Miriam by Mesu Andrews

What an fascinating, intriguing historical fiction book! Not only do we dive into more of Miriam coverthe culture and political climate in this period of the Israelites’ history, but we also feel the possible emotions and relationships surrounding Miriam, a familiar and yet lesser know historical woman.

Miriam introduced herself as “old but of use. I am a slave, a midwife, a healer with herbs. This is what I do, but El Shaddai makes me who I am.” She is called a prophetess, but she sees herself as a messenger of El Shaddai who speaks to her in dreams and visions. He has been her whole world, He satisfies her heart, she seeks He’s wisdom as she treats the injured slaves and talks with those around her…

As we enter into Miriam’s world, the Israelites have been slaves for 400 years. That’s all they know…

Now Moses, her brother and former Egyptain prince, comes back with news from Yahweh, El Shaddai’s newly revealed name, that freedom is coming for the Israelites. However, the freedom won’t come immediately or without pain. Miriam feels left out and unneeded. Will she learn to trust this El Shaddai and His gifts of love or give in to anger and bitterness?

“Based only on the first three plagues—before the distinction between Egypt and Goshen was made, when there was no clean water, frogs were hopping, gnats were biting—what would you have thought of Yahweh’s nature? Would you have trusted Him, or would you have feared such a God? Only after His fierce majesty was displayed did Yahweh show His great love the the Israelites. That’s what we find in the Bible we hold in our hands today. Only after we see God’ fierce holiness through the Old Testament Law can we fully appreciate Jesus’s great love through grace in the New Testament.

It is my prayer that you, dear reader, will come to know Yahweh—intimately, personally, and fully—and become as Miriam was, captivated by a God you can’t understand that will do things you know are impossible.” —from the Author’s Note

Miriam is the second book in Mesu Andrews’s A Treasures of the Nile Novels. The first was The Pharaoh’s Daughter. I haven’t read it and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. However, I’m sure you will meet some of the historical characters, including Miriam in that first book. If it’s as well written as this one, I would recommend both!

More Info

Author Bio

**Disclosure: I received a free copy of Miriam from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. THEN the book was stolen! Yes, there is a real life “book thief” that thought this book looked good enough to take! I think that’s a huge recommendation in itself!! I contacted Blogging for Books, and they kindly sent me another copy to finish reading! Thank you, Blogging for Books 🙂

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

What a beautiful story of sharing beauty!

“Beauty matters… God gave us flowers for a reason. I think so we’d pay attention to the details of creation and remember to trust Him in all things big or little, no matter what the challenge. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment have a piece of paradise right here on earth. God offers healing through flowers and brings us closer to Him.” –Hulda Klager

Where Lilacs Still Bloom is an historical fiction book based on the life of German immigrant, Hulda Klager. She is a farm wife with only an eighth grade education, but she sees plants, especially flowers, as they could be with “bigger blooms, hardier stalks, richer color, and finer fragrance.” Her father first sees her passion and encourages her. “Don’t deny the dreams. They’re a gift given to make your life full. Accept them. Reach for them. We are not here just to endure hard time until we die. We are here to live, to serve, to trust, and to create out of our longings.” Hulda tries to balance her love and commitment to her husband and four kids while she quietly strives toward her first goal of a better apple. However she realized that dreams are better when shared and there begins an amazing story of faith and family, losses and restoration… and a lilac with twelve petals.

I really enjoyed this book by Jane Kirkpatrick. She let us know right up front which characters where historical and which where there to let the readers see Hulda’s humble character, her compassion for people, and her pleasure at freely sharing her knowledge and her plants. There was so much in this book – beauty, pain, joy, loss with many lessons or advice tucked in between the stories told…

Life lessons: “God knew that we’d need beauty and fragrance to help us through the difficult days so He gave us flowers and let us learn on our own how their cycle of living and dying is like a garden rhythm, giving us hope each spring.”

Marriage advice: “A husband needs his partner to take pleasure in his interests, to know that he provides. Her generosity of spirit adds to his confidence and to her own security.”

Parenting advice: Kids need to know “that their parents love each other. The best gift we could ever give them… That and a good time with us all together in one place.”

Now enjoy an amazing story and be inspired to plant, cultivate, and nurture plants AND people in your life!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books, Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher’s book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

The summary on the back of the book is on target, but the story is so much more. 

Yes, Libby is comfortable in her life, but she’s not really in a good situation. She can not read and feels very inferior because of this. She seeks refuge in her painting and in loving her niece. Her sister-in-law is constantly throwing verbal barbs, which Libby endures just to spend time with her niece. She does her best to see the positives around her, but she’s walked all over by her father and not appreciated, except for the detailed drawings she does for his inventions. There is a side-story involving of his inventions and some missing drawings. (That was a smooth addition and I did not see the conclusion at all! Shocking!)

Michael comes to America to claim a house that was left to him by his uncle many years ago. This also happens to be Libby’s father’s house. The issue will be decided in court, but there is also a mystery in the uncle’s will. While waiting for their time in court, Libby takes them food and helps out when the stores of the town will not even sale to them. This is angers her father and shocks the towns folks, who think they are being supportive of Libby’s family. During this time Libby gets to know Michael and his family. She sees that not all men are like her father. She is amazed at how Michael adores, teaches and has patience with his sons. Her loyalties and relationships are tested and choices are made. However she also becomes more confident in her God-given value wether or not any man loves her.

However, Michael’s sister, Lady Mirela is a story of her own and adds another layer to this book. It is a beautiful account of finding meaning in life after enduring brutal actions that changed she life and future plans completely. I loved this character and felt the most for her. Her story was more than just icing on the cake. I really believe that this novel wouldn’t of been as good without it.

I do not usually notice things that don’t fit in a historical fiction book. However, on page 94 the statement about “the separation of church and state” would not fit in this time period. The phrase “wall of separation between the church and the state” was written originally by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. It wouldn’t have been used incorrectly or at all during the book’s time period, as it is now days.

Overall, I enjoyed The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden with the many layered storyline and the strong characters. Why don’t you check it out while I seek out more of this author’s books.

Disclosure: I received the book free from Bethany House Book Reviewers’ program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Audrey and her now sober father have recently moved back to his family home on Bridal Veil Island, Georgia. Some wealthy men are buying up the rest of the island to build a resort. The resort appears to be an answer to prayer to help them save their home. Then in comes trouble, or so Audrey thinks, in the construction contractor Marshall Graham, the son of her father’s former drinking buddy. When “accidents” start happening around the construction site both Audrey and Marshall wonder who can they trust and what are God’s plans for them. This is book 1 of the Bridal Veil Island series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.

With the combination of mystery, romance, drama – To Have and To Hold never had a dull moment. With a diverse range of characters from a cranky southern-to-the-core “aunt” to a widowed doctor – Peterson and Miller had a lot of personalities to combine for conflict, drama, friendship, and romance. Some of the novel, like the romance, was pretty predictable, but I’m not sure how that could have been changed since we were seeing the story through both of their eyes. The suspense around the construction site filled the story out and will give the book a broader range of interested readers. Also, there were enough twists and turns, enough misunderstandings and stubborn personalities to keep it interesting and charming. Honestly I’ve always cared more about the story than about the historical accuracy. Since reading this book, I’ve read more about the work that goes into making these stories fit the time period and I am impressed!

Disclosure: I received the book free from Bethany House Book Reviewers’ program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.