When Natalie Sinclair arrived in the Republic of Dhambizao, she expected to deal with the dreaded diseases of Ebola and Malaria. However she finds herself facing an evil way more terrifying than these physical illnesses when she meets up with Joseph Komboli. He tells of the so-called Ghost Soldiers active in the area.
I’ve never been to Australia, but reading “Return to Baragula” by Mary Hawkins made me feel I would fit right in.
In the brief prologue, we meet Emily Parker, a teenager with strong Christian beliefs and morals, and the handsome, charming Matthew Davidson who does not believe in God. One ill-fated night, things get out of control, and Mary flees, never expecting to see Matthew again.
The story begins six years later, when Emily reluctantly returns to her home town of Baragula. When she meets up again with Matthew, however, the circumstances are very different. Where Emily has turned from her faith, Matthew is now a well-respected doctor in town, with a deep relationship with the Lord.
He becomes deeply concerned as he realises how his behaviour as an irresponsible non-believer has caused so much hurt to so many people, especially to Emily. He struggles to understand why he doesn’t know about Emily’s marriage, and where the twins fit into the picture.
At the same time, Emily has an emotional turmoil of her own. What should she tell Matthew about her life? How much does he need to know? Does God really care about her? Will He still be prepared to take her back? And who is the mysterious stalker who makes her afraid to be alone?
This is the first novel I have read written by Mary Hawkins, but I hope it will not be my last. I enjoy the way she weaves the Christian principals of love and forgiveness into a gripping story, without ever becoming preachy. The plot is intriguing, the story well-rounded, and the characters real. It is a refreshing change to read a Christian novel based in a country other than America. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy seeing life in other parts of the world.
It is rare indeed for me to have a Christian fiction book that is difficult to put down. The last few nights have been way too late as I’ve gone for “just until the end of this scene” and then carried on to the next.
Question: Everyone says it is easier for an unpublished writer to break in with nonfiction vs. fiction? Is it only easier to break in with nonfiction if you have speaking engagements that will result in sales? I’ve always thought, “Who would buy my nonfiction? I’m a nobody without a degree, without a famous husband or friends and without an enthralling life.” But everyone says it’s easier to break in with nonfiction so I thought they meant that even if I’m a nobody, if I can speak to a “felt need” I can sell books.
I enjoy reading self-improvement books so looked forward to reading this book by Mike Flynt. In his senior year at college, Flynt was expelled for fighting and never got to complete his football career. At the age of 59, he returned to that same college and played his final year of football.
The Power-Based Life was developed out of Mike’s desire to help others discover how to become the person God planned for them to be. He encourages his readers to find their talents and figure out how to make money at it. He stresses the need for positive self talk, including memorizing of Scripture. He says, “If you can dream it you can achieve it” and encourages the reader to visualize a positive outcome. He points out the need to be a team player, and reminds us that as members of the church we are members of one another.
His final chapters teach on how to deal with adversity, the importance of cutting others slack, and how to make the most out of your life, as you don’t know how much time you have left.
The chapter I enjoyed the most was the one entitled, “Visualization: See What Can Be.”Mike presents this chapter well and has some good illustrations. Unfortunately, I found this book overall to be disappointing. I think men—especially sportsmen—would probably get more out of it than I did.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Have you lost a loved one recently? Do you wish to reach out to someone close to you who is struggling with grief?
Authors Cecil Murphey and Liz Allison both know what it feels like to lose loved ones. Liz found herself suddenly plunged into widowhood, leaving her with two small children to care for. Cecil faced the deaths of five close family members within eighteen months. The opening words of this book say it all: “No one grieves the way you do. Your grief is private and intimate.”
Others try to come alongside you. Sometimes they help. Sometimes they make things worse. This book contains the words and the simplicity to reach deep inside, to the areas that hurt so badly you feel you’ll never recover. It says to you, “It’s all right to be you, and it’s all right to feel exactly the way you do.”
I bought this book in March 2010 and put it to one side to read—sometime. Then I lost two family members within 10 weeks. I remembered the book, and read it through in an evening. I was so impressed with the thoughts and compassion contained in the pages, I gave it to my newly widowed brother-in-law the next day to read. I only loaned it to him, as I knew he wasn’t a reader and probably wouldn’t read it. He not only read it over and over, he ordered several from an online bookstore so that he could share the message with others.
The delightful packaging of the book, the simple and inspiring stories, and the beautiful illustrations by Michael Sparks combine to make this an ideal gift for anyone who is faced with the inevitable—the loss of a loved one.
This book is available at most Christian Bookstores as well as on Amazon.com.