Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews

Just as I did with the book Bathsheba, I wondered how the author could write an entire book on the story of Job. I knew that the Bible did not have many facts about Job and his family. And, as I said in my review of Bathsheba, so often there are "facts" added to stories from the Bible in works of biblical fiction that are not consistent with the Bible itself.

Love Amid the Ashes: A NovelMesu Andrews, in her debut novel Love Amid the Ashes, has written a story that is quite incongruent with the essence of Scripture. Many, many times throughout my reading of this book, I wanted to put it down and not finish because of the several times Ms. Andrews adds characters and scenes not mentioned at all in the Bible (Job depicted as Esau's great grandson; Job's wife and her childhood friend who was in love with her and tried to take her away from Job; and the way that Dinah was shown as a part of Job's household in Uz). She took too many liberties when writing this book.

Instead of being the story of Job that I thought this book was about, this turned out to be a story of how Dinah (Jacob's daughter) and Job were supposedly in the same place at the same time, the circumstances that brought them together, and how their relationship grew during the tragedies that Job experienced. I became somewhat confused as the tale progressed, because I had a hard time fusing the two together when the Bible has them separate.

I suppose I should not be so harsh in my assessment of this book, but I am just trying to be honest about what I think and how I believe that this book could confuse others as well. I know that the author was not trying to say that this was all factual (after all, it is biblical fiction), but I think she went too far with her embellishments. Some readers may not know the Bible well and may tend to misunderstand what the Bible actually says about Job and about Dinah.

In the Author's Note found in the back of the book, the author states:

"My prayer is that you've seen God's Word fit together as an interwoven story that will, from this day forward, speak in a fresh new way." 

That is what I am afraid of: that some will read this book and think that it is the way it happened instead of reading the Bible to find the truth. Unlike Bathsheba, Love Amid the Ashes was a disappointing read.

I do believe that Mesu Andrews is a talented writer. I find no fault in her ability to tell a good story. Therefore, I will give this book a few points for creativity.

I give Love Amid the Ashes 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

“Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

(I received this book from Revell Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)


Sverige said...

LOVE AMID THE ASHES by Mesu Andrews is an amazing,inspirational biblical fiction about Job and Dinah. It is well written with details,scriptures,and depth. The characters are enduring,courageous,steadfast,suffer and romance. This story will bring the biblical story of Job,his suffering,his faith,his journey,loss,and weaves this story of the old testament to life. This story will weave beauty,steadfast faith,suffering and love amid the ashes together with vivid details.Job's tale is not only one of tragedy,but it is the story of his faith,and the beauty of Dinah.The author has threaded the story with explanations of Job's faithfulness to his God,reveals how suffering plays out in our life,and his interaction with Dinah.This story has a powerful plot with romance,passion,biblical truth,and will have you in tears. This is truly an epic love story with forgiveness,love, suffering,restoration and staying steadfast with your faith.If you enjoy seeing biblical characters of the bible come to life,than this definitely a story to read.While this is this author's debut novel,I can see others forthcoming.

Emily Scifres said...

Hi there! If you liked Mesu Andrews' "Love's Sacred Song" or "Love Amid the Ashes" you'll love her new book "Love in a Broken Vessel." Check out her book trailer and promotional giveaway celebrating the book's upcoming release! http://www.mesuandrews.com/contests