Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2009)
I know I’ve probably said it a million times or more but I LOVE HISTORICALS! Davis Bunn and Gilbert Morris are only two of the plethora of authors in this genre that have kept me coming back for more every time I sniff out a new book in their ever growing bibliographies. When I first heard about this particular book several months ago I was on pins and needles because I’ve always loved Davis Bunn’s writing. However as my reading horizons expanded some of the other authors I enjoyed previously have become less satisfying to read so the fact that this was coauthored made me a bit hesitant as to whether it would live up to the reputation Mr Bunn has established in the genre. Thankfully it more than did so and it brought a deeper appreciation for the growth that most authors display as their published works expand.
Not having read any epic historical series recently especially those set in 1st Century Judaea and focused on the early church I wondered how this would play out and if I’d have difficulties with extra biblical content feeling incompatible with scripture. My fears were quickly allayed and this ended up being not only rich in historical but also in scriptural background of the people, places and events surrounding the Passover celebration and crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. With the events and characters presented in this story there was opportunity for an adventurous page turner but a winning premise cannot make a winner of a story on its own. Bunn and Oke I’m convinced not only poured many hours of intricate research and writing time into this book but also intense and heartfelt prayers to honor the author that gave them their talents and the vision for this story. In this reader’s case those prayers bore their intended fruit.
Leah happens to be a distant relative of Pontius Pilate who was adopted into the household as a slave when she became orphaned. At the same time her family was taken from her, both her sisters were forced into marriages of convenience with little affection on the part of either party. In witnessing her sister’s lives Leah comes to dread a similar fate coming her way and would rather remain a slave than ever marry. Others have a different opinion of what should happen and they also have the ultimate power to determine her life direction. In her position she is requested to gather information regarding the 1st Century group that refer to themselves as Christ Followers who have banded together in the wake of the crucifixion and have many Roman leaders wary of pending revolution from that quarter. In the process of finding the answers everyone hopes or dreads, Leah also discovers answers and faith she didn’t know she needed as well as inadvertently blessing others with God’s hands at work in their lives for events they had thought beyond impossible. But then again God is capable of more than impossible feats especially considering our limited experience and capability on our own.
I’m not sure how to balance this rave out with more sober thoughts on the book as truly I wasn’t able to find anything not to love about it. It will definitely be amongst my permanent collection for years to come and I am impatiently awaiting the subsequent books in the Acts of Faith series. (ISBN#9780764205149, 384pp, $13.99)
Purchase a copy of The Centurion's Wife or click the bookcover. Drop by the book site for even more goodies including a series of articles by Mr Bunn on the research for the story. Also see my CFBA post on Fri for more info and links and don’t forget to check out what other CFBA bloggers have to say about this book.