When I sat down to begin this book, I had no idea I was opening a door to such a beautiful story of faith, love, and freedom in Christ. I was certainly familiar with the Biblical account of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but this fictional twist on the tale just burst to life on the page before me. I was so blessed by it and I know many readers will be too.
While the story mostly follows Martha, we also get to follow in the steps of many Biblical characters we’re familiar with. As I read, I felt like I was walking alongside them. There were so many unique scenes and emotional moments that touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The history felt richly researched, without overwhelming or confusing its reader. And the style and choice of words throughout the book – so delicate, yet so powerful – confirmed to me early on that this is an author I will be reading much more of.
Biblical fiction is not typically my favorite genre, but this book alone makes me a huge fan. I’ve never read anything quite like this and I can’t wait to share it with more of my friends and family. (I’ve already passed it along to my Mom who is enjoying it now…) 😉
The cover alone is beautiful and certainly drew me in, but the story inside swept me away. I was so encouraged and inspired by the faith and lessons learned by Martha and the others in this book. I know it will be a story of encouragement to many.
It’s a love story I won’t soon forget. It’s romantic, yes, but it’s also about the love between a family and more importantly about God’s love for us. I hope you’ll read it. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I read it myself.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.
Visit her at www.stephanielandsem.com.