Sunday, February 4, 2018

Judah's Wife is a Reminder to be Faithful

New York Times bestselling author Angela Hunt brings readers back to "the silent years" in the Bible. Judah's Wife is set approximately 160 years before Jesus' birth.

Judah Maccabees is the 4th of five sons.  Their father, Matthias, is a descendant of Judah. Due to the King's decree all the people are commanded to worship false idols. Judah's family resolves to leave Jerusalem because they want to remain faithful to Adonai and will not worship man-made images.

A native of Jerusalem, Leah grew up in an abusive home. Her father often and repeatedly beat her mother and was verbally abusive to his daughter. When it's arranged that she marry Judah she sees her marriage as a way out and longs for it to bring her peace.

 Over the course of the story, Leah's character goes through a great deal of personal growth and change. When Judah and his brothers go to war to follow the laws of Moses rather than conform to the Syrian rule, she becomes resentful. Over time, she supports his decision to go to war and realizes she "married an unusual man, and humility was one of his rare qualities. He seemed to be content no matter where he was, in the goat pen or on the battlefield." (Hunt, 264-265).

Ms. Hunt has a unique way of telling a story. Judah's Wife was divided into 4 parts and the chapters alternate between Judah and Leah's points of view.

What really struck me was the lengths that Judah and his family were willing to go in order to remain faithful and steadfast to God. Even to the point where they were willing to die.
It caused me to closely examine my own faith.

~~ Judah's Wife was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, for which I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone ~~

From Songster to School Teacher

Saloon singer Miss Louisa Bell a.k.a. Lovely Lola loses her job at the Cat-Eye.  Desperate for work, she makes a spur-of- the-moment decision to visit her brother Bradley, a Calvary soldier in Indian Territory who happens to be in some hot water with his commanding officer. Her trip to Fort Reno is two-fold; to help her younger sibling and to seek employment.

Major Daniel Adams is a widower juggling the responsibility of overseeing a fortress of troops and the upbringing of his two growing daughters. Hiring a governess seems like the perfect solution. It will appease his persistent in-laws and see that his girls receive a proper education.

Upon her arrival Louisa is mistaken for the governess. Not intentionally trying to deceive the family she takes on the new role because she needs the job. After all, she was accustomed to a crowd of rowdy hard could two playful girls be? Louisa soon finds out how wrong she is.

Daniel "[considers] Miss Bell a mystery and makes it his business to know everything about everything in his territory." (Jennings, 133). Initially he's skeptical as to her qualifications as a governess and gives her one week to prove herself.

The more time Louisa spends with the family she realizes that she relishes the respectable life, but feels unworthy because of her past.  Will Daniel accept her once he learns? Falling in love with Major Adams and being quite literally swept off her feet was the last thing she expected.

After being a widower for a decade, Daniel finds himself attracted to Louisa because of her character and the way she 'tutors' his children. Their romance develops through daily meals, deep discussions, and competitive chess games.

The cover art for Holding the Fort was creative and humorous, much like the story. In Louisa's stack of books one cover reads 'How to Salute' and in the spine of the book she's seen clutching a cannon ball behind her back.

Coming to the last page of Holding the Fort I closed the book with a satisfied sigh and a smile.
I look forward to more stories in Ms. Jennings Fort Reno series.

~~ Holding the Fort was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, with no requirement to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. ~~