Ahhh…reading! Just the thought of a good book makes me smile. It has been some time since I’ve been able to stow away and read a book just for the pleasure of reading a book. My favorite type of story is one that carries me away to another place and time, a period piece, with golden threads of history woven through it. These are not easy books to write. An author will often spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject before they can even begin to put pen to paper, because most readers expect the historical account to be accurate; especially if it is a time or place that is familiar to them.
I recently found Hope. She is a promising young author, published by Great Waters Press.
The chief publishers of Great Waters Press are Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of a 2011 Book of the Year – Raising Real Men. Hope’s first book, Book One of The Promised Land, is titled A Cry From Egypt. It is written for ages 8 and up, and it is a superlative first effort!
Hope has researched Ancient Egypt for several years. Her interest was kindled when she was 13 years old and her family was studying it. Have you ever wondered how it would have been to live in Egypt during the time of the devastating plagues and the Hebrew slaves being set free? What it would have been like to experience The Promised Land, first-hand? Author Hope Auer has brought a cast of characters to life from this time, using her knowledge of Ancient Egypt, the few facts that are recorded about this period; and the Biblical account. She takes no liberties with Scripture and maintains historical accuracy, while telling a fascinating story as it is lived by a 12 year old slave girl, Jarah, her family and friends.
A Cry From Egypt is set around the time of events beginning in the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, through the 10 plagues on Egypt; and culminating with chapter 12 –
“…I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.”
“…I will plague your whole country with frogs.”
“…and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”
“…I will send swarms of flies on you…”
“…the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field…”
“…festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”
“…I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt…”
“…I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.”
“…and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.”
“Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…”
These verses are foundational to the story, yet they are never directly referenced. Hope has interlaced a believable story of possibilities with the Truth. We see compassion, hatred, fear, forgiveness, unbelief, faith; and more, but it is clearly a story, not a sermon. Through the characters, we have the freedom to question and explore, Who is Yahweh? Can we know Him? Does He hear our pleas for deliverance, help or salvation? We’re reminded of God’s perfect timing and His great love for us. We connected with Jarah and could openly discuss what it means to trust Yahweh. Will she be willing to trust Him to lead her to the promised land? Would we?
I chose to read this aloud to my older teens and down. I read a few chapters at a time and then we would discuss it, not because we were having “school” but because it genuinely prompted stimulating conversation. One evening we spent a chunk of time on, “How do you determine whether or not someone is being punished justly or abused before you step-in? Is it ever okay to step-in? What is the Biblical basis for your answer? Where do we stand as a family?”
I finished the book first by myself, because I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how Hope was going to write this, whether she’d mention that; and what happened to them? I wasn’t disappointed. The only issue I had was in finishing the chapter tease for Book Two, found at the end of A Cry From Egypt, and realizing it’s not yet written and I can’t purchase it! Oh my, can I wait patiently or not? That is the question.
You can purchase an advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt, for $12.50. Scroll to the bottom of the Raising Real Men Web Page, right-hand side; and see Contact Us to email Hal and Melanie Young or find them on facebook – Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys and Great Waters Press.
My Crew mates had the opportunity to read A Cry From Egypt or another new book published by Great Works Press – Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. You can read their reviews when you click the banner below.
Hope is a homeschool graduate, and so is her illustrator, Mike Slaton. This knowledge was an encouragement to me as I teach my own artists, musicians and writers. It also spoke volumes to my children because it is a positive, hopeful, published writing by one-like-them. On a more basic level, my 8 year old daughter liked the action of the story and enjoyed the fact that Jarah has an 8 year old little sister and older brothers just like she has. It is simply a good book and that makes me smile.