Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

So with everything that happened in July and with GISHWHES, I realized I totally forgot to post the last book we read for Book Club.

Just in case for anyone new, I started a book club with three other people. There is no theme or restrictions, just every month a different person has a turn to pick a book, we read it for the month, and afterwards meet to talk about it. Fun for everyone.

Last month’s pick was:

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

I first started reading Francine Rivers’ novels when a friend recommended Redeeming Love (a fantastic book that I strongly recommend). Afterwards, I started reading as many of her books as I could get a copy of. This one I put on my to-read list like five years ago and forgot all about it. I mean you know about to-read lists.

So when my friend brought it out as a suggestion, I was all for it.

That’s what I want

The story actually follows four main characters and how their lives intersect with each other, the decisions they make, and how they grow or regress as characters.

Character One: Hadassah

Hadassah is living in a time where Rome is in complete control and being Jewish or Christian can mean death. Unfortunately for Hadassah, she is both.

Yes, her parents were both Jewish but her father converted to Christianity when Jesus raised him from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). Her married Hadassah’s mother (who also converted to Christianity) and the two raised their three children as Christians.

Their lives have gone incredibly downhill as Rome marches on Jerusalem destroying it, with all of Hadassah’s family being murdered.  Hadassah finds herself unsure how she will continue on with her weak faith and uncertain future. Will she be able to trust God through it all?

Hadassah is saved from being killed; manages to survive the march to Rome, gets through a lice-filled boat, barely is maneuvered from becoming a temple prostitute, and is bought by a Jewish slave for his master, going into the powerful Valerian family. There she is given to serve the selfish, young, and beautiful Julia Valerian. Hadassah faces many ups and downs trying to live her Christian faith, set an example to others; while trying to walk the thin line that separates her from being thrown to the lions as a pre-show for the gladiatorial games.

She finds herself becoming friends with Julia’s older brother Marcus, praying hard for him and his family. But as her connection to Marcus grows stronger:

She finds herself unsure what path to take. Will Hadassah be able to serve God and receive a happy ending? Or will she cross that line and enter temptation? Or worse, death?

Character Two: Atretes

Atretes is a prince from Germany known for his wildness, strength, courage, and ability. After the death of his father he finds himself being handed the kingship and given a prophecy: a dark haired woman as his lover, being known throughout Rome, he will triumph over his foes, and being able to free his people from slavery.

That’s the kind of prophecy I’m talking about.

However, in the next battle skirmish, Atretes is captured by Roman soldiers. He tried hard to be killed in battle, but they decide to keep him and train him to become a gladiator.

At first he refuses to play along, but eventually becomes the star fighter as he discovers the only way to win his freedom is to follow along.

He achieves, money, fame, etc.; but still remains a slave and not given real freedom. His life changes when he meets Julia Valerian. She comes to him willingly, paying heavily to be with him. She appears to be everything foreseen by his mother and he begins to fall for her, and changes his perspective of “the game” as he fights for money, freedom, and the ability to marry the person he loves.

But will Atretes fullfill his prophecies of the woman he loves, overpower Rome, and free his people? Or will he discover that Rome doesn’t fight fair and that he will never truly be free from its grasp?

Hmm…

Character Three: Marcus Valerian

Meh.

Marcus Valerian grew up in a time of strife that has settles into prosperity and peace. His only hobbies in life are pursuing whatever pleases him: mostly making money and winning women. However, Marcus quickly becomes bored with this lifestyle and is always pursuing making more money and a harder challenge.

He is constantly going to the gladiator games, but becomes bored with those as well in life.

His father tries to instill a moral code in him, but Marcus refuses to listen to anything his father says as he feels that his father is “too old” and “behind the times”. He thinks his way is the best and his lifestyle-something he ends up instilling in his younger, naive, and impressionable sister.

Seriously, parents.

But when Hadassah enters the house she starts a ripple effect of a change of atmosphere. Everything about her and her beliefs challenges his lifestyle and the choices he is making in life.

Will Marcus find something real to fill his life? Will he ever be happy? Or will the choices he has made come back to bite him?

Hmm…

Character Four: Julia Valerian

Julia is the Marcus’ younger sister and has been sheltered her whole life and given every whim. In an effort to reshape her character and give her more morals, her parents give her Hadassah to be her servant; hoping that Hadassah’s kind and gentle spirit will rub off on Julia.

Hadassah

But all Julia cares about is being beautiful, idolizing her brother Marcus and his values, and seeks to become the most sough after gal in Rome. She ends up trusting women who are bad influences that like to manipulate her, not listening to any of the advice her parents try to give her.

She is married off to a kind man, but is too selfish and self-centered to appreciate him. Instead she sets her eyes on a handsome gladiator she sees training, Atretes. Later her foolish and heedless behavior causes the death of her husband, and she and Hadassah are sent back to her parent’s house.

Through it all Hadassah loves and cares for Julia as a sister, even when Julia is rude, crude, overbearing, etc.

Once again Julia chooses friends who don’t have her best interest at heart and are using her. She also marries a handsome, but abusive man. After she grows tired of being treated so cruelly she makes a decision that leads her down a dark path. As Julia continues to make bad decisions and hurt those around her, will Hadassah continue to care and help her? Will Julia turn from her dark choices? Will she have a happy ending? Or will she continue on her trail of destruction?

Hmm…

So what did I think of it?

I thought it was amazing! I started reading and I couldn’t stop:

And if that wasn’t enough, when I read the ending I was in SHOCK!!!

I quickly ran to get the sequel (literally ran)

The book was phenomenal. From Hadassah’s character:

To Marcus’ growth of character:

And all the twists and turns the novel took. You never knew what was going to happen next.

Wow

I definitely recommend it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Christian fiction, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

For more bible verses, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Advertisements

I Want to Be Your Ideal Man: Grease (1978)

Most Romantic Moment #4

grease

I Love this musical. My best friend Carson and I were obsessed with it when we were eight years old. We used to watch it over and over, knew every song by heart, and could do the hand jive in our sleep. Grease was definitely the word.

hearts banner

So the movie is set in the 1950s, you know one of my favorite decades.

dating1950

Sandy is from Australia and visiting the American beach for summer vacation (winter in Australia). She meets Danny is also away at the beach and the two meet and fall head over heels for each other. But Sandy has to back home, with both thinking they would never see each other again.

ActionItemLOVE

School’s back in session, and we see Danny is the hottest and coolest guy in school.

hot pretty sexy

He and his gang are ready to finish their senior year when he gets the biggest surprise of his life, Sandy is in school. Can this designated bad boy and good girl make a relationship work?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Throw in a car racing challenge, dance contest, Frankie Avalon, and amazing songs.

hearts banner

Most Romantic Moment: I Will Do What I Can to Get You Back

So throughout the whole film we see that Danny is all about “his reputation”.

im-importantbigdeal

Sleeping around with girls, not caring about what happens to them but just using and losing…

See ya!

See ya!

However when he meets Sandy that changes. At first he tries to keep to his “tomcattin” ways, but realizes that’s not what he wants; he wants Sandy. But how to win her back?

Hmm...

Hmm…

As Sandy is a cheerleader, he decides to go out for a team sport going from greaser to jock. (Which was a big deal then. Remember Daryl in The Outsiders and how he was able to cross over into Soc territory if he wanted to because of football? Ponyboy too was offered that as well but he wouldn’t give up his cigarettes for track). But Danny doesn’t really mean it, he’s just doing it to try and win Sandy back at this moment. But because he doesn’t put his whole heart into it, he messes up again and again; ditching her for another girl to win the dance contest and giving her his “ring of commitment” in order to make out.

Men

Men

But none of these work, Sandy is a high quality girl and she won’t have some pretender, she needs something real.

settle

So Danny realizes that if he loves her, he needs to stop the pretending and kidding around. He is going to have to do something really drastic to show Sandy he truly cares about her.

So he decides to quit the T-Birds

OMG gasp

Now contrary to what some bloggers say, he is not just putting a “cardigan on”. The sweater is a symbol that he is completely changing his life. By changing the T-Bird leather jacket to the cardigan with his “letter for track” on it, he’s not only saying that he is giving up the “fast” lifestyle, the parting with all these other women, the reputation of never settling down; but that he is going to be something more stable and trustworthy. Something that she can rely on and that will be there for her.

Grease

As he tells the other boys, he grown out of that, and is instead looking forward to a future with Sandy, not just a “playdate”.

Danny Zuko: Oh c’mon you guys…You know you mean a lot to me…it’s just that Sandy does too. And I’m going to do anything I can to get her 

After all, what’s comfortable, can be worn anywhere, and something that makes you feel relaxed, supported, and warm…a leather jacket or a cardigan?

hey-girl-feel-my-sweater-know-what-its-made-of-boyfriend-material-quote-1

hearts banner

To start Romance is in the Air:Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous post, go to Business is Business, But Your Happiness is More Important: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

hearts banner

For more on Grease, go to Why Were You Driven Away?

For more musicals, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

For more period films, go to I Choose You: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil: The Crucible (1996)

MV5BMjE3OTc3NzUzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQyMjYyMQ@@._V1._SX332_SY475_

I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!

The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller is one amazing work, and the film version really did it justice. This play is about the Salem Witch Trials, but is in actuality written to speak out against the Anti-Communist feelings, McCarthyism, the HUAC, blacklisting actors, etc. Miller used real historical figures as the basis for the characters in his play.

The Crucible takes place in Salem, MA in 1692. The film starts off with a bunch of teenage girls partying in the woods with the minister’s (Reverend Samuel Parris) Barbadian slave Tituba. One of the girls is the minister’s daughter Betty and his niece Abigail. Abigail takes the chicken used in the ritual and kills it, afterwards drinking its blood, and wishes for John Proctor‘s wife to die so that she can have him.

crucible_the_1996_685x385

Just as Abigail finishes, the minister surprises the girls in the woods and they all run off.

That day Betty won’t wake up, no matter what Abigail does. The other girls are worried and Abigail makes them promise that they will not tell anyone anything, except that they were just dancing in the woods. She knows that they will all get into DEEP, DEEP trouble if anyone finds out what they were doing. Rev. Parris questions Abigail intensely and she continues with the dancing story. Parris asks if her name is unblemished in the community, as he is worried that if their are any marks against her, people will not  believe them. There was an issue with her being thrown out of Elizabeth Proctor‘s house, (more on this later), but Abigail insists that the reason she was sent away was because she wasn’t subversive enough.

The Putnams, a powerful family, come over and say that their daughter Ruth won’t wake up either. Goody Putnam has lost all her babies, Ruth having been the only exception, and believes that it must be witchcraft that killed them. They also say they have heard that the girls are bewitched. Rev. Parris is worried at what to do and sends for Rev. Hale, a known witch hunter, to figure out this mess.

John Proctor arrives on the scene, played by the very attractive, the very talented, and one of the best things in this film, actor Daniel Day–Lewis (DDL).

Look at that hunk of a man! :)

Look at that hunk of a man! 🙂

Proctor is a manly man, :D, but has a major tiff with Rev. Parris. (There tensions go way back) He doesn’t think that anything is wrong with girls, but suspects that they are just playing around. As he leaves he is approached by Abigail who was waiting for him outside. Abigail was working in his house and the two had an affair! Gasp! (Although he is so attractive I can’t blame the girl for crushing on him, but she should have respected the fact that he is MARRIED!) HIs wife, Elizabeth,  figured that something was up between them and threw her out of her house.

Anyways, Abigail wants them to get back together, but John says no. He is ashamed of what he did and is only about his wife now. However, Abigail is not so ready to let go.

You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

OBSESSED!  This girl has psycho-stalker all over it.

f668ef4b9e1ba0206ff2ce3bb2b3d9e51

Rev. Hale comes to town and under his intense questioning, Abigail decides she is going to have to give him more than “they were dancing in the woods.” She tells him that Tituba bewitched her and the girls, and forced them to do witchcraft. Tituba, freaks out and after she is beaten she confesses that the Devil came to her. She also says that Sarah Good, Goody Osburn, and Bridget Bishop with the devil. Soon all the girls are chanting and adding to the list of who the witches are. Rev. Hale calls for chains so that they can throw the women into prison. This is a pretty, crazy, intense scene.

23a9a4c3c9154224b3facd5defbd5b64

John Proctor is at his farm and can hardly believe how crazy the witchcraze has gotten. (Miller really makes his point on how quickly a witch hunt can happen and how innocents will get hurt.) He told Elizabeth that Abigail told him it was all joke, but can’t tell everyone else because she said it to him in private. Elizabeth loses all faith in her husband, fearing that the two tried to rekindle their affair.

betrayal_super_mario_world_by_ggrock70-d37inzj.png

Mary Warren, their hired girl, comes in and says that they have now 39 people standing trial for witchcraft. She gives Elizabeth a poppet she made at court.  John doesn’t want Mary going to the trails anymore and threatens to beat her, but Mary says he should watch out she as she is a valuable asset and just saved Elizabeth from being named a witch.

After Mary goes to bed the two worriedly confer about what this means for Elizabeth. Soon Hale shows up to question their Christian character. He says that Elizabeth has only been mentioned in passing, that he is really there to check on John. He quizzes him on the ten commandments, with Proctor only missing one, “thou shall not commit adultery”.

092b1803fcbe2b22f95acc4e80a44847

Proctor reveals that Abigail told him that the witchcraft was all joke. Hale is confused as many have confessed, although if they hadn’t they would have hanged. As Hale ponders this,  Francis Nurse and Giles Corey burst in reavealing that their wives, Rebecca and Martha (both good Christian women) were taken. Hale is in shock, as is the Proctors when policeman come to take Elizabeth away. They check Elizabeth’s poppet, given to her by Mary, and find a needle in it. This is proof of witchcraft, as apparently Abigail has been saying that Elizabeth has been tormenting her with her witchy spirit. She was just taken under affliction and a needle found stabbed in her stomach, exactly where it was in the poppet.

After Elizabeth is taken, John loses his temper and convinces Mary to reveal the truth, that everything was a game.

Corey, Nurse, John, & Mary all burst in the court and try and show that it has all been a lie. Putnam had his daughter name people to get land and Abigail was after John. It turns out that Elizabeth won’t hang as she is pregnant, but John won’t let up.  Mary turns on him and calls him a devil, the girls all start screaming it too.

miller-s-crucible-movie-ryder

John yells out that Abigail is a whore.

John Proctor: It is a whore’s vengeance

Now the game has changed as John reveals all. He tells them how he and Abigail were together and his wife threw her out and Abigail is out revenge. This is a serious charge as no one would announce themself a lecher. The Judge asks whether or not Elizabeth is a truthful person and will reveal that is the reason why she kicked Abigail out. After John and the others convince the Judge of Elizabeth’s character, he decides to bring her in to settle the whole thing. He first has Abigail and John face him, they are not allowed to turn around. He then has Elizabeth come in, and questions whether or not her husband has committed adultery. Elizabeth faces the judge but can’t say that her husband sinned, she loves him too much and doesn’t want to hurt him. John is then called a witch and sentenced to be hanged.

Abigail realizes that even though they sentenced John to keep the court from being a mockery, no one trusts her and all believe her to be a whore. She steals away in the dead of night with all of Rev. Parris’ money.

It is hanging time and the Judges, Hale, & Parris are all hoping to get a confession out of Proctor. Proctor doesn’t want to, but after they bring Elizabeth to him, he wants to be there for the baby. He goes to sign his confession, but won’t say he saw anyone else with the devil. Proctor may be willing to give in and denounce himself, but won’t take anyone down with him, he’s too honest for that. He signs the confession, but takes the paper back. (This scene is really powerful as DDL gives an amazing performance.) The leaders want to nail the confession to the door, but he won’t let them, as he can’t have his sons living in shame. Ultimately he takes back his confession and decides to die an honest man.

How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

Rebecca, Mariah, & John are all hanged as they say the Lord’s Prayer. This is to prove they are not witches, as it was believed that nobody in league with the Devil could recite the prayer.

CrucibleHanging

It is a really powerful film and a must see for anyone. Not only is it historical fiction and a suspense/horror film (Suspror), but the issues expressed in it are not something that can be pinpointed to one time, but constantly crop up through the ages. When something strange is going on, or when one is afraid; often they latch out and try to hunt out “the cause” picking one to be the scapegoat and hold the blame.

Here is a cover page/poster I made for my countdown to Halloween. Enjoy 😀

23