During the month of July I read 3 books. I know most of you are reading 3 books a week, but my little heart is just happy that I have managed to stumble back into something I have always enjoyed and yet somehow stopped doing!
The one good thing that came out of COVID is that I’ve managed to rediscover my love for books.
This month I tackled: When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent, Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon and The Sea Before Us by Saran Sundin.
When I Lay My Isaac Down was a very thoughtful gift from Naomi Rogers, a dear friend of mine. I had mentioned to her that I heard Carol Kent speak at a writer’s conference I attended on-line and was so moved by Carol’s story. Naomi heard my words and gifted me the book so generously.
This book outlines eight transformational power principles Gene and Carol Kent learned in the process of facing the news that forever changed their lives: their twenty-five-year-old son, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with an impeccable military record, shot and killed his wife’s ex-husband.
This book forever changed the way I will think about hope and faith and most of all community.
The book starts with this quote from Eric Liddell:
“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.”
Carol tells her personal story explaining the loss she and her husband felt. She tells of her melted pride, her destroyed agenda and a heart sacrifice that she never dreamed she would have to make. With each step she reminds us that God is always in the middle of each circumstance whether we recognize Him or not.
Each chapter tells the story of what Carol and her husband learned along this journey and ends with discussion questions that would make this book a very interesting Bible study.
This is a convicting story of hope….not in our lives and personal goals, but in the God who is always working out His plan of love.
I also found it interesting to read the comments that people made to the Kent’s out of ignorance and how unfeeling it would seem to the person going through such loss. I have personally always struggled to say the “right” thing. It was so helpful to see the other perspective. I loved seeing the examples of how friends and family could minister in such creative ways.
One last thought. I LOVED the example of Abraham and what God asked of him when God asked him to “lay his Issac down.” What a wonderful thread that tied her whole story together.
Thank you, Carol Kent, for your wonderful testimony and inspiring all of us in so many different paths.
Who should read this? This book is good for all those who want to be challenged past their comfortable walk with Jesus. It is also great for those who are experiencing the pain of disappointment and loss. It isn’t a hard read, but it is a heart read.
Where the Lost Wander By Amy Harmon
In 1853, newly widowed Naomi May sets out for the West with her family on the Oregon Trail which is filled with hardship, danger, and loss. During this travel she meets John Lowry. As the journey progresses and becomes more harrowing, they grow closer but their relationship is tested in intense and emotional ways.
After you have read a few of my book reviews it will become clear to you that Historical Fiction is definitely my favorite genre to read. This book did not disappoint. This book is filled with wonderful historical details and is really quite beautifully written. As a bonus the author gives notes at the end with extraordinary details of her own family history and what inspired this story.
This is definitely a love story, however, there is hardship and loss and survival that makes you keep turning page after page. I loved the characters and found myself cheering their loves and mourning their losses.
I loved learning more about Native American culture and giving myself time to consider how certain actions would have made them feel. I have always felt that pioneers did so many of them wrong. Looking back, we have made serious mistakes with other races and nationalities time after time. This is another book that will make you think about those actions.
I’m sure we will never know exactly how difficult the early pioneers had it when they traveled across America on the Oregon trail, but this book gives you a wonderful painting of what that could have been like.
My one negative is that the book began with a Prologue that was a serious spoiler so I kept reading the book anticipating the one big event. I wonder what it would be like to skip the prologue and just read from Chapter One? If I could go back and do that over, I would.
Warnings: There are several passages that are quite difficult to read. There is violence, massacres, a rape as well as other things. If you are sensitive to those things this is not a book for you.
The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France – including those of her own family’s summer home – in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.
As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.
This is Book #1 in a series SUNRISE AT NORMANDY. Of the three books I read this month, this was the easiest, fastest read. Hmmm. maybe it was an easy read because I enjoyed the story so much?
The story is well done. The characters drew me in and I was fascinated by the back story of both of the main characters which led to the reason they would act and react the way they did. In spite of that, they were lovable and I wanted them to be able to get past the mistakes they had each made individually and bask in the forgiveness of God!
Sarah writes with just the right amount of detail. You can lean into the time period and facts about the war and military so that the words paint an incredible picture. I loved the new British phrases I learned as well as the quirkiness of the cute Texan! I also loved thinking about all the backstory of preparations for D-Day about procedures I had never even given thought about.
If you are looking for a book that is a light romantic read with a touch of history thrown in or love books set in WWII. Then, I think this book is for you.
In case you wondered? I will be ordering the next two books in the series. I mean, we all need a little light romance read every once and awhile don’t we?
Warning: There are some mentions of premarital relationships.
That is it for this month. I hope you are reading. I know that it isn’t a past time that some enjoy, but it is so good for you! Will you try to read any of these?
Until next time,