Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
By far the best Donna Van Liere book I've read, and I like all her books. But this one has a maturity and depth that is miles ahead of all the others. Set in the 1950s, when all women married young and "fit the pattern" that society set for them, Ivory refused to fit the mold. The people in the story are true to their southern roots, right down to their country sayings . . . which I see that one reader found to be off putting. Well, that's the way folks talk in the hills of Tennessee. The narration is perfect, the way of life is portrayed spot on and it put me in the mind of my own grandparents, and growing up in Kentucky. Growing a garden and working in tobacco fields, all a part of rural life, and going to a little country store, where everybody knows everybody else. The courage and stick-to-it-ness of Ivory in an age when women just didn't do such things will inspire you, and make your heart break, give you hope and ultimately make you examine your own "safe" choices.
This is the second of the Caleb books, and Caleb is 25 years old now in the deserts of Ethiopia. He and his parents have rebuilt the monastery where he grew up as a child. They live there together and minister to a leper colony, and even though Caleb still believes, he has lost his zeal and fire for Christ. This book, though fictional, explores the need for childlike faith, for trusting when we can't see the road ahead, for joyous dancing and spending time in the presence of God, all the things that we veer away from after the newness of our salvation starts to wear off. I would say that I'm not sure that the turn of events in the book are totally biblically correct as they pertain to end time prophecy, however, there are many trains of thought regarding that. And a fictional book is just that, fiction. The book blessed me and brought about self examination about my walk with the Savior.
This audio book is absolutely incredible. The story which goes inside the lives of Hasidic Jewish families brings an onslaught of emotions. I didn't know that the holocaust reached into Romania, until I listened to this book. Then to learn that Hasidic Jews believe and teach that the atrocities that the Jewish people suffered during World War II by the evil Third Reich are somehow a punishment that they deserve . . . oh, my, it is so sad. Yet there is an order, an extreme love of family and tradition in these people that one cannot fail to see and appreciate. Josef's story is haunting and beautiful. And all through the book, I prayed that he would return to the brave Gentile maiden who rescued him and became his second mother, and who revealed to him the only mercy he had ever known in his life, the grace and love of Jesus Christ. This isn't a religious book. It's so much more. It's a book that makes one question things. It is sad, victorious, triumphant, and yet, you will end up, like we all do, knowing that we, human beings, alone, we are not enough. And we CAN NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. My heart broke every time that the Hasidic Jews chanted, Come my Messiah, come. They danced and sang. They punished themselves. They tried to keep a pure bloodline. Yet, all the while missing the gift that God send to them. Rejecting joy. Rejecting mercy. Josef's dreams of Jesus were haunting. This tale is beautifully written and the narration is just right.