Archive for the ‘Angela Hunt’ Tag

Review of Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt   Leave a comment

 

Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

 

***

 

After reading the first book in Angela Hunt’s Silent Years series, I waited with eager anticipation for the next in the series. In the second book of the Silent Years, Angela Hunt takes us back to the time of the Maccabees and their heroic struggle to follow their faith.

I had high hopes for this book, and initially it started out strong enough. Leah, the wife of Judah, has lived for years with an abusive father. So when she is offered in marriage to Judah, she hopes she can finally escape the violence that has plagued her entire life, and have peace. Judah proves to be nothing like her father, instead being a kind man willing to stand up for his family and faith. When events take a drastic turn, however, Leah struggles to love and trust Judah as he becomes the leader of the bloody revolt against Antiochus IV. Judah is a reluctant hero, a man forced into a role which he never asked for, but follows out of his desire to obey God and not repeat the mistakes of his ancestors. But in choosing to follow God’s lead, he risks losing the woman he loves.

Angela Hunt does a great job bringing her characters to life. Even secondary characters stand strong in the story. But there are some issues.

When it comes to the romance part, Hunt tends to skim over it. To her credit, she did a better job in this book than the last, but it still felt rushed and pushed aside to make room for the rest of the story. Mainly, the Maccabees’ struggle. Which brings me to another issue, and that is including too much history and not enough story. Angela Hunt’s goal is telling you the historical events of the Maccabees. That means fleshing out certain elements is going to be minimal, and that is how the interaction between Judah and Leah was. While there are pauses every now and then when she halts history to focus on the characters themselves and how events challenge them, she quickly moves on.

Leah, honestly, got on my nerves more than once. I understand when you live in an abusive household for your entire life, you can’t just open up and give love out. However, her mother is the one who takes the brunt of the abuse for her. Like 99% of it. Leah’s reaction? Scorn because her mother did not fight back or do anything. Zero gratitude for what her mother endured for her sake, until Judah’s mother pointed it out to her.

Next, she hated violence, so despite Judah being kind and gentle to her for several years, being a husband every woman would want to have, she becomes convinced he will start beating her once he becomes a warrior. So what does she do? Act like a spoiled brat and throw tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. I actually felt sorry for Judah and what he had to put up with.

I won’t spoil the end for all of you. Suffice it to say that I already knew how it would end since I know the history of Judah. But the way Angela did it was so abrupt, you end up feeling very disappointed once you’ve finished the book.

I did like how Leah’s thoughts and perceptions of God grew. She doubts in the beginning as to whether God hears her prayers after the repeated violence she has seen in her home, and questions whether he really has a plan for her. Then slowly, she finally comprehends the destiny He has for her life and His love for her.

If we could have focused more on her and her relationship with Judah, the story would have been better (as well as some maturity on her part). As it is, while it starts out with a strong beginning, it loses pace pretty quick in favor of focusing on historical events over the characters and their relationship with each other.

Verdict: A semi-decent read that should please most enthusiasts of Biblical fiction, except those looking for more depth to a story and characters.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Review of The Assault (Harbingers)   Leave a comment

Cycle 2 of the Harbingers series continues the story of four gifted strangers brought together to fight a growing darkness.

In Bill Myers’s “The Revealing,” the team finds themselves in Rome trying to retrieve the mystical spear Hitler once owned–the very spear that pierced Christ’s side. This task will take them from hidden chambers inside the Vatican to a mysterious seaside cave with powers they could never expect.

Frank Peretti’s “Infestation” unleashes a microscopic evil on the world that deceives, blinds, kills, then spreads. The Harbingers team must confront a monster bent on seducing and destroying mankind.

In “Infiltration” by Angela Hunt, the team is wounded and barely holding together. Forced to split up, they realize their investigations have led them into dangerous waters.

Alton Gansky’s “The Fog” unleashes a supernatural mist unlike any other. There are vicious things in the fog that kill whatever they find. One team member realizes that the ultimate sacrifice may have to be made.

***

So this story was a little different than what I usually read. I’m not a fan of suspense (which is why there is probably only four other books like that in my collection) as I have found that with suspense, the author is so busy trying to create it that important things like character development and romance are neglected. But when I saw that this had a supernatural angle to it, I thought I would go ahead and give it a try, despite it being the second book in the series.

Bill Myer’s episode is what we begin with first, and starts us from the perspective of the tattoo artist, one of the four unique people this series revolves around (and no, they’re not even close to X-Men) who find themselves trying to find the spear that pierced Jesus’s side and end up in a house crazier than Wonderland. I could say it was because of just plunging right into the story without having read the first book that led to my initial dislike, but I would be lying. I just really don’t like Bill Myer’s writing. I have only read one other book by him, and what turned me off then turns me off now. A muddled plot that is really boring, poor character development, and, yes, it may be minor but still bugs me, one dirty word: p***.

After suffering through Myer’s part, I was praying really hard Peretti would not disappoint. And thank God, he didn’t. One thing he does, which a lot of people don’t do: write some solid character development. And he starts us with the crusty, ex-priest, atheist professor. Good writing and a plot that actually deserves the name “suspense” keep you turning those pages. And might I add, the element of faith was better presented too.

The third part is written my Angela Hunt (who I do like after reading her novel, Egypt’s Sister). It’s a bit of a lag after Frank Peretti’s engaging tale and an annoying professor you were silently rooting for. Andi, the professor’s assistant, is who we now focus on. Not bad, but still a drop from the previous part.

Fourth is by Alton Gansky who switches us to Tank, the Christian ex-football player, and a supernatural fog that invades the city. The story starts off slow, but builds up the further you go, and gives us a nice climatic scene at the end and a hero’s sacrifice.

After all was said and done, I actually did enjoy the story, minus Myer’s part. So I’ll continue to follow it. While it has its ups and downs, the premise and characters are engaging enough for me to want to continue. And the element of faith, though subtle, is a driving point for each character’s journey.

Verdict: Definitely not a must-have, but it’s a decent story for suspense lovers and those needing something to read.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt review   Leave a comment

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what–but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery. 

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life. 

As soon as I saw this book up for review, I immediately sent in my request. I have a love for biblical fiction, and reading the synopsis alone captured my attention. And yes, the great looking cover just enhanced the appeal.

We begin the story with Chava, daughter of the royal Jewish tutor, who becomes friends with Urbi, the girl one day destined to become the famed Queen Cleopatra. The story chronicles their friendship as children, up to Urbi’s rise to power.

I will admit, the first part of the story felt slow. While Chava is intended to be the main lead, we’re more often just narrated the events that occurred in Cleopatra’s life. And Cleopatra ending being the more interesting person you wanted to know more about when you watched her go from princess to Queen and married to her ten year old brother. Her war in a game of wits to stay ahead of her enemies ended up pulling your interest more than the spoiled Chava.

Chava holds onto the promise she received from HaShem one night “Your friendship with the queen lies in my hands. You will be with her on her happiest day and her last. And you, daughter of Israel, will know yourself, and you will bless her.”

To this end, she follows Cleopatra faithfully, to the point of refusing to marry out of the devotion to her friend. And yes, Chava was a touch clingy and possessive because of it.

But then Chava’s life takes an unexpected turn, and she goes from friend to one of the most powerful woman in the world to a slave struggling to stay alive. From there, we watch as Chava is stripped of everything: home, wealth, possessions, family. And left with nothing but the bitter taste of betrayal and a broken faith.

This where Angela Hunt begins the crafting of Chava’s story and her growth from a pampered and spoiled child with no care for the rest of the world, into a strong woman. Through all the hardships, and the brutality of first century BC, you see God’s hand upon her, guiding her to that one pivotal point in history she was destined for.

I will caution readers that there are some scenes that might be a little hard for those who are more sensitive to those things. The story does not dwell overmuch on them, but it’s enough for you to feel the impact of it.

The writing was excellent, and once we got over the first part, the character development picked up drastically. If you are looking for solid, well-researched Biblical fiction with strong emphasis on faith, then I highly recommend this book.

Verdict: Buy immediately.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

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