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Reading. I love to read, and I have for as long as I can remember. Maybe it stems from the Pizza Hut Book-it Program 30-something years ago; maybe it had more to do with pizza than books! [The program still exists, by the way, even for homeschooling families!] Whether it started with pizza or the actual reading itself, it has only grown over the years. Because my friends know I’m a book worm, or nerd–whatever you want to call me–they often ask me for advice on good reads. The nerd in me is happy to oblige and share my top picks of must-reads for Christian women any time!
My List of Must Reads
If you are at all like me, once you start, you can.NOT. stop. It’s worse than a good Netflix or Disney+ marathon. Because I know you are a busy mom like me and reading all hours of the day and night are out of the question, I’ll give you just the best ones, okay?
Mark of the Lion Trilogy
My all-time favorite series is a trilogy by Francine Rivers, Mark of the Lion, so it tops my list of must reads. I love it so much that I have read the long trilogy multiple times, and we even named one of our daughters after the main character–Hadassah.
Hadassah is a young Jew who has witnessed the horror of Jewish persecution in post-resurrection Rome. Her dedication to her faith and her owners through countless trials and horrific conditions both amazed me and drove me to my knees. It was a perfect demonstration of how loving God is loving people–no matter what!
This is one of those books that you simply cannot put down. You also want to be sure you at least have book two handy when you finish book one. Just trust me on this! I remember reading the last lines of A Voice in the Wind at some wee hour of the morning and wanting to throw the book across the room. You really NEED book two before you finish book one, okay?
**Note: I do not recommend this series to teenage girls simply because of the amount of adult situations. Remember, this is a historical fiction book based in Rome just following the time of Nero, where Christians were beaten mercilessly, burned as street lamps, and thrown into arenas with lions. There are also situations of homosexuality and abortion as well as temple prostitution. None of these things are promoted by the author, but in her attempt to truly reflect the times, these things are included throughout the series.
The Melody of the Soul
This is the best book I’ve read this year, and that’s why it qualifies as a must read! Perhaps I’m a little biased because the author, Liz Tolsma, is a dear friend, but this book is captivating!
Anna finds herself on the deportation list when an unlikely savior steps in! She and her grandmother, who are the only ones of their family left at home in Prague, live in hiding while the outside world is overtaken by the Nazi army. Though Anna mourns the fact that her career as a concert violinist is over, she insists on keeping music dear to her heart. However, the war and all that it brings threatens to snatch even the music of her soul away.
You will not be sorry you took the time to take this one in–really!
**Note: This is only book one in the Music of Hope series, so there’s much to look forward to! Book two, When the Heart Sings, released in October 2018, and it is oh, so good! Be sure to check it out, too!
Acts of Faith Series
Ahhh, I just love books in a series because you get to keep going and getting to know the characters better with each one. This particular series by Janette Oke (author of the Love Comes Softly series) and Davis Bunn is one of my favorites because it takes place just after the resurrection of Jesus and takes the reader through events that follow. I found myself searching out the Book of Acts in my Bible to see which events actually occurred. Books that drive me to seek scripture deeper always rivet me!
Alban, a Roman soldier, engaged to Leah, a servant in Pilate’s household, is commissioned by Pilate to find the truth behind the missing body of Jesus in exchange for Leah’s hand. What he discovers is not exactly what set out to find!
Since reading this series, I have never looked at the Book of Acts the same again!
Love Amid the Ashes: A Novel
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I downloaded this book by Mesu Andrews because I had never read any of her work, nor did I know anyone else who had. However, I snagged it when it was free for Kindle–I’m a sucker for free books! This book is based on the Book of Job, and if you know anything about Job, you know that a time in his life was anything but good. Since I love books that make scripture come alive, I dove in.
It’s amazing how gifted authors can help us to understand what life could have and most likely was like in time periods that we do not understand. I appreciate the way they can make the customs come alive and make so much sense. I admit; the author does take some poetic liberty a she tells the story of Job and fills in the gaps about his life and family, but I do not feel that it takes away at all the Biblical account.
The Scarlet Thread
This is probably, next to the Mark of the Lion series and Anne of Green Gables, my all time favorite. Having said that, I want to tell you that I know many people find this their least favorite work of Francine Rivers. The reason it’s one of my top picks is that God used it to change me. I mean it changed who I was as a Christian and as a wife. I read the story, completely sucked in and following the characters, but I saw myself in the main character. It was not a good thing.
This is a story of surrender and acceptance of who God is in our lives. For me it was also about marriage–my marriage. I had neither surrendered fully to the Lord’s will for my life, nor was I truly the wife God had called me to be.
A recommendation for wives
I often recommend this book to any wife going through rough patches in marriage. Sometimes we want our husbands changed, but something has to happen first. We must be changed. And that’s exactly what the Lord in His sovereignty did for me as I saw myself in Sierra’s character. Because the story challenged me in such a way, it has to be on my must reads list!
**Note: I am not referring to the time in our marriage when my husband was addicted to pornography. That is not my fault in any kind of way. I want you to understand that if you are in a similar situation, it is not your fault either! The time in our marriage I am referring to was several years ago when I was holding on to some things that God was telling me to let go of and not following the leading of my husband.
There you have it: my tops must reads list–for women, of course! I understand that we don’t all have the same taste, but if you love historical fiction, get these on your list today!
I’d love to know your top must reads because this nerdy bookworm is always looking for the next great read!