We Must NEVER Forget
Annelies by David Gillham is a powerful and
heart breaking historical ‘what-if’ novel – what if Anne Frank had survived and
returned to her father Otto Frank?
I have read widely around Anne Frank and
visited her house in Amsterdam in 1983. The novel has accurately been
constructed around her diary pre August 1944 and eye witness events up to her
death in March/April 1945. Post April 1945 is a product of the author’s
imagination. It is a compelling read, although the Anne Frank we ‘know’ from
her diary is very different to the fictional Anne Frank who returns from
Belsen. “This is Bergen Belsen, and here the angel of death has made his home.”
She has been to hell and back. She survived but carried a burden of guilt. “I’m
guilty of the crime of surviving.”
During the war years Anne Frank had had a difficult
relationship with her mother but adored her father. “As long as God and Pim are
on the job, she [I] was protected.” I cannot believe that the Anne Frank
portrayed after the war would feel so differently towards him.
Redemption And Restoration
Hands Of Grace by Brenda Anderson is a delightful
contemporary Christian novel surrounding grace, forgiveness and second chances.
It is part of the Potter’s House series of books but can be read as a
A focus of the novel is dementia. Brenda
Anderson has sensitively portrayed this whilst showing the difficulties faced
daily by those caring for their loved ones. “Nothing was tougher than watching
your loved ones lose themselves.” Patience and love radiates throughout.
Forgiveness and grace are major themes. “I’ve
done too much to be forgiven.” No one is ever so far from God that He casts
them out. No matter where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve done, God longs for
each and every one of us to return to Him. He longs to welcome us home. In Him
we can have a new beginning because of His free gift of grace.
There is the theme of trust. We develop trust
issues when people let us down. “One more person lying to her, building up her
bank of mistrust.” We do need to open ourselves up to trusting others again.
Not everyone we meet is out to deceive us. Some huge characters give out of the
goodness of their hearts.
A Precious Jewel
Taming Julia by Jodie Wolfe is a charming
historical novel set in 1875.
Jodie Wolfe has created a marvellous set of
characters. I loved the rough and ready leading lady who had a heart of gold
but needed educating in the ways of the world. There were many highly amusing
Knowing God is vital. “Once you get acquainted
with God… you’ll fall in love with Him and desire to serve Him.” God wants a
relationship with each and every one of us. He will keep knocking on the door
of our heart until we let Him in. Even when we do not know Him, He already
knows us intimately.
Prayer unlocks the power of the Almighty.
“Talking to God is the same as talking to you.” Prayer should be as natural as
breathing. We must be sure to listen for His answers. “When’s the last time you
were truly quiet and were able to hear God?” It is important to trust God’s
guiding and not “expect[ed] God to answer the way he wanted.” We must not
project answers onto God that were never His.
The Fifth Avenue Story
Society by Rachel Hauck
is a most delightful Christian contemporary novel that will warm your heart and
Five invitations, five people in need of
friendship, all with God-shaped holes that need filling. Monday nights became
the highlight of the week as they each grasped hope. “Hope was a powerful
Each person needed to let go of the past in
order to move into the future. They each need love and encouragement to face
the truth of their pasts. The truth will set each one free from the prison of
their past. Only when we open ourselves up being truthful and making ourselves
vulnerable will the healing process begin.
The characters are all wonderfully drawn.
Rachel Hauck has produced realistic, flawed characters who are easy to identify
with. At times emotions dictate actions. We need to surrender our emotions to
God and rest in His love. We all need God. It is beautiful to witness the birth
of a new Christian, to see “the power of her new faith, of her prayers.”
Prayer is our lifeline to God. I love this
description of it. “From your lips to God’s ears.”