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During the Victorian era of 1892, sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian women. They enjoy adventure and end up in the Sinai Desert to find an important biblical manuscript with their butler and ladies' maid in tow. The travelers are hit with a dangerous life threatening sandstorm and now they question what has shaped their lives up to this point.
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert--and into a sandstorm.
Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies' maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.
gcwfarmgirlOhioAge: 18-24Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Fun ReadFebruary 13, 2018gcwfarmgirlOhioAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Being familiar with Lynn Austin I couldn't wait to start this book. Having a fascination with Egypt I was excited to find a christian fiction based there. The book is broken in to sections with each section told from a different character's point of view. Lynn Austun does a fantastic job with creating characters with depth. You follow each character's life from when they were young to adulthood. A fun historical adventure with strong female characters and deep spiritual content. Rebecca and her sister, Flora, toss conventional things aside in this Victorian era book. Long with 470 pages, it's still well worth the read!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
KavRCanadaGender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Compelling HistoricalJanuary 18, 2018KavRCanadaGender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4An epic tale about two invincible sisters who refuse to be confined by societal expectations. And while a work of fiction Where We Belong reads more like a memoir since it is a collection of memories. In fact, the largest portion of these 470 pages is spent in past decades -- and told from the point of view of four different characters whose stories all interconnect -- the sisters, Rebecca and Flora and their two charges, Kate and Soren.
The story begins with a trek across the Sinai Desert in 1890. These forty-something sisters have led rich, colourful and unorthodox lives and the holy quest they are on provides them with time to reflect on the past decades that have led them to this point. The sisters compliment each other beautifully --- Rebecca is brash and fearless while Flora is more thoughtful and cautious. And both sisters live their faith deeply. Their love of Jesus shines in everything they do. They are true disciples, acting as the hands and feet of Christ to all those around them. A truly inspiring and fascinating story.
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publications and Graf-Martin Publications.
rkfall5 Stars Out Of 5Historical FICTIONJanuary 17, 2018rkfallQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Historical Christian Fiction at its best!! Wow, Lynn Austin paints an incredible story of these 2 sisters who really lived in history. Although this is a fictional story of the sisters, it just makes you want to know them. The impact for the Kingdom of God is amazing! Somethings I loved: their motto to rest and not fear because God knows the number of our days and their travels to exotic places with amazing discoveries and very realistic sea journeys. You'll feel all sorts of emotions with this one, and be thankful for each one. I highly recommend this book!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5History, adventure, and romance surround the Hawes sistersJanuary 5, 2018VictoriaCanadaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This was my second foray into Lynn Austin's writing and I feel like it takes a solid two books to really get a handle on how she writes. Austin's ability to take solid research and weave in fictional adventure stands out in her newest novel following the Hawes sisters as the adventure around the globe seeking how to responsible use their God-given resources and follow his plan.
As seems to be the case with Austin's style this means lots of switching back and forth between time periods in order to flesh out her characters stories. I was relieved and impressed at how smoothly her transitions flowed in this book compared to the last I had read by her. As a result, this story is far more immersive, the plot lines are much clearer, and readers are treated with a much more easily navigated plot. As the time travelling confusion was one of my biggest concerns with my last Austin novel it was good to see the author had refined her skill.
However, she certainly didn't lose any of her ability to produce characters during that refinement. Where We Belong is filled with strong, intriguing characters that eagerly draw you into their hurts and dreams. I loved how successfully Austin uses the sisters diverging skills to develop interest and spur character growth. Both Flora and Becky held their own as primary narrators for their portion of the story and engage readers in different ways. Not to mention how blindsided I was by the final third's focus on Kate and Soren! It takes a good writer to take a fiery maid and a solemn butler and make me ache for their story but the servants backstories had a surprising amount of depth for secondary characters that helped bring the book to it's well traveled conclusion.
Travelling, oh the travel. Austin's characters wrack up a lot of miles and you can tell she's researched the details of their locales. Considering we are in the middle of a nasty cold snap it was wonderful to open up the book and feel like you're peering off at an approaching sandstorm or wandering around Paris. Austin has a knack for bringing her settings to life.
That said, I did have a few complaints that took away from the overall story.
As much as I love the Hawes sisters, at times, in Austin's attempt to convey a deeper spiritual truth the conversation lost its natural flow and began to feel very scripted. I wouldn't say the characters were out of the personalities they had been built with but the material felt very stilted and predictable - particularly in key scenes like on the Nile. For those that like to be immersed in their novels this may be a draw back as it certainly brought me out of the narrative.
The other area I struggled with is the ending. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a happy ending, in fact I find open-ended or depressing ending very dissatisfying. Yet, this conclusion felt both rushed and too perfectly wrapped up given the drama and adventure the characters had faced. The ending was what I look for and yet still sat somewhere left of where it felt it should for reality's sake.
4 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
Heart2HeartVictorville, CAAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Victorian Era meets Indiana Jones!!! Brilliant!January 4, 2018Heart2HeartVictorville, CAAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What really made me want to read this book, before I ever looked at the synopsis, is the cover. Just something about exploring Egypt has always fascinated me, and this book by Lynn Austin is no disappointment. Truly something a bit unique but found myself thinking of this book, like The Mummy movie with Brandon Frasier, because of the woman in the movie, who defies social stereotypes of the era and branches out on her own. In Where We Belong, Rebecca and Flora Hawes are being raised by their father, since their mother's death on Flora's birth that left them without the influence of a woman in their household. Being from a well-to-do family, they lacked for nothing with what money could buy for a good education, and their father held nothing back from them.
Deep within both of the girl's hearts was a love for adventure and travel, and at any early age knew that they could convince their father to take them on a European trip to discover the things they were being taught at school, better than any books could teach them. They only had to present it in the correct manner as father liked to conduct all things with a business plan in mind and thus the reason they were so well off. After their latest adventure and returning on their voyage home, they encountered Mrs. Worthington who was also a widow with a plan and purpose. She manages to convince their father that both girls will need suitable husbands to help manage their finances and thinks her nephews would make the ideal candidates.
But Rebecca isn't ready to settle down with the quintessential husband that society and her father would love for her to marry. Flora is quite pleased with having the best of both world and soon falls in love with Thomas. Knowing their father's health is failing, they beg him to not marry Mrs. Worthington until they return from one final trip to visit Egypt and the Holy Lands. But alas, fate will take its own turn as their father passes away and the girls are stuck with figuring out how to manage without a man's influence in their lives any longer. Their journey has only just begun and its about to get very interesting with whom they meet on their latest trip abroad.
I received Where We Belong by Lynn Austin compliments of Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley. I absolutely LOVE Rebecca's spirit of adventure in not conforming to societies standards for proper young women! This is like an Indiana Jones adventure but with switching the roles between the main characters. I found myself rooting for her the whole time and really wanted to see where all this would lead and could only imagine untapped wealth and the ability to travel makes this such an enjoyable novel. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion!