Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"His Love Endures Forever" Review

An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things?
Danielle Kent is anything but Amish. But as destiny would have it, she has fallen in love with an Amish man.

Now she’s 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s Amish father—Matthew Lapp—will do the right thing and marry her. She knows Matthew plans to leave his Colorado settlement for a life in the Englisch world. But that plan never included a baby.

When Matthew walks away from her and their unborn child, she has nowhere to turn. Her unlikely friendship with Levi offers some comfort—yet they have so little in common. This wasn’t the plan she had for her life, and she has never felt so alone. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. Doesn’t want to be Amish. Doesn’t want to trust God.

And yet.

God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever.

For more information about this title, please click here.

This is the third book in the “Land of Canaan” series by Beth Wiseman. You can read my review of the first two books in this series by clicking on the titles – Seek Me with All Your Heart and The Wonder of Your Love.

My Take:

As I said in my previous reviews of the“Land of Canaan” novels, I knew right away that this was not going to be your average Amish book. This is a good thing, and this novel deals with some very difficult situations – unplanned pregnancy, abandonment, and abuse – that were handled very well. I also liked how some of the characters really experienced a lot of growth over the course of the novel, especially Levi’s mother, Vera.

It was also different from most Amish novels in that there is a lot of interaction between those of the Amish faith and people from the “English” world. In some ways this was encouraging. I always like to see in Amish novels how the author portrays their Amish characters’ feelings toward the rest of the world, and in this novel, the Amish are very accepting of the “English,” for the most part.

I think, though, that as the story progressed, the interactions between the Amish and the English got a bit convoluted. It was almost as if the author wanted to make the point that you didn’t have to be Amish to be a Christian but that she wanted to do this without condemning the Amish way of life. One thing I thought was interesting in relation to this was that it was brought up several times that those who are“English” can be Christians but that if someone belongs to the Amish faith, then you know they are a Christian. Really? Can we truly know another’s heart? We can often tell by their actions (“known by their fruit”), but to me this fruit does not include just following the rules of the Amish. I thought this was an interesting point that I had not heard from other Amish novels.

However, this point was actually contradicted by one of the characters in the story! Vera was the one to say that if someone is baptized into the Amish faith, then you know for sure that they are a believer. But then she herself admitted to Danielle later on in the book that she did not experience a true relationship with God until well after her baptism and marriage. So, then is her earlier point true then? Just something that I thought about as I was reading this book.

Another thing that kind of missed the mark for me was how Danielle’s faith in God was portrayed. I did like how she didn’t just have some sort of ‘revelation’ moment where she was suddenly a different person. Hers was actually a journey, which felt more true-to-life. However, at one point she eventually “gave it all to God.” While this to me seems to be a step in the right direction, it was quite vague. There was no mention of her accepting the sacrifice for her sins that Christ paid on the cross. I just think it is dangerous territory to get into when Christ dying for our sins is only mentioned one time in the entire book and when a character ‘comes to God’rather than placing their faith in the sacrifice Christ made for us.

I also think this book tread on another dangerous territory. This was in one of the main parts of the storyline when both Danielle and Levi base their decisions on dreams that they had that were supposedly from God. How do you know if the dream is from God and not that it’s just your overactive imagination combined with the scary movie you watched last night? Again, I think this can lead to dangerous thinking. What I know for sure is that Christ is our Mediator to God, the Bible is our source of truth, and dreams can be misleading.

I hate when I seem to be in the minority when it comes to reviewing a book, and this is definitely the case with this one. This novel received tons of great reviews, including from people who I greatly respect as reviewers. But for some reason, this book just didn’t have that zing that makes it a really great read for me. I just had too many problems with some of the characters and how the spiritual aspect was portrayed.         

His Love Endures Forever was written in an easy-to-read style with an interesting storyline that made it a fast and entertaining read. It just didn’t have that something extra to it, and I had some issues with the way some things were portrayed. I realize that this is a fiction book, so maybe I am expecting too much from the spiritual side of the story. I mean, a novel doesn’t have to have a spiritual aspect for me to like it. (Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden is one of my favorite books). But when ¾ of the plotline revolves around God and faith and making a decision to live for God, then I will end up evaluating that side of the story a little more.

Although God and faith were discussed a lot in this fiction novel, the gospel was almost completely left out.

I will give His Love Endures Forever … 2 ½ BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Booksneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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