I'm reading A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. When the admiring blurbs on the back cover are from Romantic Times Magazine and Affaire de Coeur, you know that, if you are a guy, you need to carry this around in a plain wrapper.
The book is the first of a three volume series called "Mark of the Lion". Francine Rivers is a gifted writer - her prose is smooth and very readable. Now and then I read someone and think, "I would love to be able to write sentences and paragraphs like that", and she is one of them. This book follows the story of a young Jewish woman, a Christian, whose family was caught in Jerusalem when the Romans leveled it in 70AD. She loses her family in the carnage but survives herself. She is taken into slavery, ending up with a wealthy family in Rome.
There are other interesting characters and a plot that carries you right along. It is a very undemanding read, which is refreshing after all the tough reading I do during the day, and the plot is just complex enough. The characters are not exactly complicated people, but they have do have flesh and blood. The themes are right out there for you to see, but that's fine. The author has done her homework on the historical period in question. It is so good to read a Christian writer who obviously knows her craft, is truly gifted, and takes great care with her writing.
Mary tells me that Francine Rivers' books are very popular among the missionary families.
Sue and Doug gave us these books last Christmas, and I finally got to open this one a couple of weeks ago. I'm on page 358 of a 500 page volume! (Francine must write all the time).
PS If you like this book and the series, be sure to go back and read The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas. It was huge best-seller in the 50s, and there was a mega-movie based on the book with Richard Burton and Jean Simmons, also worth a look. And while you're at it, pick up Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, a book that gave the genre a kick start in 1880. That one produced two terrific movies.