This book review is a wee bit tardy but here it is! Find out all about Lynn Austin’s Keepers of the Covenant.
A description of the book from the publisher:
In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king’s palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.
Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future–of family and love–seem impossible.
In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God’s unwavering love for His people.
As usual, my five point review:
- It took me so long to read and review this book because I didn’t realize it was the second book in The Restoration Chronicles series until after I had received it! Whoops! The first book, Return to Me, was great. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, this book, for me, wasn’t quite as compelling and was too long. It may have just been that it was hard to get into, but I never got that must-not-put this-book-down feeling here. But you might love it!
- Regardless, this still was a well written book. Lynn Austin is a great author and I have enjoyed much of her historical fiction (especially that set in the Civil War and WWII eras). The plot centers around the Biblical books of Ezra and Esther, so the time of Jewish captivity. Biblical fiction is just not my favorite, but since I do like Lynn Austin I thought I’d give this book a try.
- The way that Lynn Austin told this story was easily the best part of the book. Her writing style and heart comes through so well in this book! When reading Biblical fiction or watching Biblical movies (not that I do that very often… but churches do show them for things from time to time), I find it important that the story be compelling (so as to not further the notion that the Bible is boring) while not adding too much to the text. There has to be a balance between making the times come alive and not assuming too much. I think this book (and series) do a good job at helping readers understand how life might have been like during this period of history. Lynn Austin does use scripture often, so that helps with its authenticity.
- Perhaps one of the reasons why this book wasn’t my favorite was that there was a lack of energy and story. Some characters I expected to be more exciting(?) just weren’t, like Devorah (Deborah). Other parts just seemed somewhat detailed and tedious, and while I don’t have anything against long books, this was just hard to power through.
- Overall, I have mixed feelings on this book. Since it is based on Biblical history, I don’t want to say it’s bad… and it’s not. However, this genre isn’t my favorite and compared to the first book in the series, this one just didn’t hold my attention as well. It’s worth the read to learn more about this portion of Biblical history for sure. There are lots of good reviews for this book on Goodreads so I may be in the minority on this book! As I said previously, there are other Lynn Austin books that I love so don’t dismiss this author because of me! I hate writing less than glowing reviews, but I do want to be honest. Thanks for reading!
What are you reading lately?
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!