5 Stars Out Of 5
Where to begin?
August 22, 2013
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.
Francine Rivers is blessed with a rare gift.