Valeria's Cross by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales
Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Format: Paperback, 383 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
(Received as a gift from one of the authors)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
In the 3rd century, pampered Roman princess Valeria falls in love with Mauritius, captain of the Theban Legion. She sends him off to battle, where he suffers under the schemes of a notorious pagan general with an ambition for power and a lust for Valeria. In a scene based on true events, the evil Galerius kills Mauritius and his entire legion for their Christian faith. And in a shocking turn of events, the grieving Valeria is forced to become Galerius' wife against her will. Never has a marriage been set up for such failure. Valeria loathes her new husband, but he seems to undergo a change of heart, adopting a child for her and giving her power and authority, and even love. She struggles with the commitment she knows she must keep, and the love she knows she will never find again.
When I first heard about this book I was excited to get it because I am a big fan of one of the authors, Kathi Macias. I had reviewed two books from Kathi's Extreme Devotion series earlier in the year and was awaiting the third for review in the next couple of months. I perchance made a comment on a blog and mentioned how much I loved Kathi's writing and couldn't wait to read, Valeria's Cross. Kathi saw the comment and sent a copy shortly after that.
Being a former history major I was interested to see how the authors would tell the story of one of the greatest persecutions of the Christian faith ever recorded. The story is told through the eyes of Valeria, the daughter of Diocletian, Emperor of the Roman Empire. Diocletian is thought to have orchestrated a great persecution of Christian's in the 3rd century.
Valeria who has become a Christian herself, falls in love with Mauritius a soldier and is devastated when he along with the rest of his legion are killed because they refuse to participate in sacrificing to pagan Gods. Valeria's father then decides to give Valeria in marriage to the very man who killed her love, Galerius a ruthless general. Galerius will stop at nothing to win Valeria's love even giving her child to adopt. Despite Valeria's feelings she begins to see Galerius differently and comes to love him. She knows she must honor her commitment to him and God gives her the ability to do that.
There are so many things that I liked about this book. It is Historical and Christian fiction mixed into one great novel. Not only do we see the persecution of Christian's and how they stood up for what they believed even to the point of martyrdom, but we also see one woman's struggle in her own Christian life to hold true to her faith. Valeria's strength and grace reminded me of how I hope that could have acted under the same circumstances. This was a marriage that was fated to fail. How could she have a loving marriage with the man who killed her first love? With a man who could choose to kill her if she shared her faith with him?
This book drove home the point to me that every day is a battle. It's not just on the battle fields that people face temptations and troubles. It reminded me that I may not understand how God is working in my life, I just have to have faith that he is, and that he doesn't make mistakes. It also reiterated to me the need to pray for those people in my life who don't know Christ, from family members to my neighbors. This book was uplifting and reminded me of the importance of showing God's love in my life. It's a book that will keep you thinking long after you put it down. Not only is it interesting from a historical aspect, but it's a book that will make you feel something. If I always think that if an author can make feel they have really accomplished something, whatever the emotion.
Valaria's cross is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Susan Wales is the author of several books including Standing on the Promises, Social Graces, The Pleasure of Your Company, Faith in God and Generals, and The Replacement, which she co-wrote with Robin Shope. Susan is married to Hollywood producer Ken Wales. They live in Pacific Palisades, California.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.