Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review - A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers


One of my favorite books is A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. Let me explain why. When I decided to focus seriously on my writing I started reading almost everything I could get my hands on. I came upon a book I had purchased years ago at a writers' conference from one of my favorite authors. I met her at the conference, but had never read the book. Though she'd been a very successful romance writer, she'd changed her writing to not just romance, but inspirational romance. At the time I wasn't interested, but after changing the focus of my writing to inspirational I now was. From page one the book pulls you into the story breathing life and feeling not only into the characters, but also the setting and storyline.

The opening page is a heading: Jerusalem. Here's the opening sentence as the book starts: "The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles." Now for those with delicate sensibilities this may have been a bit off putting, but for me I was hooked. Questions popped into my mind. What battle had thousands of bodies laying in the street? And how does this fit into inspirational romance? Yes, I realize the setting Jerusalem gives you an idea of how the inspiration will be directed, but how in the world would dead bodies fold into the mix? Needless to say I read on anxious to have my questions answered and to find out who the heroine was.

Hard to believe, but Rivers ratchets up the tension. You learn that sixty thousand legionnaires are waiting to gut the city of God, so, of course, the heroine is a Jewish woman who loses her family in the fight and is in danger of losing her life. But Hadassah is only one character in the book. After bringing the reader into the story, Rivers then switches gears and sends you to Germania as the warrior, Atretes, goes to battle against Romans and is eventually captured and sold to become a gladiator. What a scene! All the time I'm reading about him, I'm wondering how his story will tie into Hadassah's.

The next section heading: Rome. Here we meet Marcus Valerian, the son of a wealthy shipping magnet, whose father buys Hadassah as a slave for his wife. Okay, now I'm hopeful the romance will be between Marcus and Hadassah, but what about Atretes?

Rivers is a powerful writer who does justice to the epic story of how the Jews were slaughtered by the Romans and how desperate the conditions were for those left alive. She utilizes all five senses as she shows (not tells) the story making you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell this gritty world of polluted politics, bloody games, and forbidden love. Certainly not a book for the faint of heart, but a riveting, heart-thumping tale that brings the era to life.

I must admit I was a little upset by the cliffhanger ending, however, the publisher did a wonderful thing by adding the first chapter of the sequel. Smart strategy for I was excited for the next book, which I'll review next Friday.

(This book is published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. I freely purchased the book and have no ties financially to its success.)

4 comments:

  1. Very intriguing. I'll have to pick that up. Thanks for sharing this with me. (BTW, I think that opening line is amazing!)

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  2. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. I was pulled right into the story. If you like that opening line, I think you'll like the book. :)

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  3. That's a terrific opening line on the book ... the kind that sucks a reader right in.

    Thanks for sharing. I think maybe I'll go practice writing first lines now. :)

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  4. Cindy, it makes me want to re-examine mine, too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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