Saturday, November 11, 2006

Marta's Promise

The setting is uncommon, the plot based on historical facts not well known, but I found the story of Marta’s Promise to be compelling.

Set in 1766, the book takes us through the determination and horrors faced by Lutheran refugees leaving their German homeland and starting a new life in Russia. Though very familiar with the church history of Martin Luther, I had not known of the plight of the Reformers and the history behind the story fascinated me. Occasionally the story dragged but I found the information from the slow part to be important to fully understanding what happened. Authors Jeanne Dennis and Sheila Seifert head-hop a bit but it doesn’t distract from the storyline of young reformer, Marta Ebel.

Alone in the world, emigrating after her parents have died and all her brothers taken from her, Marta is thrown together with a small boy she must keep safe and a handsome rogue of questionable character with unexplained actions. Nothing is as it should be but as she draws closer to God, Marta learns He has a different viewpoint on many things.

If you like historical fiction that it authentic, you will enjoy Marta’s Promise.

The Jade Bracelet

Have you ever read a story that transported you to another time and place so completely that it was a physical shock to put the book down? Author Wilma Wall accomplished this goal for me with her latest book, The Jade Bracelet. I have to confess, I was not drawn to the subject matter but having been requested to read the book, I did.
Now I’m glad I did.
The Jade Bracelet is told in third person but has only one POV throughout. I came to understand Elsa Meier and identified with her first as a child, then as a young woman and then finally as a wife and mother. What I found most interesting is that so much of Elsa’s childhood parallels Ms. Wall’s growing up years as a daughter of missionaries stationed in China and I would love to know just how much is autobiographical.

Elsa’s later years detour from the author’s but the story keeps you enthralled all the way from China to California and back to China again, authentically viewing through a child’s eyes and again through the eyes of an adult.
Any woman can relate whether she has been a missionary or not, whether she has lived outside her home country or not. This book transcends locale and rests on relationships and learning to get them right—three generations trying to do just that. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more from Ms. Wall.