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.
I have read (and loved) many historical novels about the civil war, the struggles between the northern and southern states, the ways of the Yankees and the Rebels, and the issue of slavery. This one is the best by far, because it is the only one that has broken down the barriers and prejudices into simple terms. Basic right and wrong. As I listened to this audio book, it became clear to me that the entire civil war, beginning to end, was a GOD THING. And I really have never thought of it in that way at all. I began to grasp the fact that the prayers and actions of a few simple, obedient, God fearing people really does matter. I gained not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge. So many things in this book are absolutely true. The racial prejudices of the north are still much worse than in the south. Yet the southern states are the ones that owned the slaves. Abraham Lincoln, (born in my home state of Kentucky, a state that remained neutral during the civil war), was, I believe a man sent by God to abolish slavery. Yet he was so hated that he was murdered while in office, not long after slavery was abolished. I will not soon forget this book and the simple truths that it brings. Love thy neighbor as thy self. Be a servant, as Christ was also a servant. Forgive others, as Christ has also forgiven you. This book is based on Christian principles, but it never preaches, never judges, never sees just one side. The losses suffered by both the north and south in the civil war was enormous. Many high school students would greatly benefit from reading and studying this in their history classes to gain a better understanding of what the war between the states really was about.
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.