Friday, April 01, 2011

Mesu Andrews's Love Amid the Ashes ~ Reviewed

By Mesu Andrews
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3407-7
407 Pages


Readers often think of Job sitting on the ash heap, his life in shambles. But how did he get there? What was Job's life like before tragedy struck? What did he think as his world came crashing down around him? And what was life like after God restored his wealth, health, and family?

Through painstaking research and a writer's creative mind, Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of this well-known story told through the eyes of the women who loved him. Drawing together the account of Job with those of Esau's tribe and Jacob's daughter Dinah, Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.


I was thankful to receive a review copy of a story many people quote from the bible and look to when they are suffering. The story of Job is a powerful one. Meus Andrews states in the author notes how she came up for the premise of her book Love Amid the Ashes! She says, “I hope you can see (through my extensive research) that biblical fiction is so much more than a fanciful imagining of how things might have been. It is truly my heart cry to know how biblical characters experienced the God I know today!”

Having read this gripping, heart wrenching book I can say Mesu has accomplished her goal. Not only did she show how biblical characters experienced God in their lives but she got up-close and very personal in showing the inner turmoil every character had endured watching Job suffer. No matter what came Job’s way he stood faithful to not curse God like his friends and family wanted him to but was a witness to the love he had for God no matter what happened in his life.

Love Amid the Ashes is not only about Job, and the impact he had on his community, family, friends and the world around him. But it’s also about Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, who was violated by King Shechem. Her brothers avenged this act by killing the king and did some horrible things to the people that lived in the kingdom before they murdered them.

Dinah isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament much so the author had to dig deep to uncover facts she could use to make her story work. Through extensive research Mesu found a way for Dinah to cross paths with Job, a wise man and respected man in his community, who was highly favored by God, and who showed the love of God to everyone he came in contact with.

Soon after Dinah and Job’s paths cross calamity befalls Job. One messenger after the other reports horrific news to Job, first the report that his children are dead, then a report that all his live stock are slain and then to hear that his grandchildren are killed. Soon after that Job’s house burns down to the ground. Job is left homeless and penniless. His wife is used to living the good life and agonizes over their new situation even more so when Job gets deathly sick. She is willing to do almost anything to get money in the house and live the life she is accustomed to.

We read in scripture of how everything was taken away from Job and then later given back more than he had in the first place without all the drama associated with this horrendous situation. The author reveals the heartache and struggle of a man losing his children (the loves of his life), everything he owned and his status in his community.

This author not only shows Job’s terrible situation but on the flip side she discloses Job’s hope and faith in God. Mesu brings scripture alive as she gives the reader a peek into what life might have been for Job back then. This Mesu Andrews pens an amazing story of Job’s authenticity, his passion, love for God and family and how he suffered well. He stayed faithful even when his body was in horrific pain. This story brings this story to life in a real way. You’ll never think of the book of Job in the same way.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
Finding Hope Through Fiction


France said...

Love Amid the Ashes is a story for all time, as it deals with the ageless themes of forgiveness, shame, love and romance, family dynamics, and suffering. Faith shines brilliantly through words and actions. Characters come to learn of El Shaddai, and this knowledge deepens throughout the story. As the reader, I was caught up in the dilemmas of the characters, and felt their mounting tension. I found the hope-filled ending satisfying.
Mesu adds the story of the hoopoe bird, now Israel's national bird, to tie the story line together. She also includes the relevant biblical text at the beginning of each chapter. Author's notes explain how the book came to be written

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!