Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: "Love Amid the Ashes" by Mesu Andrews

Summary from BN.com: Readers often think of Job sitting on the ash heap, his life in shambles. But how did he get there? What was Job's life like before tragedy struck? What did he think as his world came crashing down around him? And what was life like after God restored his wealth, health, and family?

Through painstaking research and a writer's creative mind, Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of this well-known story told through the eyes of the women who loved him. Drawing together the account of Job with those of Esau's tribe and Jacob's daughter Dinah, Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.

I'm one of those readers who is a big fan of biblical fiction because I love seeing familiar names from the Bible being fleshed out. As long as the author does their research and does not make the characters do anything that would go against their custom, I love learning more about the culture and time period. With a novel, it'd difficult to use footnotes to show what you've done in your research but Mesu Andrews does include a lengthy author's note to talk about the books she read and the people she talked with to make sure this book was authentic.

In this book, the story is about Job with a twist...Dinah, Jacob's daughter is involved. I love books that feature her because i feel she gets really neglected, being the only daughter with 12 brothers. The author explains how it all fits because time wise, they were probably existing around the same time, which normally I don't think of because Job placed in the Bible after all the kings and downfall of Israel, but really chronologically it's in the same time frame as around the patriarchs.

Job's story is always one that people seem to relate to over and over again. This time, we don't see things from God's point of view and it's stripped down to just Job's pain and anguish that we read about. It's really interesting because even though he doesn't curse God out to his face, he is very angry and very much in pain. That is much better than what I've seen of him portrayed in my old Sunday School classes, where he's covered in boils and sores and smiling. Seriously. His situation with his wife was most fascinating to read about as well as it adds extra drama and tension to the story.

There were a few scenes that seemed to drag on a bit. This is Andrews first novel and it shows sometimes as dialogue seems to become repetitive and several scenes just felt like they were going on forever. Overall though, it's an interesting read and a different take on the familiar story. In case there is anyone who is worried about the story being sacrilegious and offensive to the original scriptures, don't fear. It's just a great way to learn more about these familiar characters and ponder what life really was like for them. I hope Andrews takes on more familiar Bible stories in the future and puts her unique spin on them.

Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

4 comments:

  1. I have never read a book based on biblical fiction...sounds a good read...

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  2. Great review-I love these fleshed out Bible stories and this one looks really good. I'm most interested to see Dinah and Job interact.

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  3. My mom absolutely loved this book. She stole it from me to review. :)

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  4. I cannot WAIT for Love's Sacred Song...so happy to have an author like Mesu writing such thought-provoking biblical fiction!

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