I used to do book reviews pretty regularly on my 100 things in 1001 days blog, but due to the added craziness of our new lifestyle, I'm no longer posting over there; therefore, I bring the book reviews here :)
I just finished reading Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene. This book, the first of the Zion Covenant series, was absolutely phenomenal! Set in pre-World War II Europe, the book follows the life of Elisa Lindheim (alias Linder) a Jewish-German violin player who lives and works in Vienna.
This period of history has always fascinated me, so this series is right up my alley. On top of that, I LOVE Thoene's work. Many of her books are written with her husband, Brock, and in fact in the next book in this series, Prague Counterpoint (Zion Covenant, Book 2), he is credited as having done the "Research & Development," so it's fun to know that they do such amazing work together. I read their book First Light (A. D. Chronicles, Book 1) last summer, and I am continually impressed by how historically accurate - without being the tiniest bit dry - their work is! Vienna Prelude (Zion Covenant, Book 1) was no exception! Thoene expertly weaves historical report of fact into a gripping, exciting plot that kept me turning pages until the wee hours of the morning :)
Another thing that brings me back to her writing again and again is how she is able to move her characters to the understanding of God's love and sovereignty despite the chaos around them. It's always a good reminder for me!
Some of my favorite quotes:
"Gott soll allein mein Herze haben." She sang the words so softly that no one in the crowded room could hear her. "God alone shall have my heart. . . . ." ... The answer whispered back to her, joyfully and without a doubt: "Was Gott tut, das is wohilgetan! What God has done is rightly done!" ... Somehow it was those last lyrics that came back as a challenge to Elisa. What she had questioned before must now be accepted and believed. If her heart was to belong to God alone, then she must have faith that He did not make mistakes. Men might fail miserabely - that was in evidence all around. But that which was done by God would not fail.
"Pity them, Jacob. Pity them for the evil they worship and the end that will surely come to them. Weep for our tormentors who have forgotten that they are also eternal. There will be a moment when it is too late to beg forgiveness . . ."
"No. It is not fear of hell that turns my heart from evil." Theo smiled to himself as though he had discovered a secret. "We have been privileged to see what becomes of men who give themselves over to darkness. They are no longer men. They are the creatures; we are still men." He reached out to touch the arm of th eprofessor. "And yet, we all began exactly alike, like lumps of coal, maybe in different shapes and sizes. The fire and the pressure of hatred consumes some men until they consume others around them in a white-hot fire. And others, trapped in the same fierce pressure and terrible heat, become diamonds to glisten in the hand of God. To shine bright when the blackness is all around, to find love when others are burning in their hatred. Isn't that the essence of God?" ... "A long time ago I gave up hope of ever seeing my Anna again. Or the children. And in that moment, I suppose I died to what I was." ... "Yet when I let go even of life and put myself in the hands of God, I became free, Julius! And I said to God that in this darkness, I want to become a shining light. The men who have imprisoned me changed my name to Stern. Like your name. Stern means star. Do you think that the Gestapo knew how much I wanted to shine! ...
This is one book, series, and author that I would recommend to anyone, any time, with no reservations whatsoever!
Have a great evening!