Book Review: The Mark Of The King By Jocelyn Green

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Blurb:

Life in This New World Requires More Strength Than She Ever Imagined


After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace–and love–can overcome the stigma of the king’s mark upon her shoulder.

 General Thoughts:

 I must say when I first opened this book, I thought it would be similar to a lot of historical fiction books I’ve read as of late. I thought it would be somewhat bland and predictable in the general sense, pretty much about a woman trying to find redemption a new land with obstacles every where she turns.

But I was wrong and unexpectedly surprised.

I didn’t think this story would tug on my heartstrings as it did. I didn’t think this story would bring about frightening suspense and mystery.

It didn’t take long for me to feel for the main character Julianne. Though seen as a sort of villain in the world she lives in, in my mind she was the nothing of the sort. In fact, she is like a hero for those who read this book, in that, her struggles to overcome the shame for what she did in her past affected her throughout the story. Many times, she was faced with opportunities to forgive those who offended her, and though she was tempted to not offer them forgiveness, she was reminded of her own shame and how if she could receive redemption, surely those who offended her could too.

What I loved most about this story was it was too interesting and suspenseful to put down. The author did a good job in weaving a sort of eerie mystery that made me frightened for the main characters in the story. What I liked especially was how the author ended many of the chapters on a cliff hanger, making me, the reader, tempted to continue reading from chapter to chapter.

Another thing that the author did well was paint a sincere realistic story. Not knowing much about the formation of Louisiana in the 1700s, it was nice to gain a clearer understanding about the life and social issues that took place during that time. Reading about the unfolding of Julianne’s life made me feel like I was a part of her life. Julianne’s losses were my losses and Julianne’s shame was my shame. Julianne’s ultimate struggle to find and accept redemption for herself in a world that was reluctant to give it, was what made this story’s message powerful. I’m sure many of us who struggle to let go our past shame and failures will find comfort in this.

Recommendation:

 I would recommend this story to anyone who’s struggling to find redemption for themselves or even struggling to forgive others. I especially recommend this story to those who like historical fiction, mystery, and suspense.

Rating:

5 stars out of 5. I tried to think of a negative to this book, but I couldn’t find one. It was an easy, entertaining, and moving read.

 ***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

Writer’s Ramblings: Happiness Is…

happinesssun

I Am The Girl Who Now Can See

Rocks or Light

I Am The Girl Who Now Can See

I once was lost, but now I’m found
I was wandering, in a strange town
I didn’t know, which way to go
When I thought I was right
I was quickly told no

I was alone
In my cold world
Seeking joy and peace
Seeking purpose and me
And when the days passed more
I still saw no open doors
Who was I
I was only a lie

I once was sad, but now I’m glad
Glad I held on
To learn that I am strong
When failure clung, tightly to me
I didn’t fall down
I held my ground

I was ready to flee
From my old world
I needed to try
To set myself free
There was no time to waste
It was now getting late
I needed to try
I needed to try

I am the girl who now can see
I am the girl who now is free
I am the girl who now can see
I am the girl who now can see
I am the girl who now can see

©2016 C.A. Barnes

Writer’s Ramblings: Droopy Eyes

droopyeyes

Break Free

Sketch Sky

Break Free

I’m gonna break free
Head out on my own journey
Where I can be me
I’m leaving it all behind
This old world that once caged me
Where I was surrounded by lies
Saying,
This is how things have to be

I already have
One food out of the door
As the days go by
I’m inching out more and more
There’s nothing I want
Here you see
It’s time to hit the road
It’s time to be free

I’m gonna break free
Head out on my own journey
Where I can stand
As I’m supposed to be
And leave behind a world
That sold me lies and
Tried to imprison me

They can’t get me now
I’m already out
My time is now mine
And I’ve realized
There’s nothing I want
Here you see
It’s time to hit the road
It’s time to be free

©2016 C.A. Barnes

The Greatest Gift

thegreatestgift

Link To Post Of Full Poem Here

This is one of the few but favorite lyrical poems I wrote some years ago and posted a couple years ago on this blog. To me, these words state the real purpose of Christmas. Please view the full poem in the link if you haven’t done so and for all who celebrate, Merry Christmas!

Writer’s Ramblings: Fancy Things

fancythings

Writer’s Ramblings: Happiness Is…

happinesspie

I Am Brave

angel sketch

I Am Brave

I am brave
I stand tall
I have endured it
Endured it all
I’m not weak
Only strong
I’m not lost
I know where I belong

Cause I’ve listened
I have seen
All the promises
He has for me
In my dark days
When I was confused
In all the haze
I waited for the light
And it came
It shined
And I knew
Freedom was mine

I am brave
I took the chance
I stopped hesitating
It was time to dance
So I fought
The evils of old
No more time
That would be stoled

I’ve listened
Now I’m brave
I’ve seen
Myself along the way
Though I suffered
Suffered long
It didn’t make me weak
It didn’t break me down
It only made me strong

Thank you
This I say
Thank you
For everything
You made me brave
You’ve set me free
I’ve found me

© 2016 C.A. Barnes

Book Review: Shadow Of The Storm By Connilyn Cossette

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Blurb:

In the darkness of the storm’s shadow, only truth can light her way.

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mount Sinai. When the people rebel by worshipping a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to assist a midwife. When the experience awakens a new desire in her, she defies her mother’s wish for her to continue in the family weaving trade and pursues her heart’s calling as an apprentice midwife.

But when a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself in an impossible situation and bound to a man who betrayed her. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira comes face to face with the long-hidden pain of her past. Can she let go of all that has defined her to embrace who she truly is and believe in a hopeful future?

General Thoughts:

This story was something new and different from all the other stories I’ve read in the past. If you are familiar with the Bible, this story takes place after the Exodus and really goes deep in illustrating and explaining the social issues that existed among the Hebrews during their journey to the Promised Land. The story focuses on Shira and the struggles she faced especially within herself to see and believe in her worth. Having faced a tragic past that left her barren, she couldn’t see her value, especially to others. Even when she realized her love of being a midwife, she struggled with believing if she was good enough to be one.

I love how the author used Shira’s character to show how God can turn someone’s life around, especially into something far beyond what one would expect to be possible. Although I found Shira’s story the most compelling, there were other characters like Dvorah and Ayal, who had personal inner battles as well. I love how for Shira, she couldn’t see what good would come out of her life, but how God surprised her with what I believe was nothing but amazing.

For me, this is the most powerful story I read if not ever, then in a long long time. I think everyone will find a bit of Shira in them, maybe doubting their worth and strength, their ability to offer anything meaningful in the world. But as Shira came to find, that’s not true. After reading this story, I too, began to believe in myself more.

I truly have no obvious negatives about this story. Although the story is historical, it is very much a fictional story, focused on the personal challenges Shira faced with herself and those around her. I think this story is one that could appeal to even those who may not be interested in historical stories.

Recommendation:

I would definitely recommend this story to really anyone. Simply because of issues like self worth, overcoming negative pasts, and finding strength and confidence. I believe these issues are quite universal and will be relevant to so many.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars. I didn’t find this story dragging, boring, or difficult to read in anyway. Though I didn’t touch on this earlier, this story was also suspenseful, as there were a bit of frightening challenges that occurred and for me, I could not predict how they would turn out and how characters, like Shira, would overcome them.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

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