Favorite, Waterbrook-Multnomah

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

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About the Book

Title: The King’s Mercy

Author: Lori Benton

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

To be Released: June 4, 2019

For readers of Sara Donati and Diana Gabaldon, this epic historical romance tells of fateful love between an indentured Scotsman and a daughter of the 18th-century colonial south.

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy–exile to the Colony of North Carolina–he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will, Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.

My Review:

Lori Benton is an unknown author to me before now. Now I know why she is a favorite of many, and her new book, The King’s Mercy, is so greatly anticipated. Scheduled for release on June 4, (2019), I obtained an ARC through Waterbrook-Multnomah, the publisher. 
Ah, Benton had me at the double entendre title. How I love these. Obviously, we are talking about the mercy of two very different kings. Captured at the Scottish battle of Culloden, Alex McKinnon is spared death three times before he receives the true “king’s mercy,” banishment to the colonies as an indentured slave. I was impressed by how scornfully the phrase “the king’s mercy” was uttered by those who were unfortunate enough to receive it. Just a day after I finished this wonderful book, I encountered this telling verse in Proverbs 12:10: “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” (ESV) 
So we have established there is a lot of emotion-anger. There is also love, confusion, subterfuge, greed, avarice, helplessness, and an intense longing for freedom. As I reminisce about this sweeping saga, I am tempted to divide people into two groups: slave and free. Interestingly enough, the groups are not iron-clad, and it might be surprising who could land in each category. Who is really enslaved, and who is truly free? 
So many characters to like, some to love, others to despise. 
My favorite character is Alex. He is sensitive, humble, and empathetic to the pain of others’, be it Joanna’s loss of a friendship years ago; Elijah’s inability to work the smithy following his accident; or Jemma’s inability to fit in where expected. He still had a few flaws, but wouldn’t we all like to hear this: 
“…I don’t think it right or true that you be defined by a single choice.” 
And the quotes. Benton speaks well to present-day. 
“Ye’ve always had that about ye, a need for a purpose beyond yourself. ‘Tis the Almighty knit ye so.” We are all made in God’s image, with a purpose beyond just living for ourselves. 
When all seemed bad enough to drive one to insanity: “So be the iron. Bend with the heat.” 
“Despite her best intentions, she was playing the part of Martha again when she longed to be Mary, sitting at the preacher’s feet.”  
“If ye draw lines between yourself and folk, the least ye can do is keep to your side of them.” 
“…it was her very life that vexed her, its burdens, its injustices. She wanted freedom as badly as he.” 

 

_Whatever we pour our treasure into will ultimately captivate our hearts. What captivates our hearts we worship. What we worship remakes us-into its image._ (1).png

 

 

 

 

“Whatever we pour our treasure into will ultimately captivate our hearts. What captivates our hearts we worship. What we worship remakes us— into its image.”  
One issue I had is that historicals that mention several real places should always have maps. How frustrating to have locations referred to repeatedly, but have no idea where they really are. I found Cape Fear on a map; other locations I could only wonder. 
Finally, I liked very much the author’s note of explanation concerning the fact the story is loosely based on Biblical characters. Where truth and fiction collided, I found the characters true to Scripture. Well-done, Lori Benton!! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own. 

My Rating: 

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About the Author:

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Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th-century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori’s debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

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Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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TITLE: Of Fire and Lions

AUTHOR: Mesu Andrews

PUBLISHER: Waterbrook-Multnomah

PUBLISHED: March  2019

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

 

MY REVIEW:

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews lives up to its exciting, exotic name. It will be one of my faves for 2019!! Such a complex story, so many deep emotions, and such great God lessons set against the impossibly capricious and precarious times of the rising and waning Babylonian empire. Themes of faithfulness to Yahweh, the strength of love, HIS forgiveness, restoration with family, secrets, and so much more. My heart is so full, I would urge anyone with an interest in Biblical history to read Andrews’ well-researched and amazingly crafted account of Daniel.
One of the themes I found most applicable to my life: What is more important? Personal comfort or following God’s Will? Ouch!!
Quote(The heart-rending cry of many a parent, including myself):
“ ‘I failed to convince the people I love most that Yahweh is real.’
‘You have not failed, and you can’t convince them. Only Yahweh can work in a heart to help those we love to believe. We must simply love them with an honest and transparent heart.’ “
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. I am not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are solely my own.
 

MY RATING:

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Copy of Copy of Of Fire and Lions

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.