A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
(From Top 10 all time favourite books and why)
About the book
“The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.” With this opening sentence, A Voice in the Wind transports readers back to Jerusalem during the first Jewish-Roman War, some seventy years after the death of Christ. Following the prides and passions of a group of Jews, Romans, and Barbarians living at the time of the siege, the narrative is centered on an ill-fated romance between a steadfast slave girl, Hadassah, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a handsome aristocrat.
After surviving the massacre of her family and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Hadassah is captured and sold to a well-to-do merchant’s family. Brought to Rome, she is pressed into service as a personal slave to hedonistic Julia Valerian. Hadassah struggles to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to treat her masters in a manner in keeping with His teachings, but she is forced to keep her religious identity a secret in order to survive.
Confused and alone, she has only her faith to cling to as she tries to subtly bring God into the lives of her captors. Reckless, impulsive, and villainous, Julia tries to undermine Hadassah at every turn. But Julia’s brother, Marcus, is a different sort altogether. Is it possible for a love between Hadassah and Marcus to flourish considering not only their differing stations in life but also the gap between Hadassah’s unrelenting faith and Marcus’ lack of belief in anything? Simultaneously, Atretes, a captured soldier from Germania, is forced to become a gladiator. This is the time of Rome’s decline and the decadence of a civilization on the verge of self-destruction serves as a powerful backdrop to the Barbarian’s struggle for survival in the arena.
This was the first Christian fiction that I had read and I was blown away. Francine definitely knows how to write a book that you can’t wait to see what happens next! Francine also quickly became one of my favourite fiction authors to read, especially Christian fiction.
She must have done so much research for this book and it paid off. Her explanation of Rome at that point and all the surroundings helped me to feel like I was there watching it all unfold. I felt fear for the main character and I really hoped that she would be able to find love even in the impossible situation she found herself in.
Her faith was rooted inside her heart and I loved how it was woven through the story. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and I bit my nails almost to the point that I had none left. Brilliant book!
An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers
About the book
A prosperous trader, Marcus Lucianus Valerian has made a fortune providing sand and slaves for the Roman games. But Hadassah, a slave in his family’s household, has enchanted him with her quiet beauty and her staunch faith in Christ. When Marcus’ sister sends Hadassah to almost certain death in the games, Marcus feels that his life has been ripped apart. Now he is on his way to Jerusalem to find out more about Hadassah’s god, unaware that a miracle awaits him back in Rome.
The political intrigue of the imperial city provides a dramatic backdrop for Marcus’ spiritual quest. This rich and unforgettable work achieves even greater impact through Richard Ferrone’s dramatic narration.
I couldn’t just read the first one and not see what happens. That would be madness! You continue to see the relationship between Hadassah and Marcus. My heart almost broke in this book. I had to read it with a box of tissues.
What made it even worse to read this is the fact that the details that Francine describes vividly in connection with the Roman Games, actually happened in real life in that era. Christians were thrown to lions in an arena! It made me sad to think about that fact.
Just like the first book though, this one was equally brilliant! Francine is a very good storyteller.
As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers
About the book
The third installment in the Mark of the Lion trilogy.
Following A Voice in the Wind and An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure as the Dawn continues the chronicles of Hadassah, a Christian slave woman living during the height of the Roman Empire. She has saved the life of the scorned child of a disreputable Roman woman and the Germanic gladiator, Atretes. For her faith, Hadassah now languishes in condemnation, awaiting death in a dungeon beneath the arena. Atretes, who holds fast to his dreams of revenge for the slaughter of his people, wants his son back. So he seeks out John the Baptist, who is the key to finding the custodian of his son, and brings his war-weary soul closer to redemption.
This was the third and final book in this series and I mean…Wow! Talk about a brilliant ending. This series had me so engrossed that I struggled to let it go when it was done. Francine Rivers definitely makes you think in her stories. You feel all the emotions and all the sad, adventurous and romantic things happening in the book.
I felt this series down to my core and I will most definitely read many more of her books in the future! I have also read The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers and like with this series, I was blown away! I would recommend this series to anyone that likes this type of genre.
I gave all three books in this series a 5/5 star rating.
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