Title: In the Shadow of Thy Wings
Author: A.M. Heath
Series: Ancient Words, book 2
Major Themes: American Civil War, Confederacy, Epistolary, Family, Underground Railroad
Synopsis: As the war drags on and families experience loss and continued separation, Sally and Claire must continue to choose to trust God with their lives and their loved ones’ safety.
After finishing Where Can I Flee, I was both apprehensive and eager to start reading In the Shadow of Thy Wings. I was told the latter was easier to read than the former, and though I enjoyed the former, I found it difficult to get through. The pace felt a bit draggy, and while I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their various quirks and personalities, overall, it wasn’t a great read for me.
The tone was completely different once I hit In the Shadow of Thy Wings. It started with a rather unexpected twist, and several times I caught myself questioning the author, only to have my questions put to rest as I kept going. I don’t normally read books on the computer (give me a paperback or Kindle any day!), but in this case, as I was reading after the author, doing some touch-up edits for her, I found myself reading beyond my set time for the day—wanting to get to the end of the chapter, to find out what would happen next. On the days I wasn’t able to read, I was disappointed because I wanted to keep going! I’m thankful the book pulled me in that way; it made the whole reading experience much more enjoyable!
This book opens nearly two years into the American Civil War. As the war drags on and neither side seems close to winning, Sally struggles with a new task her father has given to her. He wouldn’t have given it to her if he didn’t think she could do it, but facing her fears and stepping forward in faith isn’t easy. Meanwhile, Claire is determined to do whatever it takes to follow her Savior—even if it means laying her life on the line. When a Union soldier unexpectedly starts showing up in her life, what is she supposed to do about that? People from the Union are the enemy, and her brother is fighting for the Confederacy, after all! Claire’s brother, Frank, has seen this war drag out far longer than he originally anticipated. As the Lord moves in his heart, he begins to question his desires and goals. What is he supposed to do with these new thoughts? As the war continues and relationships are built—or destroyed—can each of them keep the faith and do the tasks they’ve been given without flinching?
In the Shadow of Thy Wings is a hard book to put into cohesive thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and several plot twists caught me by surprise. There were several hilariously awkward proposal scenes, and at least once when I teared up and wondered if I could go on. But I did, and I’m so thankful I was able to finish this story. Much of it was really, really hard, but it wasn’t an easy time to live in, either.
One of the biggest things I appreciated about this story was how the characters forced themselves to turn to the Lord when bad things happened. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, but a practice I want to include in my life more, so seeing them do that—and seeing them encouraging each other in trusting the Lord—was a blessing. Several of the characters spoke with wisdom at different times, and I appreciated that.
Overall, this was a good read. I don’t know if I would ever read it again, but I’m glad to have gone through it once. This could be a good series for you if you appreciate stories of faith in the middle of difficulty. I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the series soon!
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Cursed is used in ch. 13; there is lying in ch. 13, 27, and 35, as well as some overarching lying throughout the book (characters acting lies to try to help other people); swear or swore is used in ch. 14, 21, 27, and 38; “in heaven’s name” or a variant is used in ch. 19 and 31 (twice); devils is used to refer to people in ch. 23 (twice), 26, 27 (twice), 28 (three times), 31, 35, and 38; and darn is used in ch. 28.
A woman dreams she is being hanged in ch. 1. A man hints that he’d like to take advantage of a woman and gets punched in the face in ch. 5. There is a mention of stealing for the army in ch. 5. In ch. 7, a black woman is described with a son whose skin was “much lighter” in color, and a character surmises what that might mean. Throughout the story, there are several either spoken or acted lies as characters try to help slaves get to freedom. There is a story of a couple eloping and a woman is in labor in ch. 8. A man tries to take advantage of a woman and there is a fight in ch. 12. Someone dies in ch. 19. There is some shooting in ch. 21, with several people injured; later, a man is punched in the face. A man beats a slave in ch. 22. There is a battle in ch. 23. Some men freeze to death in ch. 25. There is a story of people being hurt and killed as an army moved through in ch. 27. There is a short battle scene in ch. 28, and a woman is slapped on the face. There is another battle scene in ch. 29, and a man is shot. An injury is described in ch. 30, and an innocent man is killed. A man is beaten up in ch. 34. Several men are shot and killed in ch. 35—there is a mention of a shoulder wound, and later there are several fights, with men getting injured. There is some touching (a hug, holding hands, etc.) and/or kissing between unmarried people in ch. 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 (also some dancing), 19, and 32; and a married couple holds or kisses each other in ch. 34 and 36.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
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