On This Foundation
by Lynn Austin
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Oct. 6, 2015
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description from Goodreads:
When news that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire, Nehemiah, Jewish cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, seeks God's guidance. After fasting and prayer, he's given leave to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the city wall, not anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and halt the work. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.
Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is a powerful exploration of faith in the midst of oppression, and hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.
On This Foundation is biblical fiction set when Nehemiah was sent as governor to Jerusalem. This is the third novel in a series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one.
The story was told through the eyes of three viewpoint characters. Nehemiah was given a backstory to explain his desire to get those walls up. He faced danger and temptation in the process of achieving his goal. Chana was the daughter of one of the leaders of Jerusalem. She's grieving because her betrothed was recently killed due to the lack of security, and she needed to heal and learn to trust God again. Nava was the daughter of a farmer who is deeply in debt due to the drought, so she became a bondservant to the rich noble over the area. She fought her bitterness over her lot and fear at the special attention shown to her by her master's devious eldest son. Even though I knew some of what was going to happen, I was still in suspense about how things would all work out.
The characters felt like real people with strengths and weaknesses, and loves and sorrows. I felt like it really could have happened like this. Cultural background information was seamlessly worked in to bring the story alive and give insight into the Bible verses it's based off of. The religious elements were worked into the natural flow of the novel and mainly showed how God was at work throughout the story.
There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written, insightful book.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.