Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf

From the publisher:
“Within one of the Old Testament’s most famous battles lies one of its most tender love stories.
Hidden within the battle of Jericho is the story of Rahab, a beautiful and brave young Canaanite woman who aided the Israelites by hanging a piece of scarlet cord from a window. This act of faith changed her life by placing her in the genealogy of Christ.
Rahab is the beautiful youngest daughter of a Canaanite farmer, taken to Jericho for the pagan New Year celebration so that her father can find her a wealthy spouse. Sala is the only son of an Israelite merchant, in Jericho as a spy for Joshua’s army. Their love would have been destined for heartache, were it not ordained by God.
When Rahab finds favor with the king, and is to become his ritual bride, she abandons the pagan gods who have abandoned her and pleads with the One True God of the Israelites for deliverance. With her prayer answered, she vows to deliver Jericho to Joshua, risking her life to do so.
Motivated by love and empowered by a new faith, Rahab saves her family, and secures her future as one of the most important women in the Bible.”

Joan Wolf created an engaging Biblical fiction story.  The historical knowledge of the Canaanite religion helped to create the mood toward the situation and how Joshua had to deal with it.  I appreciated the author’s note at the end of the book and how she struggled with the “jihad” idea and wanted to deal with it as best she could.  I applaud her honestly and her struggle as an author.  I do think that the Bible calling Rahab a harlot was not just a culture thing however, and although I appreciate what Wolf did, I found it more off base Biblically than I would have liked.  Overall it was an interesting read and I look forward to more of Joan Wolf’s books.

I received this book free from BookSneeze for my honest review.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

From the publisher, "A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan. Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany's vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.  For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn't seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she's not even sure exists?"

 I read this book in two days, and it only took that long because I didn't have time to sit and just read.  This book was engaging throughout the read.  The primary and secondary characters are engaging.  I thought it was interesting how the flashbacks were written in first person while the rest of the book was written in third.  I enjoyed that writing craft and how it made the past more vivid to the reader even though the rest of the book was not during that time.

 I appreciated the real feel of the characters and the amount of time it took for them to change or develop.  Sometimes authors have the characters change so quickly and it is unrealistic.  However, I was glad that this author choose to show time passing and events unfolding as the characters developed.  

 The question brought up in the book of seeing religious leaders as God and not God just for who He is was poignant.  Today many people reject God because of who they think He is, based on religious leaders they do or do not like. This book, and the author does a great job at tackling this issue and bring it to the reader. I received this book free for my honest review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.