*This will have some spoilers, if you haven’t read the first book!*
“As you drink from the deep well of scripture, the Lord will refresh and cleanse you, mold you and re-create you through His Living Word.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: A year has passed and Hadassah has donned veils to protect her identity as well as the scars that now mark her body. Believed dead, Hadassah finds employment helping a doctor in the poor section of the city and develops a knack for healing through the power of her faith. When Julia falls ill, Hadassah is forced to confront another difficult decision: should she return to the Valerian household, risking exposure and death, to help her former tormentor in the Christian tradition? The flame between Hadassah and Marcus is ultimately rekindled, though Marcus continues to search for meaning and faith. Turning away from the opulence of Rome, Marcus is led by a whispering voice from the past into a journey that could set him free from the darkness of his soul. Will he find God and spiritual fulfillment, becoming the man Hadassah knows he can be?
Feelings: I might love this book more than the first in this series, A Voice in the Wind. You guys…friends…countrymen…this book had me weeping. It’s so, so beautiful. There are so many things going on in the first book that you’re really just along for the ride. In this one, though, we dig deeper. Our characters deal with consequences, reality, and grief head on in the second installment of this trilogy. We especially see faith in a different light as Marcus is the one learning and experience Truth for the first time in a very real way. We learn with him, whereas in the first book we learned from Hadassah.
Issues: In my review for the first book, I talked about how the POV switching was hard to keep up with sometimes. I felt like it worked a little more seamlessly in this book. That could be because I’d just finished the first book…but it just read a little more smoothly this time around.
Honestly, the only slight issue I had was Rashid. I wish he’d had a little more resolution in the end, but I mean…the story wasn’t about him. So I guess that’s not a huge deal.
Characters: MARCUS, BE MY LOVE FOREVER. His transformation in this book (albeit fictional) could only happen by the grace of God. He’s so incredibly different than he was at the beginning of the first book! After he faces his anger and disbelief, we see a character full of tenderness and ultimately, forgiveness. I love how when he returned to Ephesus, he wasn’t just a different person devoid of his previous grudges. That’s not what being a human is like. He still had to let go and let God and we were right alongside him.
For me, Marcus was the focus of this book while Hadassah’s story took a little bit of a back seat. Ok, more like a middle seat. As she struggled in her relationship with Julia, I finally (probably for the first time) realized Hadassah was human. She seemed so wonderfully faithful and holy before, but this book showed us her human side and I was grateful for it. It made her relatable and it forced me to wonder what I’d have done in her situation.
Julia. Poor Julia. You hate her, you pity her, you pray for her, and more. What a character! And Phoebe, mourning the loss of her husband and yet pouring love out to those around her. And Alexander. And Iulius with his sweet love for Phoebe. And Ezra with his beautiful daughter. This is such an incredible cast of characters. I’m so in love. But I don’t want to spoil anything. So just trust me on this.
Final thoughts: I was SO blessed by this story and I’ll never forget it. This time around (bc this is the 3rd time I’ve read it…) the part that stuck out to me the most was when Marcus was told by the ship captain about Paul and how he calmed the storm. TEARS.
This book causes a beautiful reflection on our current culture, even though it’s about ancient Rome and Ephesus. It reflects back to us our obsession with idols and sin without consequences. I highly, highly recommend this series. Just like in my review of the first book, I’ll warn you that this book tackles the tough issues. It’s not a fluff piece about sweet people. It’s gritty and nasty, but full of hope and beauty. Read it. Savor it. Write it on your heart. And repeat.
Pick this up if you liked:
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers
The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
Goodreads rating: 4.6/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.9/5
My rating: 5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn