An Echo In My Heart

After reading A Voice in the Wind, I was very anxious about getting book two in Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series. If you’ve read A Voice in the Wind then you would understand that. My hands were literally shaking when I picked up An Echo in the Darkness for the first time.

The book continues with Marcus Valerian. Noted in the past for his promiscuous behavior, he returns to Rome and his friends don’t think he’s changed. But the truth is, Marcus is changed. He’s disgusted by his friends, and realizes that he was once one of them. But he still doesn’t understand what it was about Hadassah’s God that made her so different.

So he decides to set out on a journey to Judea, to see if he could find God on that mountain, or in the temple in Jerusalem. He wants to see where Hadassah grew up, he wants to be where the woman he loved was. He wants to know what made her different and why she thought her God was so powerful and wonderful when He couldn’t even save her life.

Marcus’s sister, Julia, has been left all alone. All her plans are failed because of the people who used her and then abandoned her. Any fortune she had was taken away, her friend Calabah abandoned her to return to Rome. Julia is ill. Because of her sinful choices of the past, she has come down with disease and infections that could eventually kill her and no matter what she tries to do, nothing seems to be healing her.

We are introduced in the beginning of the book to a physician called Alexander, who is at the arena when Hadassah is led out with the group of Christians to face the lions.

———

If you have read A Voice in the Wind and saw the excerpt for An Echo in the Darkness at the back of the book, then by all means continue. But if you have not read A Voice in the Wind but are planning to, then stop here! Below are major spoilers! If you don’t care about major spoilers, then please continue! 😉

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Alexander saved Hadassah from the arena and has done his best to heal her. Because of the lion’s bite to her leg, she limps and has to rely on a cane and she wears veils over her face to hide the deep scars on her face so she won’t frighten anyone.

Hadassah’s faith hasn’t faltered for a moment. But she knows that she still belongs to the Valerian’s as long as she lives. Facing Marcus is something she doesn’t want to do. She has remained hidden with Alexander, helping him as best she can with his patients, for a year now. But when she runs into Marcus on the streets of Ephesus, those old feelings are stirred. But she knows that their situation is still impossible.

Hadassah still desires to help Julia, even though Julia is the one who sent her to the arena in the first place. Alexander has given Hadassah the name of Rapha, to hide her from her masters. But Hadassah knows what she must do. When Phoebe Valerian suffers a brain seizure and cannot talk, Hadassah learns of Phoebe’s new found faith in the Lord. God has saved Phoebe…but Julia is still dying. Hadassah knows that she needs to return to Julia and help her in any way she can. So she changes her name to Azar and goes to attend Julia.

Marcus’s journey in Judea goes ill when robbers come upon him on a road and leave him wounded. Ezra Barjachin and his daughter Taphatha come upon Marcus and rescue him. While his wounds are healing Ezra gets Marcus to talk about Hadassah and Jesus…while Taphatha falls in love with Marcus. Marcus finds Taphatha very beautiful, but his love for Hadassah doesn’t falter and he leaves the Barjachin home quietly, promising Ezra a thank you gift for saving his life.

Marcus goes to Nain where he meets a stubborn old woman named Deborah. Deborah tells him of Hadassah’s family and Marcus moves into the house where Hadassah used to live. The pain over Hadassah’s loss is still so sharp and terrible and Marcus still hasn’t found any answers here.

His journey continues for so long and Marcus is haunted by the memories of Julia’s betrayal and Hadassah’s fate in the arena. Suddenly he sees his whole life before him and he is convicted of his sin. He realizes that he is deserving of death. It should’ve been him in that arena, not Hadassah. So he judges himself and decides to bring punishment upon himself by stepping into the sea and ending it once and for all. But then he hears someone say his name….

Marcus awakens on the shore thinking that it had all been a dream. He awakens beside a burning fire where a man sits called Paracletos. This man offers him some food and then they speak. They speak of God, of salvation and of faith. Marcus believes for the first time and then Paracletos leaves him, telling him to go to Capernaum and to tell the man at the gate all that has happened.

Hadassah’s life with Julia is much as it was before. Only now she is known as Azar. But Julia has realizes that Azar, like Hadassah is a Christian. All that does is bring back the memories and Julia is riven with guilt over what she did.

Hadassah reveals her true identity only to two people. Phoebe and Prometheus, a young slave boy that she had ministered to before being sent to the arena. When Marcus returns, Hadassah is once again frightened. The fear she had felt before being sent to the arena had washed away when she faced the lions. But now another fear has risen. Fear of what Marcus will think of her if he ever sees her scars.

An Echo in the Darkness like A Voice in the Wind made me cry. This book was so filled with the desire to know what faith meant, what salvation was. It was the perfect picture of people who were lost and then found. Of those who were blind but now see. Marcus and Julia learned something from Hadassah, even though Hadassah thought she had failed.

If you have not read this book then I suggest you waste no time! Pick it up and read it right after you’ve read A Voice in the Wind! Hadassah’s undying faith is something that we as Christians today lack all too often. Hadassah is the perfect picture of what faith is supposed to be. Through it all she didn’t doubt that God was with her and would save her. Her love for the Lord was so pure and strong. Marcus loved Hadassah, not because of any outward beauty she possessed, but because of who she was. He saw something in her that he lacked and craved. Her gentleness and peace brought forth a love for her that he had never felt for anyone before.

But the question still remains, readers…will Marcus be able to see past the scars and still love Hadassah for who she is? And will Hadassah ever have the courage to reveal to him that she is alive?

Coming Soon: A TV show’s associate producer arrives in a Mayberry lookalike town and finds love over the weekend…why am I reading this? Find out in my review of Talk of the Town, by Lisa Wingate, soon!!

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