Lyndel Keim finds two runaway slaves in their barn and promises to help them and keep them safe. She gains the help of her brother Levi and his friend Nathaniel King. Reluctantly her father lets them stay in the attic until they are healthy enough to move on. They soon have visitors among which is the owner of the slaves and have to turn them over. Lyndel, Levi and Nathaniel are all heartbroken but not as bad as they are when they find one of the slaves hung in a tree on their property. The Amish community agree to have a proper burial and bury him in their cemetery.
Nathaniel, who has become Lyndel's beau, is so distraught that he decides to join the Union and fight against slavery. Lyndel finds that she can't sit at home and do nothing while Nathaniel is doing all he can so she leaves to go nurse the wounded. Nathaniel and Lyndel work closely in the field and soon they are joined by Levi and a few other young members of their community. They are all now under the bann and not allowed any communication with family.
Murray does a fantastic job of pulling you into the story and telling what it must have been like on the front lines. Nathaniel and Lyndell were lucky to be able to see each other during the war and they showed such faith and dependence on God throughout. I shed some tears while reading the first book, The Wings of Morning, and I shed some more while reading this one. I expect to shed some more when the third book, Whispers of a New Dawn when I get it.
I do not think I could have been as strong as Lyndell, or any of our ancestors, could you? I am so to be thankful to them and to our military who continue to fight for our rights. Thank you Murray for sharing these stories with us, they make us stop and think about how lucky we really are today.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Murray Pura is one of a few men who are successfully penning Amish romantic fiction. The Face of Heaven has something for male readers as well as female readers. This piece of historical fiction beautifully expresses the pain, suffering, and horror of a war that pitted brother against brother. Nathaniel, Lyndel, and Levi leave their Amish roots and farmlands to enter the action of the Civil War. They seek to bring healing to a nation and an end to slavery of fellow humans.
This book was particularly interesting to me as I grew up in Appomattox, Virginia. Lee surrendered to Grant in the McLean House in Appomattox and it was pleasing to see the accuracy of the details in Murray Pura's writing. Reading historical fiction, in this case, left me with a hope for the future. I was able to look back at where we have been and dream ahead to where we still might venture. This book will touch your heart as you agonize, along with the main characters, at choices that had to be made....choices that drove families apart.....choices that pitted north against south....choices that begged freedom or slavery...choices....choices....make the choice to read this incredible story and look into "the face of heaven".
THE FACE OF HEAVEN by Murray Pura is an intriguing Amish fiction,Civil war saga.#2 in "Snapshots of History" series,but can be read as a stand alone. See, "The Wings of Morning". Follow Lyndel Keim and Nathaniel King as they navigate a war torn country,the horrors of war,faith,the aftermath of a savage conflict,being at odds with their faith,slavery,forgiveness,healing and love. A powerful and dramatic story of the historic battle of Antietam and its effects on everyone. A must read for not only Amish readers but for anyone who enjoys stories of the American Civil War and its aftermath. Received for an honest review from the publisher and Wynn-Wynn Media.
Details can be found at Harvest House Publisher,the author's website and My Book Addiction and More.
HEAT RATING: SWEET
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
I'm not a huge fan of Amish Novels, but I haven't read anything like this before. Studying history has always been a hobby and I do enjoy a good historical novel. Every lesson is always more impactful when in story form. I know Face of Heaven isn't intended to be a history lesson, but it really did spark in me more of an interest in the Civil War. It was entertaining and informative. I found it very brave of the author to tackle the Civil War and the Amish at the same time. Those are both very controversial subjects that are difficult to portray accurately while being concise. The battle scenes are very descriptive and yet not boring or hard to follow. Also, I thought the romance was handled in just the right way. The book was very romantic without being over the top gushy. This book is a smorgasbord of topics - The Amish and war (of course), Nursing and The Civil War, Romance and War, Family Dynamics and Disappointments - and that is just quickly off the top of my head. Really I enjoy reading anything by Murray Pura and once again he did not disappoint.
Murray Pura has penned a poignant read in The Face of Heaven, grabbing my attention from the first couple of chapters and holding me captive until the stirring conclusion. As with his prior book I reviewed, The Wings of Morning, I greatly enjoyed his take on the Amish community, and found it highly interesting to watch them grapple with how their community should respond to the injustice of slavery and their response to the civil war. My favourite line is when Nathaniel questions their stance not to participate in the war, when he says "Or does he want us to do something about it? Does God come in a mist and plant our corn for us? Harvest our wheat while we watch? Hitch our horses to our wagons and plows and carriages? So why do we think he will stop evil without our hands and feet and hearts?" Such a question makes me stop and think for sure, and there were many moments during the book that made me pause in introspection (and, I admit, even a scene where tears welled in my eyes!).
Nathaniel and Lyndel are wonderful characters, richly drawn and full of feeling and realism. The author has succeeded at truly bringing them to life and causing you to care about them and their story, which has been wonderfully placed in a vivid historical setting that all together makes for a compelling tale. I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy historical fiction and Amish stories, and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Harvest House, for the purposes of this unbiased review.