Archive | February 2020

Annelies by David Gillham

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.

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Hands Of Grace by Brenda Anderson

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 stand-alone.

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.

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Taming Julia by Jodie Wolfe

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 incidents.

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.

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The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

Hope Restored

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck is a most delightful Christian contemporary novel that will warm your heart and soul.

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 salve.”

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.”

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