Reviews – February 2014

Head bowed in shame.  I’ve owed some book reviews for some pretty significant time!  Here goes with a few, at least…

Micha Boyett, Found

Boyett’s another of those U.S. Christian women bloggers.  Because of that, it’d be easy for her writings to get lost in the sheer vastness of material being produced daily.  But there is something about her writing which captivates me every time.  I’m not a mother, I have no prior knowledge of Benedictine spirituality and I’m a Brit.  This shouldn’t be my kind of book.  But it absolutely is!

The writing sparkles with honesty, with an unstinting commitment to telling motherhood the way it is in all its joys and battles.  It exudes the real-life faith of a thirty-something who has swapped a ministry with youth for a ministry of motherhood, a woman much like you or me who finds that choice sometimes beautiful and sometimes frustrating.  This is her story of learning to pray with the Benedictines in the midst of family life and I loved it.  If you’re a mother with children who despairs of ever praying again, this one is for you.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

When I saw the number of chapters and their names in this book, I wondered whether I was going to regret starting it.  It looked like it was going to be heavier-going than I was prepared for.  But this book proved to be great.  It’s the account of a young man who is challenged with the claims of Christianity by a friend throughout their time at university together.  In an attempt to defend his Islamic faith, he researches it deeply, seeking answers from imams and the Quran and hadith.  Yet the more he seeks Allah, the more he is drawn to understand that Islam is not what he had been brought up to believe and that the claims for Jesus’ divinity are robust.

If you enjoy the kind of book which tells a real-life story but also teaches you something, you’ll find this personal memoir of the events and proofs which led Qureshi to surrender to the lordship of Jesus fascinating.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Lynn Austin, Return to Me

This retelling of portion of Ezra-Nehemiah is masterful.  I do love works of fiction which bring Old Testament scriptures to life and this book is no exception.  It tells the story of Zechariah and his grandfather, Iddo, as they return to Jerusalem under the edict from King Cyrus and brings to life what this trip and subsequent rebuilding must have been like for the families involved.  It drew me back to the biblical text on several occasions as I sought to trace through some of the detail which I was reading in Austin’s writing and gave this portion of Scripture a new vibrancy for me.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Leigh Ann Bryant, In My Defense

Bryant married a man whom she met in the context of his mental care during her nursing training.  Charming and kind, it seemed that this was to be a relationship which would bring joy.  Yet in time the diagnosis which she had seen on his clinical notes began to manifest itself and she became the victim of domestic abuse.  Ultimately she killed him in self-defence, an act for which she was imprisoned and had to stand trial.  This is her story, one of redemption which tells how she came to faith in the midst of horrific pain and trauma and found new hope again.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

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