The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

First of all, I liked the intelligent writing of Heidi. If you read this book, you’re going to have to pay attention to the words, not just skim and speed read. Mrs. Chiavaroli does have a gift, a talent from God for writing interesting historical fiction. The book was very interesting, and even grippingly suspenseful at some points. Gritty, even. Part of the story revolves around a school shooting.

There were 2 rape scenes in this book, so be forewarned. She mentions Chris Tomlin as a Christian musician. In my opinion, he’s not. Christian Contemporary Music has successfully watered down most worship into carnality and idolatry. This book, in my opinion, could present a stronger, firmer Christian perspective than what it does.

Now, if God gives you a talent, and you tell people you’re a good Christian, shouldn’t you use that talent to glorify Him as much as possible? In my opinion, I think the author, in her own way, was trying her best to present all 3 main stories, and sub-stories, in a good way, but I must say I didn’t like the shaky morality in her book, and, her philosophy of no moral absolutes was easily recognized through her book. Each character hid behind a facade, and the fiance of the hanged Nathan Hale, Mercy, was the one who rationalized her lies more adamantly than Natalie, the mother of Chris and Maelynn.

I can’t say her book was uplifting spiritually, and some of the factors that helped me come to this conclusion were: some of the character’s rationalizing of habitual, lifestyle lies, her mention of Yoga (!) and “vibes”, which are both evil, and so foreign to true Christianity that it should not be used in conjunction with Christianity. So, vibes and yoga, were strikes against it, then she mentioned the movie, The Patriot, which should NEVER be in the video library of ANY serious, born again Christian. The Patriot has graphic violence, and that, my friend, is something Jesus does not condone ANYWHERE in a Christian’s life. Also, one of her characters had gone through a horrible ordeal, and she has the woman thinking the Word of God might be lies. Blasphemy! Jesus says: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The thing that bothers me MOST about this book is, it’s marketed as being CHRISTIAN Historical Fiction. If Mrs. Chiavaroli had sold this book under secular, non-Christian advertising, I’d have no problem with it.
She won an ACFW Genesis award. What’s ACFW? https://www.acfw.com/about ~ “ACFW’s mission is to advance Christian Fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.”

In my opinion, this is not a Christian book, it’s a secular book. No where in the bible does God condone lying, or worshiping other gods, (Hinduism, et al.) which is what yoga is. To make one of the main characters practice yoga is inconsistent with pure Christianity.  I was dismayed to see these things presented in a good light.

I did like her story about Natalie, Mike, Chris, and Maelynn. It brought up a good point: parents are sometimes CLUELESS and in denial about their teens, which can lead to all kinds of sin and disaster. She took a heavy subject, and at least brought some awareness of the problems that contribute to tragedies like that in families.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


 

Advertisements

A Dangerous Legacy~ an introduction to moral relativism?

Book Review for A Dangerous Legacy, author Elizabeth Camden

This was an interesting, well-written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth Camden truly has a
gift from GOD for writing books that will absorb the attention of the reader. The story takes place in New York City, in 1903, and Mrs. Camden has done her research to provide her patrons with plenty of details,
intriguing plots, and engrossing characters. I did, for about half the time, enjoy reading A Dangerous Legacy, but I have to say some things about several events presented by the author in her novel, which I disagree with.

First of all, Camden’s  fans know she has won a Christy award, which is given to authors of Christian novels that portray excellence, imagination, and creativity in Christian writing.  So, naturally, readers will trust this book to be good and decent.  Which is one of the very reasons why I chose to read this book.
Mrs. Camden has won the RITA award for a book she wrote under the Inspirational Romance category,
which is fine, but I’m wondering if she is straying away, far away, from Christian romance in general, based on this book’s story?

Examples: The main characters, Lucy Drake and her brother Nick, are busy illegally installing water pumps and valves that bring water to apartment renters, making it easier for them to have water in their homes. The installation is phrased as “not technically legal”.
An excuse is given to the reader for this infraction of the law, under the heading of Christianity. False teachings, IMO.  Morality is not a neutral concept.
Another example: Lucy is a telegrapher, and her brother spliced a single wire into the Western Union cables, therefore Lucy is able to eavesdrop on private transmissions of another person. The author outright acknowledged in the book, via Lucy’s thoughts, that it’s illegal,and her characters, Lucy and Nick, know they could end up in jail.

They KEPT breaking the law ANYWAYS.
Christian ethics? Not on your life! This was just wrong. If you’re going to write this kind of novel, please don’t call it Christian.
Another example, which really disheartened me, and made me decide to write this review: Lucy and Nick hire a “slick” lawyer to draw up papers that basically propose extortion.

What does God say in the bible about extortion? 1 Corinthians 6:10 [9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“Technically”, the protagonists did NOT commit extortion, but the reader is swept up and along in the
confusing muddle  of “what if they do?” Lucy and Nick were prepared to extort money, in case the person they were threatening didn’t give in to their demands.   Morality is not relative.  Extortion presented as she did, is still immoral.
In conclusion, I can not recommend this book as a Christian book. Not in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps Mrs. Camden will apply Christian rules to her future books, and  stay with bible morals as outlined in the bible, not as presented by MORAL RELATIVISM.

The other thing that bothers me is, because of the ethical dilemmas she presented in her book, she might actually cause another Christian to stumble, it is a possibility!
I’ll browse through her follow-up book, but with healthy skepticism.

I give this book a thumbs-down as a Christian historical fiction novel.

New Christian Authors for You

I participated in a Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, and found some new authors I’d like to share with you.

First is Carrie Turansky.  She’s writing a new book about about British Home Children, aka orphanages in England in the 1860s through 1930s.  Here’s her Pinterest page telling a bit more about the research she has done so far:

Another author whose books I’m already familiar with is Elizabeth Camden: http://elizabethcamden.com/

Her newest book is A Daring Adventure, and you can read more about it here:  https://www.amazon.com/Daring-Venture-Elizabeth-Camden/dp/0764218824/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1519952409&sr=8-1

Her other newer book is A Dangerous Legacy, which you can read about here:  http://elizabethcamden.com/books/a-dangerous-legacy

Right now I’m reading a free copy of a book from a brand new author, James Sarjent, called “There’s a Hole”.  I’ll give a review as soon as I’m finished, but so far, it’s good.  The review posted so far does not really do it justice.  Good advice:  read book reviews, but in the end, make your OWN decisions.  I think this book is a fun read about a mystery, and it’s clean-cut and suitable for Christian bookshelves. 

I’m also reading through Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel, The Memory Weaver, which is proving to be another good Christian historical fiction story:  http://jkbooks.com/Pages/memory_weaver.html

Book Review~ Before We Were Yours

I liked this book immensely, but it was emotionally draining on me.  I’m glad to have read it, though, and I recommend it to you.

Before We Were Yours~ by Lisa Wingate

This is a riveting historical fiction book based on true events. The Tennessee Children’s Home Society, run by Georgia Tann, a wicked, greedy, heartless lesbian, who came from an upper class family. Her father was a judge. The book tells the stories of Rill and her siblings, who were basically kidnapped by the local crooked police, and taken to the orphanage to live until Miss Tann could sell them, and the story of Avery Stafford, a woman whose grandmother had some mysterious ties to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The book goes back and forth between Rill’s life and Avery’s quest for answers.

Chapter 1 takes place in the present day in Aiken, South Carolina. This chapter is told from Avery Stafford’s perspective. Then, in other chapters, you read about Rill, and how she and her siblings were wrenched from their home on a shantyboat in the river, and placed at the mercy of the orphanage’s cruel director and employees. Both viewpoints were well written, and intensely interesting, although I wish Lisa Wingate had focused more on the orphan’s lives than on Avery the single unmarried female lawyer who had doubts about her fiancee.

The heart wrenching sexual abuse and physical neglect that occurred all the time in the children’s home society was sordid and reprehensible. How the children survived,the ones who did, was difficult for me to understand, but I’m glad many children did. I found out, from OTHER sources, not this book, that infants were left to die, starved to death, or worse. My heart was so sad and also I was infuriated that this happened, and STILL happens, as you can tell if you watch the news on tv. Not in orphanages in the USA, but in other situations.

The other thing that bothered me was the amount of corruption and lack of conscience in judges, police, and the employees of Ms. Tann. Georgia had many accomplices:  Politicians, legislators, judges, attorneys, doctors, nurses, and social workers who scouted child victims.  She operated for 26 years.
I admit I stayed up past midnight one night, to get as far along in the book as I could, it evoked so much interest and concern in me. (Obviously, by the fact that over 5 thousand others have written reviews about “Before We Were Yours”, I wasn’t the only one who got a lot out of this historical fiction book) The book has raised a lot of questions in me, and I’ve been finding out as much as I can concerning child trafficker Georgia Tann, and the plight of the babies and children who were taken from their families under false pretenses, threats, and downright breaking of the law.
This story makes me wonder about orphanages in general, but more about the outrageous disgraceful sin of child trafficking.

A woman, Denny Glad, used to help people in Tennessee and who had been at the facility run by Georgia Tann, find their birth parents. Sadly, she has died:
http://www.dailybastardette.com/denny-glad-another-light-goes-out/

There’s quite a bit more information about this travesty, and if you’re interested, here are a few links to get you going on your own search.

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-08-20/news/vw-882_1_unsolved-mysteries

http://www.175moments.com/moments/georgia-tann-investigated-black-market-baby-selling-network.php?r=2
http://www.nchgs.org/html/a_story_of_stolen_babies.html
https://www.joancrawfordbest.com/articlememphis95.htm

The subject of Georgia Tann also appears in an episode of Investigation Discovery’s series Deadly Women titled “Above the Law” that aired September 13, 2013 and also appeared on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2965638/

The subject of Georgia Tann is the focus of the nonfiction book, The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, The Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption, by Barbara Bisantz Raymond.

Georgia Tann ~ Pedophile, Kidnapper, and Liar

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/tennessee-tears-george-john-curtis/1008041663/2678205892041?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_New+Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP164949&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7PzE7I2k2QIVkR2BCh0IuQv9EAQYBCABEgLfi_D_BwE

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/what-ever-happened-to-baby-james-don-w-boehner/1119075462/2679025769056?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_New+Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP164949&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7PzE7I2k2QIVkR2BCh0IuQv9EAQYAyABEgKDAPD_BwE

 

One Glorious Ambition~ the Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix

I finished Jane Kirkpatrick’s marvelous historical fiction book about Dorothea Dix.   Miss Dix was best known for her reformation of the treatment and housing of the mentally ill.  I was impressed with the tenacity and stubbornness of Dorothea, in standing up to legislators, pursuing politics and doing whatever she could to get people to view the mentally ill and mentally retarded(who were often imprisoned)  with COMPASSION instead of revulsion or fear.

The visits she made to both public and private institutions for the insane almost broke her heart, but it also infuriated her, which cemented her fervent desire for change and ameliorate socially accepted treatment standards of the 1800s.

The novel is intensely interesting, and keeps the reader wanting to know more and more.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in social history, mental health, or to any Christian who would like more insight into the amazing life of Miss Dorothea Dix. 

 

Matthew 25: [34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
[35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
[36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
[37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
[38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?[39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
[42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
[43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
[44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
[45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
[46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.