Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Valley of Betrayal--A Review

History. The word brings about strong feelings—you either love it or hate it. What I’ve learned though is that most people who claim to hate it usually had a teacher who focused on dates and names and forgot that history is full of people, personalities, and amazing grace.

Tricia Goyer hasn’t forgotten that. And she proves it again with her latest book A Valley of Betrayal where she veers away from her usual historical period and presents us with the fruits of her exploration into the turbulence that preceded World War II.

To be honest, the closest I’d come to learning about this time came from being in the play The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The teacher, Miss Brodie, thinks she’s inspired one of her students to go join her brother in the fight for Spain. Unfortunately her information is fatally flawed. But for that powerful scene in the play, I wouldn’t have known anything about Franco and the Spanish Civil War.

As I read A Valley of Betrayal, I realized I still knew next to nothing other than the name Franco.

However, Tricia uniquely wraps up the major points in a compelling story that places the reader in the midst of the fight. She pulls no punches noting that good guys don’t always win, good guys aren’t always easy to spot, and both sides had truths and propaganda. Claiming God doesn’t make your side right and noble pursuits without God are empty.

I do recommend you have a strong sense of the major groups before reading—what I mean is, read Tricia’s introduction and remember which groups belong to the Loyalists and which to the Nationalist. Without that, it can become confusing.

Also be ready to have to wait for more as this is only book one of the three book saga, Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War. I believe the wait is worth it based on this first story. The characters are compelling, flawed yet you want to cheer for most of them—others I just wanted to hiss at and beat to a bloody pulp, but then , that’s just me.

Want to learn about history in an enjoyable, exciting read? I recommend Tricia Goyer’s A Valley of Betrayal. It can make a history lover of you.