Monday, August 20, 2012

The Face of Heaven by Murray Pura - Reviewed

About the Book: (from Harvest House)

Following on the heels of The Wings of Morning, the first book in Murray Pura’s Snapshots in History series, comes this compelling saga of the Civil War.
In April 1861, Lyndel Keim discovers two runaway slaves in her family’s barn. When the men are captured and returned to their plantation, Lyndel and her young Amish beau, Nathaniel King, find themselves at odds with their pacifist Amish colony
Nathaniel enlists in what will become the famous Iron Brigade of the Union Army. Lyndel enters the fray as a Brigade nurse on the battlefield, sticking close to Nathaniel as they both witness the horrors of war—including the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. Despite the pair’s heroic sacrifices, the Amish only see that Lyndel and Nathaniel have become part of the war effort, and both are banished.
And a severe battle wound at Gettysburg threatens Nathaniel’s life. Lyndel must call upon her faith in God to endure the savage conflict and to face its painful aftermath, not knowing if Nathaniel is alive or dead. Will the momentous battle change her life forever, just as it will change the course of the war and the history of her country?
The Face of Heaven is a dramatic story that will release on the 150th anniversary of the historic battle of Antietam, September, 1862.
My Thoughts:
“The one thing that transcends all this folly and carnage is the Spirit of the Lord.”  (p. 250)

This is a powerful story of the awesome transcendence of Christ’s mercy and grace in the midst of one of the most difficult times in American History.  Slavery became the war cry that rallied brother against brother in the civil war.  Others fought to preserve the United States of America from splitting apart and becoming two separate countries.  And in the midst of that awful time in history, the Amish people were also faced with divisive decisions.  The Face of Heaven explores all of these facets of history and story, and when all is said and done, it is the Spirit of the Lord alone that does indeed transcend the carnage of body, spirit, relationship and soul.

You will cheer, you will weep, you will rejoice with the characters in this story.  There are relationships that are born between the characters and significant historical persons that really make the story special!  I won’t say much about this, because I don’t want to take anything from your discovery! The choices that Lyndel and Nathaniel make are so very difficult! Yet the relationship that blossoms between them truly weathers every storm.  There are times when survival is very uncertain most certainly, but the outcome of each circumstance is both realistic and natural in its progression.
The Face of Heaven hides nothing of the horror of this Civil War.  Nothing! There are times you may want to turn away and weep.  Yours won’t be the first tears to fall, believe me!  This feels like an epic story of truth to me, and I am very happy to recommend it to you! 

About the Author:
Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than 25 years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto's Kobzar Literary Award. His novels for Harvest House include Face of Heaven and The Wings of Morning. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife, Linda, have a son and a daughter.

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