I saw the movie based on this book, several times as a matter of fact, and was haunted by the story and characters and message for a long while. So, I decided to try out the book as well.
The story was fast-paced without sacrificing good writing and attention to detail. The author pulled you into most of the scenes and made you feel the emotions of most of the various characters. The characters were fairly complex, human, and grew throughout the book.
On the other hand, I felt that the character of the stranger (the preacher who camped by the rivier) didn't ring quite true. My biggest problem was with his dialogue. I could understand that he may have been practicing his Bible if he thought he was alone in his camp. I could even see him speaking the words of the Bible if he thought that he had a hidden audience. And, he did explain that he little experience with children.
But, didn't he know how to speak anything but "Bible"? The best, most evangilistic ministers with whom I had experience knew how to speak to people in their own language and how to draw on their own and others'sexperiences to get the point accross. Even Jesus did that. His Parables are one example.
The story provided a satisfying conclusion. Here, the preaching blended well with the story. I did think it unrealistic that the kids, who had only had two or three sessions with the stranger, could quote the Bible so well. In that area only, I felt that the climax in the movie. The message of salvation and redemption sounded much more natural and childlike.
On the whole, though, I found this to be an excellent book and I recommend it. Setting aside the Christian messege, it is a good historical novel. However, I don't think that the story could have been told without the message of redemption. That was the point.
As for those who have seen the movie or would like to, the movie parallels the book. But, the book delves deeper into the back stories of the characters, fleshes them out, and fills in the holes in the movie's plot.
I have read other books by Francine Rivers and this was totally different, but a wonderful story. I would recommend it to any one, but you will need to stick with the story for awhile and then you will reap the reward..
Francine Rivers never lets me down. Believable characters, compelling storytelling. Excellent historical fiction writer. Love that her stories point you straight to Jesus!
Wonderful! One of the best books I have ever read.
Francine Rivers always out does herself in getting the message of our Lord across... Even in an environment that leans on the old ways from the old country to take care of their sins... This book also has some color photos from the movie... a must read if you like Francine Rivers, smile.dg