Beautifully researched history, evocative scenery, genuine questions and dilemmas, plus a haunting depiction of God’s interaction with real people, all work together to make Mesu Andrews Love in a Broken Vessel a classic in the vein of Lloyd Douglas’ The Robe, Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur, Rosemary Sutcliffe or Taylor Caldwell. The warring worlds of Judah and Israel come to vivid life. Political threats and alliances, military schemes, business and betrayal form a convincing background to the tale of one loving man and the girl he fell for back when they were children. But Hosea has left his native Israel and grown up under the tutelage of Amos and Jonah. He's a prophet allied with the half-royal Isaiah and eager young Micah. Meanwhile Gomer has been sold into harlotry. She’s good, very good at what she does, but she’s learned to trust no-one. Nobody stays. Nobody means what they say, except when it’s bad.
Sadly much of what God has to say may seem bad, even as coincidence or guidance bring the childhood friends back together. Why would a good God make a good king sick? How can a forgiving God declare he’ll never forgive Israel's harlotry? And how, after laying claim to unforgiving anger, can God then turn around expecting thanks for the gift of healing? Does the harlot symbolize all that God despises, or perhaps all he seeks to redeem? And how can Hosea’s love be trusted if his first loyalty is to God?
Author Mesu Andrews reminds her characters that God speaks in different ways, while giving her readers pleasing insights into how God’s voice might be heard. In the gentle wind, in the dream, in fire, in love, God finds a way, and this story reveals how love can both heal and be healed, how forgiveness is never impossible, and how God’s kindness might win through. Beautifully blending Biblical references, well-researched history and well-told imagination, Love in a Broken Vessel is deeply human and genuinely enthralling. I shall definitely lend this one to my Mum when next she visits, and I'll look forward to reading more by this author.
Disclosure: I met the author and bought her book, then she signed it. Lucky me!