Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Revell Books
Genre: Christian Fiction/Biblical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 411pp
(Received for review from Revell Books)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound
Mesu Andrews on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter
Excerpt from Love Amid the Ashes
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
AN EPIC STORY OF LOVE AND FORGIVENESS, SUFFERING AND RESTORATION
When her beloved grandfather Isaac dies, Dinah must foll his final command: travel to Job's household to marry his son. After Job's world comes crashing down, Dinah finds herself drawn to this great man brought law. What will she risk to fight for his survival?
Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of Job and Dinah. Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.
Mesu Andrews' debut novel, Love Amid the Ashes is a stirring retelling of the Biblical account of Job, one of the oldest and well remembered stories in the Bible. Andrews' ability to breathe life into her characters and vitality into an age old story makes this a must read for any Christian Fiction reader. This emotionally charged story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
Dinah lives a solitary life as the nursemaid for her grand-father Isaac. She knows that due to the horrible circumstances of her past she will probably never marry. But when Isaac dies, his last wish is that Dinah travel to the household of a kinsmen, Job and marry his son. With a brighter future ahead, Dinah travels to meet her new husband. Tragedy strikes, as Dinah's future husband dies and his father Job, looses everything he has ever dreamed of, His family, his wealth, even his own health. Once again Dinah becomes a nursemaid only this time to Job. As she watches his suffering she begins to realize how much faith Job has in God and that he is willing to give up everything for it. Could she have such a faith as this? How would it change her life?
Mesu Andrews brings Christian Fiction readers a remarkable retelling of the story of Job. Job was said to be a man after God's own heart. He thought so much of him that he bragged about how good and faithful he was to the devil. It reminds me somewhat of a grandparent showing off pictures of their grandchildren in a way. "Have you seen my grandson, Timmy? He is the smartest and most handsome boy you'll ever meet."
God was obviously really proud of Job and knew that he would be able to stand up to anything the devil threw at him. Andrews' book goes into detail about Job's suffering and how he coped with everything that happened to him, but I thought one of the most interesting parts of the book, was the backstory. How Job lived before all the calamities struck him, what his life was like, how drastically it changed. I really enjoyed finding out what Job might have been like as a man.
I find myself really enjoying Biblical fiction. These are the stories I grew up with and know by heart, yet I don't think I had as much appreciation for them as I do after reading books like Love Amid the Ashes. I think the author did such a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life and making them seem real. I often feel like the Biblical accounts are more like historical texts, where you don't get the essence of who the people were and what they really went through. Not that makes them any less important, just less entertaining. Mesu Andrews' however, gives these characters life. She lets us know what they may have been feeling. Can you imagine how Dinah must have felt, she has a new chance at love and family and it's taken from her in a split second. Or what must have been going through Job's mind as he tried to figure out what in the world he had done?
Dinah's character is very compelling. The reasons Dinah was made a nursemaid to Isaac are enough to make anyone sympathetic to her plight. She was raped and used by a man who said he loved her, yet he forced himself upon her. In retaliation her brothers lied to the man and his father when he came to claim her for his wife and then they murdered all the men in the village out of vengeance for what happened to their sister. Not only was she abused, she had to face the fact that no one would want her now and she would probably lead a life of seclusion and never have a family of her own. Yet her faith was strong and she was able to understand that God had something else in mind for her. I loved her faith and her strength and I thought her character really stood out in this book. The book may have been about Job, but readers will find themselves drawn to Dinah and her story.
Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Mesu Andrews is a speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word. Andrews brings the biblical world alive for her readers in this debut novel. She lives in Washington.