[notable] “The Atonement Child” by Francine Rivers

I know…I know…YES, I’m going to talk about another Francine Rivers novel. I’ve been on a Rivers kick for the last couple of months. I also recently bought “The Last Sin Eater” and “The Scarlet Thread” which are both by her, as well. So brace yourself for reviews over those two.

I read “The Atonement Child” almost a month ago and quickly loaned it out to one of my best friends who wants to be a midwife. I knew she would love it and she ended up reading it in only a few hours. I swear she has a reading super power.

Despite having read it so long ago, I just now realized I never wrote about it! Le gasp! What was I thinking?

Much like in “A Voice in the Wind”, Rivers tackles some tough issues. I now cyber applaud her for this. It’s interesting that I chose to write about this while the presidential campaigns are in full swing. Hmm.

Amazon.com says about this book:

“Dynah Carey knew where her life was headed. Engaged to a wonderful man, the daughter of doting parents, a faithful child of God, she has it all. Then the unthinkable happens: Dynah’s perfect life is irrevocably changed by a rape that results in an unwanted pregnancy.

(Eeerrrrrrr. [That was me slamming on the breaks.] Yes, you read that ^^ correctly. The main character in this novel gets raped and then gets pregnant. Whoa….okay, now you can continue.)

Her family is torn apart and her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life: to embrace or to end the life within her. This is ultimately a tale of three women, as Dynah’s plight forces both her mother and her grandmother to face the choices they made. Written with balance and compassion, The Atonement Child brings a new perspective to the most controversial topic of our times.”

Her faith is pushed to the limitsUHHH yeah! Dynah Carey is probably my literary hero. One of the biggest things I learned from this book is the importance of talking. Dynah learns so much about herself and her situation just from talking it out! This is one of those books where if you try and put yourself in the main character’s shoes….you’ll be ready to take them off pretty quickly.

I can’t even begin to describe how Rivers delicately and yet forcefully handles the issue of abortion. Obviously if a young girl gets pregnant from a rape, the issue of abortion is going to be prevalent. This book is about taking a stand for what you believe in, no matter who that puts you up against. Sometimes that forces you to make your family unhappy or lose someone you care about. But man…what treasures in Heaven await you when you follow God!

As usual, I’m going to rate a Rivers novel far and above the average 5/5 scale and go with 10/5. Now, I know that a couple of Rivers’ novels have been rated in the 800’s/5 range…but those books changed my life. “The Atonement Child” changed my thought process, yes. It made me cry, but again…that isn’t hard to do. I finished it in a few hours because I was so emotionally connected to Dynah and didn’t want to leave her side like so many of her friends had done.

Now I’m reading “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. I plan on picking up the 3rd book in the Mark of the Lion series when I finish this book. Surprisingly, that’s another Francine Rivers novel.

[notable] “An Echo in the Darkness” by Francine Rivers

One thing I love about the Mark of the Lion series is that the stories move. I mean, through the dialogue you learn what’s happened since you last left a character. There’s no lengthy description of how so-and-so left for Rome with what’s-her-face, you learn about it when this character tells that character. In writing like that, Rivers moves the story along fluidly. These books take place over a period of years and it’s only 3 books! Moving right along!

In all of this series, the point of view changes a lot. However, it’s easy to figure out what’s going on when the POV switches. Not all writers can master this device as well as Rivers. So kudos for that.

If you’ve read the first book, “A Voice in the Wind”, but you haven’t started the second book…there’s something you hope happens. There’s that cliffhanger that leaves you speechless…and you dream of a happy ending magically revealing itself. All questions are answered in the second book. That’s all I’m going to say. Is that cryptic enough? Too cryptic?

The first book ends so insanely that I’m afraid I’ll reveal too much of what happens and it’ll ruin it! Dilema!

When I wrote about “A Voice in the Wind”, I mentioned how bold Francine Rivers is. In this second book, her boldness continues. This time, though, she’s dealing with questions that I think every Christian has asked at some point:

Why do good people die?

Who is this God?

Why did the apostles die such terrible deaths?

What’s nice about this book is that the reader follows along as a character makes it his mission to see these questions answered.

One of the most moving parts of this book to me (and this time by “moving”, I mean the inspiring kind of “moving”) is when two of the characters travel to the Asklepion to select a dying person to try and nurse back to health. The devastation there is incredible. There are countless male and female slaves left there by their masters to die. Then, the narrator points out the various “early morning worshippers” that arrive on “plush, veiled litters born aloft by slaves”. The main character is overwhelmed and seeks God’s guidance on who He wants them to rescue. The character asks her friend,

“Is it better to hide from what’s happening in the world than to know?”

That’s some powerful stuff, Francine!

I love how much history Rivers includes in this series. In the first book, it’s history-heavy in the beginning, but power through! In the second book, the history continues. There’s more about the gods of Rome and Greece as well as some more Judean history which I always think is interesting.

As always, Francine Rivers book rocked my world. I’m sock-less. They’ve been rocked off. I rate this book 850/5. Yeah. The first book only got an 800/5. This one’s just a teensy bit better, in my opinion.

Also, this book made me cry a few times. That’s cause for 50 more points. Then again, I’m kind of a weeper. So it’s no surprise I reached for tissues while reading this book.

What do you think? Have you read this series? I may take a break before picking up the third book in the series. I already own it, so we’ll see how long I can resist it. Probably not long.

Now I’m reading: “The Atonement Child” by Francine Rivers

[notable] “A Voice in the Wind” by Francine Rivers

This is not the first time I’ve read this book. A few friends recommended it my freshman year of college and it changed my life.

Not in like a “I’ve never read anything like this it’s so fantastic I can’t wait to read it again and tell everyone about it” run-on sentence kind of way. It literally changed my life. My life has been changed. Changed, my life has been.

I have it on my Kindle. Which means I can read it whenever I want. God personally invented Kindles. That’s the only logical explanation.

If you’ve ever read a book by Francine Rivers (such as “Redeeming Love”) then you know that it’s fantastic just because she dreamed it up.

The Amazon.com description about “A Voice in the Wind” says:

This first book in the classic best-selling Mark of the Lion series brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, a young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.

HA! That doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the glory of this book. There’s love, romance, flirting…oh, and stuff like violence, glory, honor, there’s a lack of chivalry, Christians in hiding, Christians being attacked, Jews being attacked…everything a moving novel needs!

And there’s a German. Oh boy, is there a German.

So yes, there are a lot of surface, superficial wonderful things about this book. The love story makes my heart melt. But there is also an incredible love story between the main character, Hadassah, and God. If you’ve read my latest post then you’ll know I recently lost faith in humanity but have gained it back. This book helped me to do that.

Of course there are characters you wish you could strangle (*cough*JULIA*cough*), but your heart breaks for them as well because they are lost and don’t understand their actions.

Francine Rivers is a bold lady. She touches on abortion, homosexuality, adultery, murder, classism, racism, sexism, all the other -isms, and then has the gaul to leave the reader wondering about the fate of their beloved heroine! Talk about a cliffhanger. Believe me, you’ll want to keep reading the series. You should just purchase or borrow the first two at the same time, just so you can immediately begin the second when you’ve finished the first.

Hadassah is so immersed in her devotion to the Lord that it shakes you to your soul. She endures so much heartbreak and hardship and yet stands firm in her belief and in her faith. She lives in a time when it is extremely dangers to be a Christian, let alone tell others about your faith. Who are we to live in a comfortable world and be silent? Hadassah is a true heroine. My first daughter will probably be named Hadassah and she will hate me until she’s old enough to read this book. Then she’ll understand.

I’m a sucker for a good romance novel. I forgot how much better a book can be when that romance is between a woman and her Savior. Sure, a knight in shining armor makes me have sweet dreams, but a book like this reminds me that I already have my Knight.

I wish I could be like Hadassah. That’s what a good book should do to you, right? It should make you say I need to change. I’m better than this.

So basically what I’m saying is that I’m rating this book 800/5. It’s that good.

The other two books in this series are called “An Echo in the Darkness” and “As Sure as the Dawn”. The entire triology is called “The Mark of the Lion Series”.

Now I’m reading: “The Lightkeeper’s Daughter” by Colleen Coble

[notable] “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers

I recently read the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers who is, by far, my favorite author of all time. Every time I read one of her books, I have a really hard time putting it down. This book was recommended to me by multiple people and here I am, recommending it to you. Every girl needs to read this book, for sure. Especially if you’re hurting, struggling and fighting a past with an ugly, rearing head. Guys should read it, too. There’s a lot of insight into the workings of women and of God in this book.

I can’t even begin describing how great this book is. I don’t know where to start. Here’s a little summary:

This book draws inspiration from the book of Hosea in the Bible. The storyline of the book mirrors, in a way, the storyline in God’s Word. The story is about Angel, a prostitute during California’s gold rush era, who is rescued from bondage by a man named Michael Hosea. The plot follows their trials and tribulations during their marriage and their walks with God, both together and apart.

This book convicted me. Judgement, jealousy, lust, being unforgiving, this books has it all. It’s also filled with redemption, love, hope, light, beauty, and all things Heavenly. I would go into detail, but that would ruin the story.

Read it. I bought it on my Kindle, otherwise I’d lend it to you. Did I mention how great it is? This book kept reminding me of the song “A Mighty Fortress” sung by Christy Nockels. It says, “Our God is jealous for His own, none could comprehend His love and His mercy” and “A mighty fortress is Our God, a sacred refuge is Your Name. Your kingdom is unshakeable. With You, forever, we will reign.”

In the book, Angel starts to idolize and worship her husband, rather than give glory to God. That’s a huge problem that our culture refuses to acknowledge.  The first commandment in Exodus says we shouldn’t have any other god before Him. So if our faith is starting out idolizing the one who brought us into the light, we’re off to a bad start. God is jealous for you! When you choose things of this world over Him, He feels it! He knows that the best thing for us…is Him! And He wants that for us..that unrelenting love.

Romans 7:19 says “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Is that you? Really unpack that verse.

Let’s be real: we know what good things are. We know the differences between good and evil, right and wrong. We want good and we don’t want evil. So why do we continue allowing evil in, even though we’re completely aware of the good things we could be doing. Follow me?

Are you “dying of thirst by the side of the fountain?” (Charles d’Orleans)

-Caitlyn

Listening to: Christy Nockels’ “Life Light Up” album

I also love these Rivers novels: “The Mark of the Lion” series, “A Lineage of Grace” and “Sons of Encouragement.”