Life is unbearable for Ashish. Born into an untouchable family in India, he and his family have toiled for the high-caste Lal family for 48 years. Now as the struggle for independence from the British simmers to a boil, he fears for his daughter, Shridula. Will her name---which means "blessing"---bring her good fortune?
India: 1946. Blessing Ashish murmured. Such a name for a man cursed by a million gods For forty-eight years, his family toiled as slaves in the fields of the high-caste Lal family, and all because of one small debt. Ashish and his family knew nothing of the hatred for the British seething around them, nor of the struggle for independence that simmered throughout India. At fifty-four, Ashish was old and worn out. His wife had died long before how many years, he had no idea. Even though he had four sons to work beside him in the fields, every day was a struggle to survive. Sometimes his only daughter worked, too, but she also cooked and cleaned and kept the clothes in repair. His wife had named the girl Shridula Blessings. Perhaps the name will bring you more fortune than it brought me, Ashish told his daughter. His words proved to be prophetic in ways he could never have imagined. And when the flames of revolt brought independence to India, they seared change into the families of Ashish and Lal.
Of Kay Marshall Stroms
39 published books, four have been book club selections, nine have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie. Her writing credits also include the Grace in Africa Series and the Blessings in India series. Her writing has appeared in several volumes, including More Than Conquerors, Amazing Love, The NIV Couple's Devotional Bible
and The NIV Women's Devotional Bible
, and The Bible for Today's Christian Woman
. Her best-known book is Once Blind: The Life of John Newton
, which is packaged with the recently released DVD Amazing Grace
. She also has written several books with her husband, Dan Kline. Kay is a partner in Kline, Strom International, Inc., leaders in communication training. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon. Learn more about Kay at www.kaystrom.com
India, 1946. Rebellion is in the air as the people of India long for independence from British rule. Missionary Abigail Davidson does what she can to care for the poor and needy and gives her personal Bible to a young "untouchable" boy named Ashish. For the grown Ashish and his family, hope lies only in two things: working hard for the higher caste master and bringing up a strong and loving daughter. His daughters name, Shridula, means "blessings." And only as Shridula steps out in faith and learns more about the Bible does she slowly bring hope and blessings to her own people.
Author Kay Marshall Strom accomplishes what she sets out to do with her novel, The Hope of Shridula, part of the Blessings of India series. She writes a compelling, page turner of a story that draws the reader into the struggles of the people of India and the evils of the caste system. Consequently and indirectly, it calls for Christian justice and teaches readers to put their faith in God instead of earthly things and to "be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret it leads only to evil" (Psalm 37:3-8).
Strom's book may suffer from a lack of a solid genre. Many readers love a good Christian romance or fantasy off the shelf, but Hope of Shridula comes across as more general historical fiction and is less likely to grab the potential reader's attention. It contains no romance, but, rather, a moving story of a young girl and her struggle to make sense of the injustice of the caste system. The book also lacks a solid conclusion, at least as far as the salvation and survival of the main characters go. Perhaps Strom will solve the matter in the sequel, The Love of Divena, to be released in the fall of 2012. Until then, readers can appreciate The Hope of Shridula for what it is: a beautifully written book worth any Christians attention. Harmony Wheeler, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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