Have you ever read a book that was so filled with raw and powerful truth that you felt sick afterwards? A book that was so descriptive that it made your stomach tie up into knots? That’s what A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, did to me.
When I first saw A Voice in the Wind in Barnes & Noble, I was thirteen. I skimmed through it and came across a few parts that made me put it back on the shelf. I wasn’t ready to read it then. But a few months ago I found my curiosity about it coming back and I decided that I was ready to read it now. I will never regret that choice.
The story opens in Jerusalem, during the destruction of the city. Hadassah had traveled to Jerusalem with her family as they did every year, but this year they arrived right in time for the Romans to invade. Hadassah’s father went out to preach about Jesus to them, as he’d always done, and he didn’t return. Hadassah, her little sister Leah and her brother Mark are all starving. When their mother dies of starvation they know it’s only a matter of time.
When a Roman soldier bursts in upon them and kills Mark, Hadassah throws herself over her little sister in a desperate attempt to save her life. But instead of killing them as well, the soldier takes them to a place where prisoners are kept. Leah dies soon afterwards and Hadassah isn’t expected to live either.
The journey that brings Hadassah to Rome and to the house of Valerian is long and perilous. Hadassah is thought to be a little Jewess and she should have been sent to the coliseum. But Enoch, loyal servant in the Valerian household, took pity on the Jews that were taken off the boat and bought them to serve his master. Hadassah meets Phoebe and Decimus Valerian and is soon introduced to their daughter, Julia, to whom Hadassah is to be a maid. Julia is a selfish young girl who is out for her own pleasure, and her selfishness grows as the book goes on.
But Hadassah also meets Marcus Valerian, Julia’s brother. Marcus is a very handsome young man and a rather promiscuous man as well. He doesn’t find Hadassah at all attractive when he first meets her. But when he comes upon her praying quietly to God in the gardens, his curiosity about her is sparked. There’s something about Hadassah that affects everyone. The peace that is so evident on her face fascinates Marcus. She is humble, faithful and virtuous. That is something very different from what Marcus is used to in women.
Marcus and Hadassah fall in love, but Marcus wants something from her that Hadassah cannot give. And Hadassah knows that loving Marcus is wrong. He is not a Christian and she could never marry someone who didn’t believe as she did. Marcus cannot understand this, he doesn’t believe in her ‘unseen god’ as he calls Him and he doesn’t think Hadassah should believe in such a God either.
When it is discovered that Hadassah is not a Jew, but a Christian, her life is put in danger…and Julia’s friendship with a woman called Calabah only feeds Julia’s self-importance and turns her heart hard and cold towards Hadassah.
A Voice in the Wind is a powerful novel of faith in the face of certain death. With the added character of a gladiator called, Atretes, who falls for Julia’s charms and passion, the book brings forward another opportunity for Hadassah to share her faith. Throughout the entire book, through every indiscretion made by Julia and Marcus, Hadassah is right there to gently bring forth her own faith and beliefs.
This book had several frightening, tense moments as well. Julia’s depravity increases throughout the story and Hadassah feels as though she fails her mistress over and over again as she continues to see Julia fall into terrible sins and walk down the path of destruction.
Hadassah knows that her time is up when Julia tries to force her, in a public place, to recant her faith. Don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending. 😉
A Voice in the Wind spoke to my heart. It made me want to have a faith like Hadassah’s. She wasn’t afraid to keep her faith. And when confronted with it for the first time, she didn’t deny it to Marcus or his parents. She admitted it, and was proud to do so, though she knew that it would probably mean death. This book presented a picture of what we are supposed to be every day. A humble, faithful servant. Hadassah did not just serve the Valerians, she served God with all her heart, mind, soul and strength. Her love for Him never faltered.
Hadassah’s peace and faithfulness left a mark on Marcus’s heart. And, though she didn’t know it yet, it left a mark on Julia’s heart as well. Hadassah started a great work in the Valerian household…and it doesn’t end with A Voice in the Wind!
This book is definitely worth reading. If you are sensitive to descriptive violence and certain immoral implications, then perhaps this isn’t exactly the book for you. But not only does it show the faith and strength that we’re all supposed to have, it gives you a picture into the depravity of the times and what a small slave girl might have suffered.
A Voice in the Wind affected me the way no other book has. It was so very powerful and true. Hadassah’s simple faith brought her such a great peace that Marcus just couldn’t understand, no matter how she tried to explain it to him.
Marcus’s story doesn’t end here. But that book is for another day….
Coming Soon: ‘It was as though I’d been dead my whole life and was suddenly alive….’ Look for my review of An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers, soon!!