Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles) by Lynn Austin

This story begins with the wicked Haman's decree in Babylon for all Jews to be killed. It has the King's seal so every Jew in Babylon is terrified about the approaching day. Ezra, a teacher of the Torah, delves deep into the scripture and into prayer and fasting to help find a solution. Jews (and Gentiles) all over the realm are preparing for the day.

Lynn Austin has made the story of Queen Esther and the subsequent opportunity for the Jews that so desire to return to Jerusalem come to life. The Bible story is compelling but putting actual every day people and their dreams and hopes and feelings into it make it even more compelling. Lynn Austin is a master storyteller and all her historicals have this ability to bring it all home but this one is one of her best yet! I literally could not put this down until I finished the story. What a wonderful resource this book is as well as being a great book to just enjoy reading. My granddaughter has read everything she has found on Esther over the last few years and she is waiting (impatiently) for me to finish this book so she can read it. This takes the story on beyond the Esther story and I know she will devour it just as I did.

This is a book to savor and then be kept on the shelf to savor again in the future. This entire series is a wonderful addition to any collection.

Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love Bethany House and all their authors!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Abraham by Charles R. Swindoll

Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation. He wasn't a righteous man. He wasn't even a God-follower when he was chosen. But God typically takes who he wants not who looks, acts or does the best. The story of Abraham is vastly different than the sweet little Bible stories we were taught as children. The story of Abraham is the story of a man who was very much flesh and blood, very much subject to his own fears and inhibitions and not above stretching the truth for his own purposes. But he did what God told him, for the most part, and fulfilled the purpose God had for him. This is an in depth study of the story of Abraham.

I have taken several studies about Abraham so I was familiar with the topic but each author has their own twist on it and gives food for thought. The best way to begin to learn about Abraham is to read his story straight from your Bible. But it is also helpful to have the insight of Bible teachers who have studied it in depth already. There are many cultural and geographical facts from the period that need to be addressed to fully understand the story. That is the reason books like this are valuable to us as seekers of truth.

Charles Swindoll has done an excellent job of presenting all the facts and making this study interesting and informative. This would be an excellent book for Bible Study or Book Club groups but is also good for personal studies. This book will stay on my shelf and be a resource in homeschooling and personal study.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This book is a Kim Vogel Sawyer masterpiece. She just keeps reaching deeper and deeper. I've made it my business to read everything that comes out by this author for several years now and this one is just beyond wonderful. I could not put this book down to get anything done today and I finally finished it this evening and was relieved to see that the sequel is in the works already. There is definitely some unfinished business at the end of this book and I am anxious to see the next installment.

This is the story of Suzy (an old order Mennonite girl), who gets pregnant when she and her boyfriend have sex. Her mother sends her away to have the baby and have it adopted by a cousin and then return and resume her life. Instead of coming back to Kansas, she stayed in Indiana and went to nursing school. Nineteen years later, her siblings ask her to come back and take care of her mother who has been injured in an accident and she returns with her daughter to help. No one knew about her daughter and it was all a surprise. Complicating matters was the fact that her former boyfriend, now a widower with a young son, was the contractor working on adapting her mother's house to her disabilities.

All the characters in this story were interesting and their various means of dealing with emotions was interesting. So many surprising things happened in this story and the setting was so compelling that I just wanted to keep reading about it even after the last page was read. I'm counting on the sequel to be full of more fascinating people and settings. Being a native Kansan, I am always excited to read about Kansas anyway but this book make it even more special.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing a review, but if I hadn't been chosen for the task I would have purchased it anyway because I can't pass up anything new from Kim Vogel Sawyer's pen.