A Week in the Life of a Slave, by John Byron

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.”

These words, written by the apostle Paul to a first-century Christian named Philemon, are tantalizingly brief. Indeed, Paul’s epistle to Philemon is one of the shortest books in the entire Bible. While it’s direct enough in its way, it certainly leaves plenty to the imagination.

A Week in the Life of a Slave is a vivid imagining of that story. From the pen of an accomplished New Testament scholar, the narrative follows the slave Onesimus from his arrival in Ephesus, where the apostle Paul is imprisoned, and fleshes out the lived context of that time and place, supplemented by numerous sidebars and historical images. John Byron’s historical fiction is at once a social and theological critique of slavery in the Roman Empire and a gripping adventure story, set against the exotic backdrop of first-century Ephesus.

The Formal Stuff: 

Thank you to IVP for my complimentary electronic copy of A Week in the Life of a Slave.

First Thoughts:

After a review of a previous book in the series, in which I commented about problematic formatting, IVP offered me an electronic copy of the next title. Continue reading

Until the Mountains Fall, by Connilyn Cossette

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from within and without Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

The Formal Stuff: 

Thank you to Bethany House and the author for my complimentary copy of Until the Mountains Fall.

First Thoughts:

I’m grateful to have been selected for the launch team for Until the Mountains Fall, especially since I’ve read and enjoyed Connilyn’s previous books. Family matters prevented me from doing as much as I’d like for the team, but I’m happy to present my review. Continue reading

Shadow among Sheaves, by Naomi Stephens

Publisher’s Overview:

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

The Formal Stuff: 

Thank you to the publisher for my complimentary electronic Advance Reader Copy of Shadow among Sheaves.

First Thoughts:

I’m always looking for new Bible-based fiction to read. I was drawn to this debut title because of its setting. Continue reading