Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller

For many years, intentional living has been our goal as a family. I read a variety of blogs and other resources that support this type of thoughtful living and decision making. I am not a big reader of nonfiction books, but when Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller showed up in my inbox, it sounded like something I'd like to try reading. I discovered several years ago that I am what is known as a "highly sensitive person" and my daughter is highly sensitive as well. Having opportunities to rest and recharge as well as good overall routines in place is important to both of us. During the first half of this school year (when I started this book), we were in a place of just being too busy and I was feeling the strain of that.

Enter Rhythms of Rest. The focus of the book is delving into what the Sabbath is and how we can make it a reality in our daily lives. In addition, the book discusses the benefits of Sabbath keeping and what a gift from God the concept and practice of Sabbath is. As a result of reading this book, we have made some adjustments to our Sunday routines. As church musicians, my husband and I work on Sundays, so we needed some practical steps to find rest on Sundays after our responsibilities were complete. This book is full of stories and ideas that will help anyone to find opportunities for Sabbath rest whenever they can find it. It's not just limited to Sundays. I'm looking forward to receiving the weekly "Sabbath Society" emails to keep our forward progress going in this area.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green is a Christian historical fiction novel like none I've ever read before. I finished the book a few weeks ago and it has continued to leave an impression on me. Julianne Chevalier is a midwife who was imprisoned after a women giving birth in her care died. She is branded a criminal whose only hope is exile to the French colony of Louisiana. This exit comes with a price - marriage to another prisoner. From the difficult passage to Louisiana to the untamed and unlawful lands and people Julianne finds there, her strength and faith is constantly tested. Full of mystery, sadness, suspense, danger, and intrigue, this novel is an intense journey. Julianne finds she cannot escape the mark that brands her a criminal, at least not in the eyes of people, but she can be made new through God's grace and mercy.

This book was incredibly fascinating because of its unique time period and location. I've never read a book set in the French colony of Louisiana as it was being established. The book was very thoroughly researched and readers are transported into Julianne's world. That being said, this book is gripping in its emotional intensity. As part of this realistic portrayal, the author doesn't overly sanitize the content of this book. Julianne and those traveling to Louisiana were criminals and were treated as such. The expectation for the newly married convict couples was to populate Louisiana with French colonists and guards made sure the couples did what was necessary for this to happen. The land was savage and untamed so the book included violent punishments and deaths. Julianne was a midwife, so there were descriptions of her tasks in this job as well. I don't tell readers this to discourage them from reading the book, but to make everyone aware that this book is an extremely well-written, realistic, historical fiction novel. It is one that won't be forgotten soon.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

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