I have favorite books for every mood or season of life I’ve experienced. When I rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 (on Good Reads or Amazon), I give 4’s to the novels that are well-written, suspenseful, and engaging. I save the 5’s for those books that mean something more to me.
A 5 is for a novel that has helped me grow as a person, comforted me, filled up a crack or two in my heart, or bolstered my faith in God. I think Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor earned a 5 because it did all of these things. This lovely story brought to life a woman I’ve long admired. Martha was specifically mentioned in Scripture as a friend of Jesus. He felt at home in her house, visited frequently, and trusted her to make his followers comfortable as well. I loved how the author depicted Jesus speaking to Martha’s heart and making Himself a part of her life, as in this excerpt . . .
“The disciples, enjoying a respite after long hours on the road, were in a mood to celebrate. Thomas pulled a kinnor, a small harp, from his sash and began to plunk its strings, sending a simple melody through the courtyard. Mary picked up her lyre and joined in the music. Jesus seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, his eyes dancing with the music. Martha suddenly felt like celebrating with them.
As the hour grew late, Jesus rose from the table and his disciples, ever aware of his movements, rose with him. Martha hated to see them leave. ‘Master, you are welcome to sleep here.’
‘You are kind, Martha, and a generous hostess, but we will retire to the Mount of Olives for the night.’
‘Will you come again?’
He smiled and she was lost in the depths of his eyes. ‘I must travel a long way, but whenever we are in this area again, we will come.’
Jesus glanced to where Thomas and Mary were talking quietly. ‘I believe at least one of my disciples has good reason to return also.’ His eyes danced and Martha was filled with love for him—not the love she’d known with Thaddeus, but a holy love, deep and abiding. It didn’t matter what others said about him. She knew who he was.”
The author created a beautiful inner voice for Martha. I found myself hurting with her as she bids farewell to loved ones, struggles to release cherished dreams, and prepares to embrace a solitary life. The peace that Jesus gives Martha felt real to me. Both those who have experienced that peace—as well as those who are seeking it—will enjoy this novel.
Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the happy ending Diana Wallis Taylor imagined for her sweet main character. Did it happen that way for Martha in real life? Someday I’ll ask her!
***Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Revell for providing my review copy of this book. Don’t miss this uplifting story! Follow this link to purchase your copy.
July Giveaway Contest: At the end of July, I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one fortunate commenter. All you need to do to be entered is comment on any eligible post up until July 31st. (I will label the contest posts.) I will then submit all names to the Random Number Generator to determine a winner. I will submit your name as many times as you comment, but you also have a great chance of winning by commenting on just one post! Today’s post is the First Contest Post.
***So feel free to comment and also tell me if you’d like to be included in the drawing. Or you could just leave a comment to say hello. (We bloggers love that!)
Journey to the Well: You can order Diana’s first book from Amazon.com at this link.
About the author: Diana Wallis Taylor lives with her husband Frank in San Diego, California. Between them they have six grown children and ten grandchildren. She serves on the board of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and is active in Christian Women’s Fellowship. Follow this link to visit Diana’s website.