Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#REVIEW: Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

Title: Keepers of the Covenant
Series:Restoration Chronicles #2
Author:  Lynn Austin
Published Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Format: paperback
Pages: 480
ISBN: 9780764208997
Genre: biblical fiction
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Bethany House

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Synopsis: In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.
In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I have really started to love biblical fiction. I've found that it fleshes out the dry old stories that we get from the Bible and brings a fresh, new perspective to the stories. From Tosca Lee's Iscariot and Legend of Sheba to the Wives of the Patriarch's series by Jill Eileen Smith and now to Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin, I have absolutely loved every single one of these. This year is the first year that I am attempting to read the Bible in its entirety, and yes, sometimes I make snarky comments about it (though I do hold it in the utmost reverence!).I've found it to be very dry and hard to understand at times, even with my NIV translation, and the people sometimes are very two dimensional.
This book takes one of the more emotionally difficult parts of the Bible, after the People of God have broken their covenant with God, and been exiled, now this is the second wave of the return to Jerusalem. I find that when I read this book, I could understand and empathize with the people and Ezra, that they weren't just abstract people on a flimsy page of a Bible on my shelf or by my bed.
The author has done a wonderful job of fleshing these people out, and getting behind their motives. What I didn't understand was the end situation that held the most suspense for me, the issue behind the pagan wives. Now, while they were exiled in Babylon, there was a time where they were encouraged by Jeremiah to set down roots in Babylon, to stop grieving, to take wives and husbands of the native people. And yet, that is being rescinded. That did confuse me a bit, I was surprised no one ever brought that up as an argument in the book.

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