Simplistic, feel-good fare.

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LOVE LIFTED ME

The third installment of Evans’ Christ-centered drama about a woman who is redeemed through submitting to God and forgiving her husband.

As the novel opens Jade and Max Benson’s marriage is just about over. Max is in rehab (again) for prescription-drug abuse and Jade is at their home in Tennessee, raising Max’s 2-year-old lovechild Asa (right before their wedding, Max had a fling with his ex-fiancé Rice, issuing forth Asa, now with Max since Rice’s death in a plane crash a few months prior). Jade has fallen in love with Asa but is wondering if she can ever trust Max again. When he returns, Max is a changed man—clean, committed to Jade and recommitted to living a life in Christ. Just one little thing—he wants to leave Tennessee and the prestigious law practice he’s inherited to coach high-school football in small-town Texas. He is asking Jade to leave behind her friends and the successful vintage-clothing store she’s built, as well as their home and the comfortable life of a lawyer’s wife, but they feel this is what God wants them to do. Why God wants Max to coach high-school ball remains unclear, and it is suspicious that God’s will and Max’s childhood dream are conveniently aligned. Initially, life in Texas, where those Friday Night lights are a serious concern, is disastrous. Max fires assistant coaches, loses games and infuriates the town, all of which alienates Jade. But that’s not all Jade has to worry about—more pressing issues emerge on the way to the resolution.

Simplistic, feel-good fare.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59554-491-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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