The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr

bookofwhispersFrom the publisher:

Tuscany, 1096 AD. Young aristocrat Luca can see demons invisible to others, but must hide the fact. A powerful book seems to hold the key to their mystery, but he can’t decipher it. In Cappadocia, during a Crusade, Luca encounters Suzan, a girl who can read the book’s cryptic language. Together, Luca and Suzan realize their true quest.

That brief description of the book grabbed me immediately. And the cover is actually pretty cool too, so I thought this might be a good book to try out a new author. Then I read the book…

…and was in no way disappointed 🙂 Starr does a magnificent job of weaving historical fact with demons and magic to create a lush and fascinating tale of the Crusades. I mean, seriously, take a moment in history, add demons, and boom! Way cooler story!

Honestly though, this story, what Starr calls “augmented history,” definitely can make a reader see the Crusades in a new light. There were motivations behind the atrocities of the Crusades, and this story shows that while many of those motivations were impure, there were those who went on the Crusades for true and good reasons as well. If only more of those motivations would have been the driving force, our world may be completely different today. But, as Starr mentions in her author’s note, there are changes we can all make to help create a better world today, and knowing why we do something — knowing that driving motivation behind our own actions and those of the people around us — is one of the most important things we need to have to begin to change the world.

This was a fascinating story and I’d definitely recommend you grab a copy when it is released in September.

Many thanks to Text Publishing 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! 🙂

 

Courageous by Dina L. Sleiman

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The young Lady Sapphira has been given a vision from God: she is to inspire others lead herself and a group of kids to help set captives free in the Holy Land. Rosalind of Ipsworth and Sir Randel Penigree have both decided to join this crusade, but for their own very complicated reasons. Both are running from pasts that continue to haunt them, but will running halfway across the known world hide them from their demons? God will find them wherever they are, yet they will need to make the decision to listen to Him or to their own fallible hearts.

Courageous is book three in the Valiant Hearts series (following Dauntless and Chivalrous). I have not read either of the first two books in the series, yet, but that certainly did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. It is a terrific tale of love, redemption, strength of spirit, and learning to hear and trust the will of God.

Sleiman does a marvelous job of revealing both the triumph and the tragedy of the Crusades, showing how not everyone who went on Crusade did so with pure motives and not every Muslim bore hatred toward the Christians they encountered. I truly enjoyed getting to know her characters and watching them strengthen or soften as God worked through each of them.

I so enjoyed reading Courageous and would definitely recommend you pick up a copy. And I think I’ll go back and read the first two books in the series as well. Happy reading! 🙂

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