This is the most frustrating book I have ever read. Second to it is Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke. Those who've read it know what kind of emotional furnace there is that book. Frustrations upon frustrations, complications upon complications â€• basically, you're put through a wringer. If you're considering A Voice in the Wind, believe me, you are in for that kind of turmoil and so much more.
How much wretchedness can a person go through? How low can a character possibly go, morally? Is there a pit where there is no hope? Darkness closes in around these characters in a way that steals the air, suffocating the reader's patience more times than one is able to count. The overwhelming amount of confusing, exasperating, convulsive events happening in A Voice in the Wind is enough to make you throw the book out the window â€• however, should you do that, there's a good chance you'll be running to pick it up afterward. For all the emotional chaos in this story, beyond a shadow of a doubt, A Voice in the Wind is a testimony to Rivers' proficiency at crafting a gripping story.
Years after Jesus' ascension, Hadassah is only a young, Jewish girl, a flower blooming surrounded by the love of her family, when in a catch of her breath, Jerusalem is forced to bow down before the force of Rome and everything is taken away from her. Catastrophes fall upon the Jews, catastrophes that tear away facades to show the sheer savagery raging inside their tormentors. Yet from the very beginning, compared to what her peers go through under the hands of Roman soldiers, mercy springs forth for Hadassah. When she is taken to Rome, the heroine finds herself serving a family she comes to be endeared by over the span of time. These people remind her of her own family but there is irrefutable evidence that things are not well in the household. Physical and emotional illnesses plague the Valerians â€• especially the two children in the house, Marcus and Julia (for the latter among the illnesses). Hadassah finds herself attracted to Marcus and at the mercy of Julia, as her servant.
Julia Valerian is a bundle of rudeness and egocentrism wrapped up in one girl. Words can't describe this girl's selfishness. She is a force of gravity â€• constantly bringing down others to look down upon them and satisfy â€•and to only satisfy, her own pleasure. By the end of the book, I could do no more than to conclude Julia was one of the most lost souls to ever roam a fictional story. (Other forces, especially one woman with no heart whatsoever fuel Julia's erroneous ways.) A large part of A Voice in the Wind is centered around Julia, and her older brother is no saint. Marcus is a stubborn epicurean who struggles with anger. When Hadassah enters their life, they both show fascination at times and repulsion other times toward her because of the enormous differences between her and them. Hadassah resembles their parents with her insistence to cling to what they deem 'old values'. Personally, my meeting of this girl, of the size of her heart, of her very soul and strong passion for Christ, was enough to make the world around me come to a stop. One glimpse, just one glimpse at Hadassah's very essence is life-changing! What she goes through as a slave is massively unfair and it was enough to make me swipe at my eyes several times. In the end, Hadassah's self-sacrificial generosity goes a long way in touching several people â€• Decimus and Phoebe Valerian, Atretes, a German warrior who plays a big role in the story, and me, as a reader and a follower of Christ.
A Voice in the Wind is not only grippingly written, it's vivid with descriptions of Rome during A.D. years, including details of the immorality in the city, as well as the persecution of Christians. In fact, this one should be read by mature readers. The Christian faith only shines through the heroine, Hadassah, who meets a couple of other followers of Christ who encourage her along the way. They all seem powerless against the debauchery surrounding them, and because of the persecutions, there is fear to share the faith â€• especially in Hadassah. But in the end, something glorious is manifested and eyes are opened.
A Voice in the Wind moved me so much, by the time I was close to finishing it, I could do no more than give it five stars. I'm hoping the agony of a journey this one was is a foreshadowing that light will shine in the remaining books of the series. I can't get my hands on them soon enough.
The first book in the bestselling Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forgetâ€”Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.
This classic series has already inspired nearly 2 million readers, but both loyal fans and new readers will want this 20th anniversary edition of a Christian classic, which includes a foreword from the publisher, a letter from and Q & A with Francine Rivers, color map, an illustrated glossary, and discussion questions suitable for personal and group use.
As I began reading this 20th Anniversary Edition of A Voice In The Wind, by Francine Rivers, I became anxious at the vivid descriptions in the opening paragraph,
"The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles. An oppressive, hot wind blew from the southeast, carrying with it the putrefying stench of decay."
My apprehension to continue reading a story that claims to be a classic was resolved by my commitment to give an honest review of this book for the publisher.
The book surprised me by it's story of life in the first century. I believe the author has thoroughly researched the background for the book. Each chapter brought me closer to experiencing the sights and sounds and emotions of Hadassah and those living through Rome's persecution of Christians.
This special edition has the addition of the discussion questions which would make an interesting home-study with friends.
Even though I'm still not comfortable reading script with horrific details, this book deserves to be on any best seller list. Understanding and experiencing what life must have been like for Christians in the very early years through this story helps me appreciate the perseverance of all those believers who have come before me.
I was provided a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.
The first time I read "Voice in the Wind" I cried my eyes out. I was in disbelief at the ending (I won't give it away!), and the heroine's faithfulness to God had a big impact on me. My mom and I read this book out loud together when I was a teenager. Such a special memory...The story is well-paced, with believable characters and a tight, well-written plot. I highly recommend it!