Confession: I’m a super slow reader. Not as in, “the… dog… chased… the… orange… cat…”
I’m more like, “the dog chased the orange cat… hmm. Why did they list the cat’s color but not the dog’s? What about the dog’s backstory could possibly contribute to the reason he is chasing the cat? Will this be revealed later in the story? Oh, I lost my place. Where was I? Well, might as well start this paragraph over.”
It’s exasperating, but I am what I am.
In the month of August, I read only 2 books, both of which are now on my “all time favorites” list. I will review both of them for you in this here blog post.
Okay, let’s just jump right into it then.
#1 The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot.
Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.
Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war―little knowing what that promise will cost him.
As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?
There are many reasons that this is an amazing book. I’ll narrow down to the main ones, though.
First of all, the raw truth in this story is unrivaled by any other fiction novel I have read. There’s a weight to the suffering of the Andersonville prisoners that tugs at your heart strings and makes you beg for their salvation. I loved that Tracy didn’t shy from the truth. Second, the symbolism in this story is my favorite thing about it. The people of Americus would rather turn a blind eye while their enemy is suffering in the most inhumane way. It’s descriptive, detailed, and stomach-churning while still not being able to touch all of the horror that was the Andersonville prison. However, while giving descriptive detail of the horror, Tracy adds wit and humor that made me lough out loud at 11:00 at night when I should have been sleeping. Thanks to Mrs. Groot, the phrase “How unchristian! Do go on,” is now a regular patron of my vocabulary. Lastly, I especially loved how the characters had a “philosophical bent” to them. I would not have appreciated Dance Pickett near as much without his beautiful words.
The only grievance I had with this book was the ending. **SPOILER ALERT** I would have liked to read about Dance’s recovery from his brief time in the prison, but we are transported past all of that and to the epilogue. Now that I think on it, who am I to complain? At least he lived!
Final Thought: Buy it. Read it. You will not be disappointed.
California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.
Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.
But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.
A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this book, but I am going to refer you to my friend’s website, where she reviews this book and does it justice. I picked up this book from the library after Hannah and her sister both recommended it to me. Let me just say, this book will change your life. It will make you cry your eyes out and make you feel like you haven’t a thimble full of love in your heart, after all. This book has lasting effects, trust me. Go find it as soon as you possibly can.
All in all, here are my final thoughts: Well done, Mrs. Rivers. Well done.
Now, I have more books to read in September! There’s a lot going on this month (not to mention turning 21 *insert party emoji here*), but I will try to make it through at least 2 novels this month! It’s bad when a writer has to force herself to slow down and read, but “it be what it be”.
What books have you read this past month? Leave a comment and let me know!