Saturday, October 17, 2015
My Review: Valley of Decision, plus GIVEAWAY!
I'm not even sure what to say about this book, even a week after reading it.
Thirteen years ago, Lisbeth made an impossible decision—leave third-century Carthage and her husband Cyprian behind for good. She knew it was to protect her daughter Maggie, so Lisbeth gathered the strength to move on with her life.
All these years, Lisbeth has thrown herself into her work and raising her headstrong daughter, all to live up to the promise she made to Cyprian. But Maggie is sick of being protected. In an act of teenage rebellion Maggie decides to do what her mother can’t—secretly returning to the third century on a quest to bring her father back, leaving Lisbeth no choice but to follow.
With Maggie’s surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. She finds her grandmother on trial for murder and attempts to save her, but instead the diversion sparks a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of the instigator.
Will Lisbeth arrive in time to save her daughter from the clutches of Rome? How can God possibly redeem such a slew of unwise decisions and deep regrets? Filled with heart-wrenching twists and riveting action, Valley of Decision brings the romantic adventure epic, The Carthage Chronicles, to an electrifying conclusion.
About the Author:
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.
My Review: Am I allowed more than 5 stars?
I’m going to be honest. My brain is spinning while I’m trying to gather enough words to write a review for this book that has left me emotionally rocked and asking difficult questions. I don’t even know where to begin. How do I describe this story that has me reeling, trying to avoid crying for a fictional character, and replaying sections of it endeavoring to figure out where I became so attached? What can I say that will do it justice?
I should probably note that there are two other books in this series, The Healer of Carthage and Return to Exile (click on the titles to read my review). All three books follow the adventures of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius in third century Carthage. Each of these stories have touched me in some manner, but this one pretty much knocked the wind out of me for a few moments. I found myself so engrossed in this book that I read it in little more than a day and had to struggle to pull myself away from it. Forget about focusing on anything else, I was so entrenched in my reading that I would look up and blink a few times, trying to make sense that I wasn’t in Carthage with them. Lisbeth may have time-traveled to the third century, but I think I took that trip with her.
Ms. Gentry, as usual, has outdone herself with this book. Her writing is superb and she brings Carthage to life in such a way that I would almost swear I’d be there myself. There were several times when it was as though I could almost smell the eucalyptus used in the vaporizer pots and feel the discord running through the city. I’ve loved being pulled into the journey that flows through three books and finally climaxes in an ending that made me want to pitch it across the room. Before I deter anyone with that comment, I’m going to continue by saying that my remark is more of a testament to just how wonderful a job Lynne has done with this series. I have to be deeply attached to the characters to prompt that reaction from me, so well done Lynne!
Lisbeth and Cyprian have been favorites of mine from the start, but in this book we also get to know a grown-up Maggie and Barek, as well as knowing Lisbeth’s parents a bit better. I loved the new depth Lynne adds to each of her stories, expanding them and drawing more characters to the forefront until it’s not just Cyprian and Lisbeth’s story, but it’s about so many people that their lives have touched along the way. I’m honestly not sure there’s much more to say about these two people, because I’ve talked about them quite a bit in my reviews for the two previous books. They are constantly growing and changing throughout each book, but in small ways that you’d really have to read the books to know, as my explanations wouldn’t come even close to doing them justice.
I think if I had to choose one reason that I love Lynne’s books so much it would have to be this: they challenge me. They force me to ask questions and reevaluate some aspects of my life. They are so real and sometimes raw that I believe it’s almost impossible to remain unaffected. After I had turned the final page of this one, I just sat there for a few moments, trying to wrap my brain around what had just happened. It seemed hard to believe it was over, but then I feel that way about any book I fall into. They never seem long enough and I feel a bit bereft for a while afterward. I’m sure this will be one that sticks with me for quite a while as I mull the words within, the ones that have caused me to stop and think, to look to God for answers, or to simply ponder the questions Lynne’s words inspire.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
If you took the time to read my review, I applaud you! If you just skipped down to the giveaway details, then I suppose I can't really blame you.
I enjoyed this book so much, that I'm giving away one copy of it, along with a surprise (which I'm really excited about!)! To be entered, you simply have to leave a comment on this page that includes an answer to the question below and your email address. You MUST leave your email address in order to be entered (otherwise, I won't be able to contact the winner). A similar safe format is recommended: suchandsuch[at]something[dot]com. This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry!) and will close Friday, October 23 at Midnight EST.
If you could time-travel to any past era, where would you want to go?
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! I hope you have a blessed week!
Oh, one last thing: if you'd like to learn more about the book, or maybe purchase a copy, links are included below!
Barnes & Noble