Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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About the book:

In this epic Biblical narrative, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.


My review:

This is an extraordinary reimagining of the backstory of a rather minor character in the annals of history (I think she’s only actually mentioned once in the Bible)–Queen Hephzibah, wife of godly King Hezekiah of Judah and mother of very ungodly King Manasseh of Judah. It’s a coming-of-age story, but it’s also so much more than that. It is a tale of love, hope, strength, determination, and faith.

I know that this is a work of fiction, but it is so beautifully told and weaves the words of prophets and kings directly from Scripture so seamlessly, that it seems amazingly real! Mesu Andrews brought the world of Isaiah to life for me as I’ve never imagined before, and I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.

Biblical fiction, such as Isaiah’s Daughter, can bring a new depth of cultural and historical understanding to your study of the Word, while entertaining you wonderfully. I’d highly recommend you snatch up a copy for both the enjoyment and education!

Many thanks to WaterBrook & Multnomah and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

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A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

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About the book:

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.


My review:

Connilyn Cossette certainly knows how to draw a picture with her words that is both attention-grippingly tense and heart-touchingly beautiful. Moriyah is a character whose captivity story was described in the last book of the Out of Egypt series, Wings of the Wind. I was so glad to see that Cossette decided to continue Moriyah’s story and color in this fascinating and tragic character some more. Strong on the outside, yet broken on the inside, Moriyah’s struggle to feel close to the God she loves is a silhouette of what many people face each day. Cossette does a remarkable job of penciling in the highlights and shadows of Moriyah’s heart and drawing her back to who God created her to be.

She also beautifully illustrates the Promised Land during the time of Joshua, painting dramatic and lovely images of the flourishing land and its multitude of characters: from vintners, to priests, to soldiers, to traders, she draws a rainbow of colorful people and scenery to support the story.

I’m entranced by Connilyn Cossette’s biblical fiction and look forward to reading the next in the Cities of Refuge series. I highly encourage you to snuggle up with a copy of this book. 🙂

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Space Between Words by Michèle Phoenix

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From the publisher:

“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.

“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?


My Review:

The description of this book snagged my attention, and I couldn’t resist reading it. Now, I’m grateful to have read it, for it has given me a new perspective: a deeper understanding of the effects of terrorism, both in our world today and in our history.

How do I put the beauty of this novel into words? Phoenix has crafted a novel with genuine characters, flawed and loveable and completely real; with drama that is timely and relevant, yet still hauntingly beautiful; with history and heartache and healing and hope.

This is a book that uses the power of fiction to present truths that will affect you profoundly. Read it with an open heart and a box of tissues.

Many, many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own. 🙂

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

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From the back cover: “Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets–instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime–determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

“As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown–so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

“When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth–about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.”


My Review (contains minor spoilers!):

This was my first Roseanna M. White novel, and I very much enjoyed it. She did a masterful job of transporting me to Cornwall on the brink of World War I, where, though yet untouched by the horrors of war, still tensions were high. White used that atmosphere wonderfully, painting a charming and fairly realistic portrait.

Fans of Downtown Abbey will find much to enjoy in A Name Unknown. Her blend of characters, ranging from street urchins to royalty, allows the reader to see Edwardian England from differing perspectives and gives a nobility to them all.

My favorite part (here comes the spoiler, but not too much…) was definitely the scene with Prince Edward. I snorted, very indelicately, while reading this scene surrounded by a group of Ultra4 Racers in Sturgis, SD, waiting for my brother to finish (he’s a race photographer). At least I only got a few raised eyebrows and a snicker or two, not the bump on my head that Rosemary received!

And I know this is a weird thing to like about a book, but I really liked her dedication page:

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Isn’t it lovely? And so fitting with the story.

I sincerely recommend that you pick up a copy of A Name Unknown. Then pour a cuppa and snuggle in for a charming read.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

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From the author’s website:

“In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s cafĂ©. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.”

Kate Breslin has crafted a lovely story that is rich with both historical detail and an intricate and engrossing plot. She is absolutely marvelous at building tension, throwing in plenty of unexpected plot twists to keep the reader on her toes.

But that’s just the half of it. She has also created a cast of multi-layered characters – the best kind of characters: the ones you both love and want to smack at the same time. Her main character, Evelyn Marche, was even inspired by real historical women from the First World War.

It is a tale of strength and fragility and how both are necessary to survive in the tough times. It is a story of guilt that cripples the soul and the freedom found only in redemption. It is a novel of how love can conquer all, even self-induced heartbreak. And it is a beautiful read. It is heart-pumping, heart-squeezing, and heart-warming.

Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy of High as the Heavens, then snuggle in for a fascinating read.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Well, I missed my normal Monday review date. Sorry… It’s been a rough couple of weeks: between wretched allergies and the sudden loss of my beautiful Aunt Faith, I’ve gone through a ridiculous amount of Kleenex lately. However, the need to stay inside on these too warm, too windy, too pollen-filled days has given me the blessing of time to read (when my eyes aren’t too puffy to see!) and catch up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 🙂 I hope I’ll be back on schedule in a few days. So without further ado, here’s my review of Connilyn Cossette’s Wings of the Wind:

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From the book: Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

“Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

“Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

“In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?”

Wings of the Wind is a sweeping historical drama, covering events from the last bits of the Exodus and the crossing into the Promised Land. Cossette does a beautiful job of bringing the biblical stories into new, fresh life, giving her readers a different perspective on the dramatic events recounted in Numbers 21 (the Bronze Serpent) and Joshua 2 (Rahab and the Spies), among others. I love historical fiction — especially when it makes you look at stories you already know in a new light, makes you really think about the rest of the story. Cossette definitely does just that and masterfully blends a ton of historical research with everything from thrills to romance, thoroughly fleshed and sympathetic characters, and even a giggle or two.

This is actually the third book in Connilyn Cossette’s Out from Egypt series. I have not read the first two (Counted with the Stars and Shadow of the Storm), but that certainly didn’t dampen my enjoyment of this story. In fact, I plan on reading those first two books as soon as I can. 🙂 And I’d certainly suggest you grab your own copy of Wings of the Wind.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this lovely book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

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From the publisher: “After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
“When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
“With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.”

A whole lot happens to Julianne and those she loves throughout this novel. Sometimes a plot like this can get too ambitious – to the point of being ridiculous. Yet, I didn’t find that to be the case here. I felt that Green did a marvelous job of maintaining the adventure and tension of Julianne’s story, while keeping it plausible enough that I didn’t have to roll my eyes with each new twist.

I did, however, find my eyes doing other things…like tearing up. The depth and range of emotion Green manages to fill the pages with was absolutely lovely. And her characters were wonderfully variegated, speckled with intricacies that brought them to life. Fear, love, redemption, terror, joy, desperation…so much in one novel.

I really did enjoy this sweeping historical drama. It was a welcome diversion while it snowed, then rained, then blew like mad, then snowed…ugh! I would recommend you snatch up a copy.

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the chance to read this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own. 🙂