of our expedition, our guide, an elderly Peruvian man, would suddenly stop, lay his machete at the foot of a tree, then climb above the jungle canopy for a look, each time descending with a somewhat perplexed expression.
After our third complete change of course I asked our guide (as tactfully as one being led through a jungle must) if he knew where he was going. In broken English the old man replied, "Yes, I have been here before..." then added, "when I was six."
During our hike we came upon the village of an Amazonian tribe, the Los Palmos. Overjoyed to learn that they were neither cannibals nor headhunters, we soon noticed that the population of the village included no young men, only women and the elderly. Our guide asked one of the natives where all the young men had gone.
"They have gone to town to kill the mayor," she replied.
"Why " our guide asked.
"The mayor has said we can no longer cut the rainforest trees. We cannot live without the wood from the trees. So our men have gone to kill him."
"Do you think that's a good idea " our guide asked.
The woman shrugged. "Probably not, but it's how things are done in the jungle."