Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Warriors With Holy Hands Review
Warriors With Holy Hands is the story of a young woman who finds herself lost in time and whose life over a period of three years is spiraling downward. Ruth Falk is stricken with an inexplicable illness and then orphaned. With only a distant relative in her life now, Ruth faces a life of debilitating pain and infirmity. She determines to look to the past for answers she believes her bloodline may reveal.
Searching through diaries and records, Ruth discovers blood relatives and others who lived far away over the course of a century. We follow their lives across three generations culminating in the revelation of indisputable connections that are created—words and actions with lasting results.
Ruth learns that a curse spoken by one ancestor may have had a devastating domino effect, one whose beginning also engaged her prayer-warrior grandmother in a pitched spiritual battle to break. A challenged believer herself, Ruth grows in the faith of her predecessors who faced ominous situations.
The rich symbolism of Judaism provides a backdrop for the saga with traditions and meaning sprinkled throughout the story.
When she faces increasing paralysis, Ruth and a birth friend in the faith journey to the Southern Highlands of Tennessee where it all began. Here in the span of seven days—over ten months—all that has unraveled in recent years comes together. Life as she knows it will never be the same.
God reveals himself to Ruth and others in remarkable ways along a tortuous path that comes full circle.
Warriors is a mystery that is finally, stunningly, revealed as serendipitous fruit from the branches of a family tree. It is a story of encouragement and life that empowers those who seek God and believe.
My thoughts: Ruth is a young woman facing a debilitating illness that leaves her with time to turn to the accounts of her ancestors, which opens her eyes to how the past can affect the future. I love how the story has such a deep message of faith woven into it! Peter does an excellent job of weaving the past and present into the story, and bringing each of the characters to life. I enjoyed the background on Judaism as well, which adds to the story. This is a book that you will want to take your time reading, so you can soak up the deeper meanings.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.
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About the Author:
Peter Toeg was a technical writer for over twenty years and a trained journalist who taught communication and media writing for fifteen years at a small Midwestern university. A believer for thirty years, he has roots that extend both to Iraq and Judaism, two themes in Warriors.
He writes full-time now: mostly memoir and short stories with several published. Writing is his avocation.
More from Peter
I’ve always been fascinated with connections, whether family or circumstances. As a memoirist, I have been granted a wonderful perspective on my life filled with connections. Warriors With Holy Hands is a family saga in that vein. Exploring our roots and bloodline. In Warriors, a young woman receives a wonderful gift from the grandmother she never knew and learns the power of prayer.
Ruth Falk, the main character faces two problems: an illness that is robbing her of her mobility and, as an orphan, little knowledge of her past. She wonders whether the two are connected: her background and her illness. So begins her amazing search. In her debilitating condition, time is not on her side.
As often happens in a family, we discover more than we expect. I did forty years after being orphaned myself. I learned that my father rescued his own sister and mother, spiriting them to safety with him when he emigrated from a hostile land to the United States. The grand deception was revealed in documents I’d tucked away. I’d never been told the story.
Ruth Falk also crosses paths with a man on a spiritual journey and another mysterious soldier-warrior, who is mentally gifted—and also her rescuer.
Spanning one hundred years and populated by a dozen remarkable people and a few miscreants, Warriors With Holy Hands is a mystery and adventure with wonders and rich spiritual truths. And maybe a miracle or two. It was quite a trip for me in the writing as I trust it will be for my readers.
Excerpt from Warriors:
“Tell me why you’re here, Jacob,” I said through the chorus. We sat at angles to each other in wicker chairs, the vantage of direct face-to-face lost. A candle on a small table before us illuminated considerably more than our plastic glasses and now-soggy paper plates.
“Everybody has to be somewhere, sis.” A quick response.
I pressed. “What are you looking for here? I have reasons—that you’ve hammered me with. What about your family? Are you taking the genealogy route?”
Jacob finished his wine. A loud swallow. I caught him looking at his stump, the prosthetic he’d removed before we came out. He’d rarely been this quiet in my presence this long, the flight excepted. Then he placed the drained glass down, stood, and, with his hand, moved the table to his left, pulled his chair more directly opposing me, and sat down. Military posture, his arms on the chair arms. He looked kindly at me with wine-softened eyes.
“I’m here to help you, Ruthie.” He looked into the night and back at me. “I confess I do have some unfinished business. You’re smart enough to know that—and what it is.” A sad smile formed, genuine emotion breaking out.
I saw hurt in his eyes brewing deep down. “Your father. You have a bridge to cross.” I touched his hand with mine and withdrew it after a moment. “Over a river.”
Jacob looked away longer now, and then back, but he said nothing.
“I can carry you, Jacob,” I said confidently. “You’re not alone.”
Jacob looked at me, a little surprised and pleased at the same time, his eyes damp. “We are kin, are we not? Covenant. A covenant of three.”
I nodded, looked at his stump and then down at my legs. I lifted up my plastic glass and looked at Jacob through its prism with a squint.
“Your father’s spirit is not at the river, but God is… Look for Him and you’ll find your father.”
He nodded. “As much as we think what happens is about us, it’s not, is it?”
I shook my head.
I had momentarily seen Jacob’s face distorted through the glass by the candlelight. Now, the glass removed, his face was almost radiant. “It is said the mystic knows God by contact of spirit with spirit; cor ad cor loquitur. He has the immediate vision…he hears the still, small voice speaking clearly to him in the silence of his soul.”
“And what is the translation?” Jacob perked.
I felt at rest in the moment after a day on the road had awakened nerve pain in my limbs. Gone now. “It means ‘heart speaks to heart.’ Some Catholic theologian. Some say that the origins of the heart speaking are in music—a crystal voice, the sounds of the night, the call of a bird—rushing water.” I waved my hand in a sweeping motion at the darkness before us that was filled with sound.
Jacob nodded then returned to his usual playful self. “So, you’re going to carry me, eh kid?”
“We all need to be carried.” (p. 123)
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