Thursday, October 29, 2015

On This Foundation

This is the third and last installment of The Restoration Chronicles, by Lynn Austin.  This story is about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  Beginning with the petition by Nehemiah to King Artaxerxes to return to his homeland and supervise the rebuilding of the walls (Nehemiah 2:5).  God is mighty and he moves Artaxerxes to grant Nehemiah's petition.  The story moves forward from there with the king even writing letters to the kings of the region, to let Nehemiah get all the wood he needs from the forest in the region to rebuild.
Ms. Austin fills in the small details of daily routine and gives life to the characters as Nehemiah sets out to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.  As Nehemiah approaches Jerusalem, you feel his elation at seeing his city, but also his disappointment at the sight of it laying in ruin.  "...Jerusalem, city of his ancestors, lay below him.  His breath caught at the wonder of it--and also at the desolation of it.  Piles of rubble and burnt stones lay scattered everywhere."  
This novel, based on Biblical events, draws a compelling picture of the opposition that Nehemiah and his workers are up against when Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem get wind of it; they set out to stop the construction.  The author gives an excellent depiction of God's work in favor of Nehemiah and the faithful when they are able to stop the attacks and finish the rebuilding.
This is a well written book and a fitting end to the series.  Lynn Austin is a bestselling author and and eight-time Christy award winner for her historical novels.  Her books have sold more than one million copies worldwide.  The first two installments in this series are Return to Me and Keepers of the Covenant.   These books take the reader from the beginning of the return of the Jews from exile, to the finish of rebuilding Jerusalem.  I read the second installment but not the first.  I plan to read it and I recommend that you read the series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Murder at the Courthouse

A.H. Gabhart pens a new story in the Hidden Springs Mysteries series.  The story begins with a dead man propped up on the courthouse steps, first thing in the morning before there is any stirring in the little town of Hidden Springs, Ky.  The body is found by Miss Willadean Dearmon as she approaches the courthouse to make her daily round of the offices there to make sure her duly elected officials are at work and using her tax dollars wisely.  She passes by thinking the dead man is drunk and rude, not speaking to her.  No clue on her part that he is dead.  A drunk on the courthouse steps is her first complaint of the day.  You can imagine what happens when she insists that the Sheriff go out there and do something about that!
As the story unfolds, they determine he has been shot in the back and begin to conjecture about who could have caused his death.  As the Sheriff works to identify the man and find the perpetrator, a mystery begins to unravel.  Of course I will not tell you who "dunnit."  I am no spoiler.  As you read you will see several characters that could have done the murder.  The disappearance of a prominent member of the community makes it look like that person may have committed the act, as well as others who seem to behave suspiciously.  It does have a surprise ending, because you may not suspect who the killer is and the unwanted strings that tie these people together.
This novel is well written.  That is because the words flow from page to page and the story is interesting.  It makes it easy to read.  The grammar and sentence structure add to the quality of the work.  It's all good.  It is a light read and as I have said in the past, a light read is sometimes exactly what you need to relax with.  This could be considered a cozy mystery but it has too much depth and enough character development to take it out of that genre. I enjoyed it and recommend you give it a shot!  Get that?  Give it a shot?  Anyway, I give Murder at the Courthouse five stars!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
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