Reviewed by Jennifer Bogart
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
"...hauntingly written, with powerful archetypal characters that will linger in your subconscious."
Do not start this series unless you intend to finish it. Do not read this book unless you want to be haunted by the characters for months to come. Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion Series #1) is hauntingly written, with powerful archetypal characters that will linger in your subconscious. Once you come to know them they will surface in your thoughts repeatedly to remind you of important lessons in Christian character.
Powerfully written, this first in a series of three works of historical/biblical fiction transports us to a time shortly after Christ’s death. Hadassah is a young Hebraic Christian girl whose father knew Jesus during His time here on Earth. We first meet her during the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman armies. Losing her entire family during the siege and attack she finds herself taken hostage and eventually sold as a slave.
Throughout A Voice in the Wind we are able to watch Hadassah mature in her faith and come to trust in the Lord completely. The book chronicles the challenges she faces as she strives to love those she serves in a Christ-like way. The Roman family who owns her is immersed in the idolatry and widespread sin common in their society. Despite, and indeed because of this fact, Hadassah is driven to love them and serve them beyond her personal limits as she seeks to show them Christ’s love relationally.
Her mistress Julia embodies the self-centered and morally decaying Roman society. Through her example we come to see that all types of sin have been with us ever since the fall, including modern ‘hot spots’ such as abortion and homosexuality. At times one would think that the book was written in a modern setting due to the relevance of the issues dealt with throughout.
Julia’s older brother Marcus is a Roman playboy, disaffected and empty, seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. His emptiness draws him to Hadassah when he begins to see Christ’s light shining within her. Rivers was a romance novelist prior to her conversion, and as Marcus is drawn to Hadassah we encounter some highly sensual scenes as he attempts to engage her physically. For those who prefer to avoid sensual, romantic novels, I can assure you that though Marcus is persistent Hadassah holds firm to her Christian values throughout. It is a delight to watch her placing God before anything else in her life, difficult though that may be.
I found myself challenged by Hadassah’s integrity and seemingly never-ending love for those she served. As I watched her place her own needs and desires aside time and time again in order to serve I found myself challenged to examine my own performance in the role of servant-mother. Observing her walk with the Lord inflamed my desire to know Him intimately, and I sought to draw nearer to Him. Would that my light could shine as brightly as hers! Believers will come to love Hadassah as they are encouraged by her Christian example, strengthened in their faith, and challenged to go deeper – to give all.
Francine Rivers has developed a name for herself as a modern master of Christian fiction. I can see that her reputation is well deserved. While the characters can appear too archetypical – black or white, it is their clear struggles, weaknesses and strengths that make this novel a valuable tool for Christian growth. This tenth anniversary edition includes a new foreword, an introduction from the author and a book discussion guide. The discussion guide features probing questions for individual or group study of the characters’ natures. I was, and remain strongly moved by their individual journeys; they continue to live on in my heart.
Jennifer Bogart is a child of God, wife and homeschooling mother of three young children (so far). She writes homeschooling resources with her husband at Bogart Family Resources, and reviews as a creative outlet. Passionately dedicated to promoting the work of Christian authors and artists, her blog Quiverfull Family features reviews, contests, family updates, homeschooling tidbits and well - a bit of everything.