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?

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By Boat, By Train, By Foot, By Plane

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28) Somewhere You Would Like to Move to or Visit

There are actually quite a few places I would love to visit. As you all know, I’m all about history and art history so I would like to eventually travel the world and see some of these things.

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1) Italy

I’ve always wanted to see Venice, Rome, Florence, & Sicily. There’s the Sistine Chapel, the colosseum, Masaccio’s works, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci…I could go on and on.

Italian Job

For more in Italy, go to I Don’t Want to Own You, I Just Want to Be With You: A Room With a View (1985)

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2) Denmark

As stated before, I am Danish and really want to visit the country. I would love to go to the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, along with other

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3) Mexico

I have already been here once, but there is still so much I want to see, Chitzen Itza being one of them.

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4) Egypt

I have been obsessed with Egypt ever since I was young, I guess I saw The Mummy one too many times. I have always loved looking at the Pyramids and really want to see them in person one day. Although I probably die from heatstroke. 🙂 J/K

mummy

For more on Egypt, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

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5) England

Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Downton Abbey, North & South, Charles Dickens, the Beatles, the Who, etc. Some of the best things have come out of England and I would love to go visit, instead of reading about it.

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For more on England, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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6) Greece

Once again the Art and architecture call me to them. Not to mention the island of Crete and Mount Olympus.

I can do this....just have to wait for the right time

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7) China

I have always wanted to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Always.

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8) France

The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Impressionist artwork, etc. I would love to see this place as well.

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

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9) Prince Edward Island

I LOVE Anne of Green Gables and really, really want to see the place. REALLY, really bad.

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For more on Prince Edward Island, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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10) Ireland

I took a class on Irish History and just fell in love with it. I really want to visit it now.

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11) Scotland

I have always wanted to visit Loch Ness and try and spot the Loch Ness Monster (it’s out there). And after seeing Braveheart and reading The Cat Who Series I was introduced into Scotland and it’s history, making me want to visit even more.

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12) All 50 States of the United States

I love American history as it is so interesting and complex. One day I want to visit every one of our states and every monument. So far I have been to Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Only 42 left to go. 🙂

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Ya Bothering Me

Your Secret is Safe With Me: Roman Holiday (1953)

Romantic Moment #5

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Roman Holiday (1953)

This film stars Audrey Hepburn (I looooooooooove her!) and gorgeous Gregory Peck. Roman Holiday is Audrey’s first film, and it is such an amazing one! Here we go.

Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is visiting Rome on her tour of European capitals to spread goodwill. While in Rome, she has a nervous breakdown; she can’t continue appointment after appointment after appointment. She is given a sedative, but before she knocks out she escapes, in hopes of having a fun night out.

Meanwhile, American journalist (and gambler) Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) is looking for a break, anything to get out of Rome and back to the U.S.

The two cross paths when Ann’s sedative knocks her out on a bench and Joe discovers her while walking to get a cab. He tries to send her off in a cab, just thinking she is drunk but she says she lives in the Colosseum so he feels he can’t just leave her (besides the cabbie wants nothing to do with her). He brings her home where he puts her on his couch and he gets on the bed. The next day, Ann’s advisors put out a story about her being “sick” to the papers and cancel all appointments while they are looking for her. Bradley overslept, but hurries over to the newspaper office and realizes that the girl in his apartment is Princess Ann. He decides that he is going to get an exclusive interview and his one way ticket back to NY. He makes a bet with his boss that he will get the exclusive. He and Ann spend the day together, with Joe’s friend and photographer Irving Radovich. Irving takes tons of photographs, most of them of Ann not depicting the most princess-y behavior, such as getting in a fight at a dance. Its one great holiday and the two fall in love; but both realize that it could never work out, and Ann returns to the embassy.

Most Romantic Moment:

So Irving and Joe get all kinds of footage of Ann doing stuff. Her new haircut, at the Mouth of Truth, and the crazy, memorable fight at the dance. Even more than that, Ann tells him she wishes she could have a normal life. This is some good stuff, probably worth a LOOOT of money. I mean an EXCLUSIVE interview with a royal that has just been out of her country for the first time and never been interviewed by anyone. But instead of keeping it and selling it, making a bunch of money he refuses.

crazy

That’s right! Joe waves good-bye to the chance of a lifetime! To the big bucks!

Goodbye now!

Goodbye now!

Irving thinks he’s stupid to even consider not taking this chance:

Irving Radovich: She’s fair game, Joe. It’s always open season on princesses.

But because he loves her, he decides that he will throw the chance out the window. He will lose his bet and be in further debt to not only his boss but landlord. He will stay in Rome, the city that he has grown to despise.

Ann doesn’t know this decision, she doesn’t even know that Joe was a photogrspher, he had lied so she would be real with him. When she sees him at the press conference she is upset, but covers, and Joe makes sure that she knows that he will keep her secret.

Reporter: And what, in the opinion of Your Highness, is the outlook for friendship among nations?

Princess Ann: I have every faith in it… as I have faith in relations between people.

Joe Bradley: May I say, speaking for my own… press service: we believe Your Highness’s faith will not be unjustified.

Princess Ann: I am so glad to hear you say it.

 In the end, even Irving comes around and gives her the photographs, intending on destroying the negatives and being done.

He's so romantic

He’s so romantic

It is just so sweet and romantic!

Awwwwwww!!!!

Awwwwwww!!!!