Devastation, Distractions And Direction
Where We Belong by Lynn Austin is a marvellous Christian historical novel that I could not get enough of. It is based on fact. Lynn Austin has woven a fabulous tale that educates, informs and entertains.
The novel alternates between 1890 and 1860 moving forwards. The action is seen from four different viewpoints, with the result that the reader becomes intimately acquainted with the main characters. We understand their motivations as they explode from 2D into glorious 3D Technicolour in our minds.
The leading ladies are sisters, fearless, forward thinking young women. Pioneers of their time. Their hearts and lives are fully focused on Jesus. They present themselves as His hands and feet to a hurting world. “The Almighty has given us so much, and I have to try to make a difference.” Their riches are not their possessions, their riches are their faith in God. “God gives us wealth so we can use it to build His kingdom, not our own.”
A heart for the poor leads the sisters into some scrapes that both horrify and bring applause from the reader.
A social conscience and a heart for the lost and the hurting propel the sisters into action. “Someone had to try to reach these young people before they were lost forever.”
There is an appetite for learning. Learning brings freedom and choice. The sisters risk isolation as they are not content with being social butterflies. With a desire to be educated, they risk being shunned by polite society which views educated women as ‘bluestockings’ and not attractive to men. Men at that time wanted subservient women. Women were expected to make marriage alliances for wealth rather than for love.
The novel has the themes of forgiveness and new life. We need to forgive and be forgiven because God tells us to. No one is ever too bad for God’s family. We are all accepted by grace. We cannot earn it. We cannot lose it. Grace is a free gift. As we come to God, He gives us new life and a new name. Name changes in the story are important as they signify new beginnings.
There is a huge element of faith in the novel. “Trust Him and wait.” There is a belief that God has a purpose for each and every one of us. We need to seek our purpose in Him. “She had found her purpose at last.”
So strong is their faith, that no matter what happens the sisters put their trust in God. The reader is reminded of Daniel and the fiery furnace – our God will deliver us but even if He doesn’t, we will still trust Him. Praise Him in the good and the bad. Have an attitude of worship at all times.
The reader travels from Chicago to London to Paris, Italy, Cambridge, the Holy Land – all from the confines of their sofa. We ‘experience’ historical events and see how ordinary lives are impacted.
Where We Belong was one of the best novels I have ever read – and I have read a lot! I was educated, entertained and inspired. I cannot wait to read more by the marvellous Lynn Austin.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.