Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ransomed by Els Van Hierden - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)
Hundreds of thousands of orphans have been left homeless and abandoned as a result of the fall of the Communist era. Left to fend for themselves or locked up in state orphanages, the children have little hope for the future. Yet in the middle of suicide, alcoholism, and drug abuse, hope emerges.

David Valensky, a successful US businessman who has experienced terrible personal loss, pours his life into reaching the homeless teens on the streets of Perm, Russia. But as the ministry grows, tragedy unfolds, threatening its very existence.

Karina Svetlana, a morose orphanage director with a dark past, meets David during his orphanage outreach. Will David be able to reach her with the Gospel and break the chains that hold her captive? And will their fledgling love survive the storm that envelopes David's ministry?

Jared and Vanessa Williams travel to Russia to adopt a child, excited to bring home a new son. Can they cope with what they find in Russia and the devastating news that leaves their faith shattered?

This novel will not only captivate and intrigue, but change your heart.

My Thoughts:

Ransomed is a story rooted in the reality of the frightening orphan situation in the former Soviet Union. I had a particular interest in this story, because I have an older brother who is the adoptive father of two children from this part of the world. I am so glad I had the opportunity to take a fictional “peek” into this world, and I pray that the Lord will continue to bring parents into the lives of the many children that need a loving family.

The story is about much more than just adoption. David is a man who has faced great personal loss and has had to overcome emotionally staggering situations in order to function as the director of a ministry for the many homeless children in this part of the world. Karina is an orphanage director in a nearby town, and she too is carrying many dark burdens from her past. While David has grown in his faith and become strong spiritually, Karina has allowed her troubles to push her further away than ever from any belief in God whatsoever. Each of them learn first-hand what it means to be a part of God’s perfectly designed plan, and through David’s obedience and Karina’s slowly melting resistance to his friendship, life begins to take on a much deeper meaning for both of them.

In the meanwhile, there is another family wanting to adopt a child from this part of the world, and while their experience isn’t entirely positive, it gives you a realistic look at the challenges that children in this area of the world are facing as well as the challenges that adoptive parents face as they seek the wisdom to discern the child God has for them. This family comes in contact with David and Karina in the adoptive process, and their interaction becomes another divine appointment in all of their lives. There are many twists and turns throughout the plot, but God’s plan reveals itself in certain beauty by the end of the story.

Ransomed is what I consider classic Christian fiction. I am always deeply moved by characters that display a strengthening of their faith through trial. I appreciate the faithfulness of those same characters to share Christ no matter the cost. It is within these types of story characters that I find encouragement and boldness for my own faith journey. I know much of what is written about to be reality as far as the adoption situation goes for these children, for I have witnessed this first hand. I encourage you to pray for the children in this part of the world - that they may be gifted with parents, but more that they hear the gospel and learn of their Heavenly Father.

I am happy to recommend this book to you, and I thank Abigail at Winepress Publishing for the opportunity to share this book with you!

About the Author:
Els Van Hierden has had a life-long passion for writing, which resulted in the publication of her first novel Ransomed.

In 2005, Els and her husband Edward traveled to Russia for the adoption of their fifth child. As the year drew to a close, and their first attempt at adoption had failed, Els asked God to use her difficult experience to inspire adoptive parents and to help orphans. Following this prayer, the plot of Ransomed was born in her heart. During the writing of this novel, Els and her husband returned to Russia to complete the adoption of their wonderful son, Mark.

Since then, Els and her family had the opportunity to travel to Romania for five weeks and serve there with a mission team. Els' goal is to see kids in poverty blessed with food, clothing, and an education, but above all with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Els and her family live in Lethbridge, Canada, where they own an equestrian centre. She oversees the day to day operations of the centre, homeschools two of her five children, and is a Certified Equine Therapist. She is certified through Strategic Life Alignment as a conference speaker, helping people find God's call for their life. Els enjoys speaking to groups, and working with women. Els and her family like camping in the mountains with their horses, spending time at their ranch, and traveling.


Mocha with Linda said...

Sounds like an interesting book.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great review! My husband and I are led towards pursuing adoption, so I'm always interested in reading books where adoption is a theme.

I found your blog through Smiling Sally's blog.

Els Van Hierden said...


Thank you for the encouraging review of "Ransomed". I am thankful that it touched your heart regarding orphans in this world. As the story of the Canadian couple is my story, it is my prayer that others would be impacted through my story. Most of the proceeds of the book are to fundraise for different children's organizations. It can also be ordered through my website:


Els Van Hierden