Two families, worlds apart. Can they each find hope in the crucible of suffering?
All Lynnie Min ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. But when tragedy strikes her family, she’s left with nothing but her faith to begin life again. While pursuing a career she never wanted, can the precious faith she was raised on withstand betrayal by a hostile former friend, now a professor whose ideologies conflict with her own? And why do her puzzling dreams feature only one of her daughters, not both?
Out of a smoking ruin in northern Nigeria, Ihsan bin Ibrahim stumbles upon the solution to his wife’s barrenness and longing. But family ties have a long reach. Will he make the ultimate sacrifice to follow his conscience, even if it means losing the child he loves?
My thoughts: What a heartbreaking story, for each of the main characters! I could relate to Lynnie, with her hearts desire to have always been to be a wife and mother. What happens when that identity is ripped from your hands? I could also sympathize with Ihsan and his wife and their longing for a child. This was a wonderful, insightful story that was excellent to read!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
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About the Author
From her home in central Alberta, Canada, Eleanor Bertin writes fiction that ponders the depths of God’s love and mercy to humanity.
She is the author of The Ties That Bind series, Lifelines, Unbound, and Tethered, as well as the memoir, Pall of Silence, about her late son, Paul. She lives with her husband of more than 40 years and their youngest son, in what will someday be a beautiful century home. www.eleanorbertinauthor.com
More from Eleanor
If you’ve read any amount of secular fiction these days, you must be shuddering at the landscape of the family in the world today. Strife and resentment, rivalry and spite–seems there’s nothing but dysfunction as far as the eye can see. And while conflict is necessary to any novel’s plot, I wanted to write about a stable family, a loving family, one that, while imperfect, still nurtured and protected its members with acceptance and harmony.
On top of that, I wanted to depart from my previous novels where the main characters were not believers. In Flame of Mercy, Lynnie is the main character whose trust in Jesus stands firm despite going through the fires of adversity. Her family is one of the reasons for that strength.
But of course, even the best, most faithful families have their quirks. Enter the grandmothers. Grandma Hardy is stiff, stilted, and staunch in her Christian beliefs. Nanny Roundell is sugar-loving, jolly, and lets mentions of faith slide off her chubby body with a smile. Their beliefs do not align with their personae. This paradox was suggested to me by a friend as I described the contrast between two elderly relatives, sweet Christian and sour unbeliever.
“Aren’t you glad it’s not the other way around?” she asked.
Because we all know it can be. Sometimes Christians look nothing like their Lord. And non-Christians can live blissfully inconsistent with their evil master’s agenda.
And so, I had fun writing these two ladies! “The grandmothers sat next to each other, one short and round, one tall and skinny. The Ball and Bat, we used to call them when we were kids, and I’d never been able to see them differently ever since. Come to think of it, Nanny, the Ball, was like a baseball in other ways besides physical. She had always been reactionary, flung here and there with every wind of doctrine but without any viewpoint of her own. By contrast, Grandma Hardy was the Bat. She stood alone, stiff and sturdy, unwavering, and if necessary, could give you a good whack to get you moving in the right direction.
“My sister was what Grandma frowningly called ‘frivolous.’ And Lissa was mischievous enough to purposely do things that would get Grandma’s goat. I mean, deliberately cavorting through the sprinkler in a bikini directly in front of Grandma’s kitchen window was outright asking for a lecture. You couldn’t call it a scolding since Grandma never raised her voice, but it was always a one-way communication generously salted with Bible verses. Lissa told me Grandma even referred to hand-written notes a couple of times while talking to her. And Grandma’s tone carried the expectation that we would change our ways accordingly. We had been taught to respect our elders so there was no answering back. We only meekly listened.” With Grandma, there was no statute of limitations and past sins could receive present censure.
Nanny’s eyes twinkled. “I’m feeling better every day. It’s given me my life back. Why, with my dentures and glasses, a new knee, and a titanium hip, I’m eighty percent fake.” She cackled her infectious laugh and we joined in, exchanging glances. Being in Nanny’s presence infallibly lifted my spirits.
“This cheesecake is delicious, Sue,” Nanny chimed in. “I could keep on eating and eating if I weren’t already so full after an excellent meal.”
Grandma frowned at what she doubtless saw as gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins. Thankfully she restrained herself this time…She set her fork down beside her plate that still held half her slice of cheesecake and taking her napkin, dabbed at her lips. “This is certainly a rich dessert.”
I hope you enjoy reading about the Hardy family’s faith and foibles as much as I have in writing them. Look for a bit of Grandma’s back story in my story in this year’s Mosaic Christmas anthology.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11
Rebecca Tews, November 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12
Texas Book-aholic, November 13
Inklings and notions, November 14
For Him and My Family, November 14
deb’s Book Review, November 15
lakesidelivingsite, November 16
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 17
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 18
Mary Hake, November 18
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 20
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21
Blogging With Carol, November 22
Cover Lover Book Review, November 22
Splashes of Joy, November 23
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 24 (Author Interview)
Pause for Tales, November 25
To celebrate her tour, Eleanor is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.