I had started a few months ago by reviewing another series and still plan to continue with it but after a little detour. I have two very wonderful authors who write in the Christian Fiction genre that have new books out, so I am excited about them and wanted to make sure I got my review posted as they are very newly published.
I am a confusing individual…. One moment I am reading MC Romance Fiction and the next Christian fiction followed by a textbook of some sort after. I can never get enough to read or to learn. I wonder if you are like that as well. When I can add a fact or two in a discussion and people look at me in surprise and ask, “how in the world do you know that?” I just laugh and tell them I read all kinds of books and you never know what I have stored away. It can be priceless depending on the bit of information I put out there!
Why Christian Fiction? I am a Christian who is always searching for something I have yet to put my finger on. I want more, more, more but what is the more I am looking for? I don’t know. When I read I feel I am getting closer to knowing what that might be, but I am still not sure. It seems closer, but still too far away. What I can say about reading fiction is that if I can find a lesson I need to give more thought to then I have found a wonderful author and story. If that author can make me understand a Bible story that has been a little vague or make me see it in a whole new light with new possibilities, then I have found something worthwhile.
Jill Eileen Smith has done precisely that with her newest book, “A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story”. When I heard this book was coming out, I wanted to read it, but I also didn’t. Hannah’s story has always made me so sad and because of that, I kept thinking …. “No, I can’t, I’m not ready”. Hannah was placed in such a sad situation. She had married expecting to have children but didn’t and all believe she never would. Then she was delivered of another blow. Her husband took another wife and she would have to share him. Could it get any worse for such a woman? Yes, she received blow after blow of mocking and hatred from not only others but this second wife of her beloved husband’s who gave him the children she desired. For years, Hannah pleaded for God to deliver her a child and then came the day in grief and desolation Hannah made a vow to God. If he gave her the son she desperately wanted, she would give him back to God when he was old enough to leave her. Hannah fulfills that vow to God. Would I have had the strength to do so? No…. simply no.
Jill Eileen Smith brings Hannah story alive and creates a beautiful story of love, acceptance, trust and ultimately forgiveness. Hannah truly loves the Lord, and even after years of being barren, of being mocked, of feeling that she has lost her beloved husband, she still placed her trust in God. We read of a woman who was kind even to her “enemy” the second wife of her husband who treated her so badly. We read of a woman whose trust in God would be greatly rewarded.
But let me tell you what else we read…. we read of a husband who is pulled in so many directions that he cannot grasp what to do and the stress is heavy on his heart. He loves Hannah as his beloved and it did not matter if she was barren or not for she is all he wanted. However, his family intervenes and pushes him to take a second wife. Elkanah is devastated but does as his family and even Hannah has asked of him. He knows not what to do to bring peace in his family, and he hurts for the pain he knows Hannah hides. His beloved is his heart and although he cares for his second wife and loves the children she gave him, he is not fully at peace.
We also read about the second wife and her view. Her jealousy of Hannah, her love of Elkanah and the pain of feeling unwanted. It was indeed an eye-opener to view Hannah’s nemesis in a different light. And there is one of the lessons…. what is behind the actions of others?
The dynamics of the family unit created by Elkanah and his two wives are shown by the author to have suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. Through these dynamics and the ending, she provides, the author gives the reader some thoughts to dwell on. A Christian will not help but think are we living up to the example Hannah set in her love of God? Have we placed our complete trust in God as she did through the storms we face in our lives?
“A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story” is beautiful and one you will enjoy from the first to the last page. I hope you give it chance and I would love to hear your comments and if you feel the same as I do.
Enjoy Hannah’s story!