A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith

HANNAH'S STORY

I had started a few months ago by reviewing another series and still plan to continue with it but after a little detour.  I have two very wonderful authors who write in the Christian Fiction genre that have new books out, so I am excited about them and wanted to make sure I got my review posted as they are very newly published.

I am a confusing individual….  One moment I am reading MC Romance Fiction and the next Christian fiction followed by a textbook of some sort after.  I can never get enough to read or to learn.  I wonder if you are like that as well.  When I can add a fact or two in a discussion and people look at me in surprise and ask, “how in the world do you know that?”  I just laugh and tell them I read all kinds of books and you never know what I have stored away.  It can be priceless depending on the bit of information I put out there!

Why Christian Fiction?  I am a Christian who is always searching for something I have yet to put my finger on.  I want more, more, more but what is the more I am looking for?  I don’t know.  When I read I feel I am getting closer to knowing what that might be, but I am still not sure. It seems closer, but still too far away.  What I can say about reading fiction is that if I can find a lesson I need to give more thought to then I have found a wonderful author and story.  If that author can make me understand a Bible story that has been a little vague or make me see it in a whole new light with new possibilities, then I have found something worthwhile.

Jill Eileen Smith has done precisely that with her newest book, “A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story”.  When I heard this book was coming out, I wanted to read it, but I also didn’t.  Hannah’s story has always made me so sad and because of that, I kept thinking …. “No, I can’t, I’m not ready”.  Hannah was placed in such a sad situation.  She had married expecting to have children but didn’t and all believe she never would.  Then she was delivered of another blow.  Her husband took another wife and she would have to share him.  Could it get any worse for such a woman?  Yes, she received blow after blow of mocking and hatred from not only others but this second wife of her beloved husband’s who gave him the children she desired.  For years, Hannah pleaded for God to deliver her a child and then came the day in grief and desolation Hannah made a vow to God.  If he gave her the son she desperately wanted, she would give him back to God when he was old enough to leave her.  Hannah fulfills that vow to God.  Would I have had the strength to do so?  No…. simply no.

 

Jill Eileen Smith brings Hannah story alive and creates a beautiful story of love, acceptance, trust and ultimately forgiveness.  Hannah truly loves the Lord, and even after years of being barren, of being mocked, of feeling that she has lost her beloved husband, she still placed her trust in God.  We read of a woman who was kind even to her “enemy” the second wife of her husband who treated her so badly.  We read of a woman whose trust in God would be greatly rewarded.

But let me tell you what else we read…. we read of a husband who is pulled in so many directions that he cannot grasp what to do and the stress is heavy on his heart.  He loves Hannah as his beloved and it did not matter if she was barren or not for she is all he wanted.  However, his family intervenes and pushes him to take a second wife.  Elkanah is devastated but does as his family and even Hannah has asked of him.  He knows not what to do to bring peace in his family, and he hurts for the pain he knows Hannah hides.  His beloved is his heart and although he cares for his second wife and loves the children she gave him, he is not fully at peace.

We also read about the second wife and her view.  Her jealousy of Hannah, her love of Elkanah and the pain of feeling unwanted.  It was indeed an eye-opener to view Hannah’s nemesis in a different light. And there is one of the lessons…. what is behind the actions of others?

The dynamics of the family unit created by Elkanah and his two wives are shown by the author to have suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. Through these dynamics and the ending, she provides, the author gives the reader some thoughts to dwell on.  A Christian will not help but think are we living up to the example Hannah set in her love of God?  Have we placed our complete trust in God as she did through the storms we face in our lives?

 

“A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story” is beautiful and one you will enjoy from the first to the last page.  I hope you give it chance and I would love to hear your comments and if you feel the same as I do.

Enjoy Hannah’s story!

 

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Legally and Lawfully Yours by author Anita Stansfield

Publication Date:  August 1, 2015 Publisher: Covenant Communications  256 Pages

Publication Date:
August 1, 2015

Domestic violence is all around us.  If we aren’t living it, then it is knowledge we have of someone’s existence but we continue on.  If we are living it or it is thrown in our faces through another means it becomes all too real.  We when see it looking in, our hearts break for those carrying the bruises on the outside and the tortured souls on the inside.  We scream it isn’t right!  It isn’t fair!  Those living through such trauma scream the same things along with louder screams of pain.

Anita Stansfield wrote “Legally and Lawfully Yours” in which varying levels of meanings can be seen.  One level is of a young woman who, through diligence and hard work, has finally reached her goal of being a top attorney in New York City.  Her personal life is in shambles after her fiancée cheated.  Her brother is in prison and her co-workers make her life miserable to the point she hides herself away.  She has to ask herself “what now?”

When she gets a message from her brother about his kids, Shannon jumps right into action to check on them.  Their mother has never been a favorite of Shannon’s due to her drug life style and lack of motherly affection.  What Shannon finds at the house has her fighting to keep her brother’s children until he is released and can be there as their father.

Level two comes in to play.  Domestic Abuse!  Shannon and her brother, Greg, were children abused by their parents and ultimately became a part of the foster care system and separated.  Having lived through this, both Shannon and Greg, took different paths in life but shaped none the less by their childhoods.  When seeing her niece and nephew living a nightmare her own past insecurities and memories surface and she must fight those demons and rely on her training and her love to make a better life for all of them. Contacting social services Shannon puts into motion a plan to get the kids legally and take them away.  She has survived and she will make sure that Neil and Jeanie do as well.

Now level three.  Shannon and Greg had never been exposed to God nor attended a church.  While in prison, Greg attends Bible classes and through his faith in God has become a changed man.  He speaks of prayer and faith to Shannon which he never has done before. Shannon believes there is a higher power but has never prayed and doesn’t even know where to begin.  Following a “calming” feeling Shannon lets herself  be lead to Sugar City, where she feels home may just be for them.  There she finds people who genuinely care for her, Neil and Jeanie.  She learns of acceptance, kindness and generosity.  Most importantly she learns of God.  Through the love of Philip and his Mother Marj, she and the kids learn how to live by faith and trust in the Lord.  Having God in their lives, going to church and becoming a family soon have not only Neil and Jeanie but Shannon quickly on their way to healing.

Anita Stansfield has a wonderful, heartwarming story here within “Legally and Lawfully Yours”.  She has characters whose feelings are based upon being a victim of abuse so for some people this may be hard to read.  She has drama.  She has layers of psychological emotions that her characters deal with. She has faith and learning to trust God and live again with people who love and not hurt.  If I could give a hint to the author for another book with these characters it would be a story about Greg and possibly Ceclia.  New beginnings for both of them!

One last note, a personal note of domestic abuse….understanding, love and patience can go a long way toward healing.  Healing will bring about an inner strength that the “victim” inside never knew was there but just needed to be shown existed.

I am a domestic abuse survivor and no longer a victim!

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1YPTnND