Hey everyone! I have been looking forward to this blogpost for a couple weeks! I really enjoyed this book and I hope I can accurately convey my excitement as to why for all of you today!!!
Dara's life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.
Dresden's initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?
Buy the book for the special preorder price, here.
Dreams & Devotions was actually my intro into Taelis-- I read it before I read books 1,2, & 3; so as I went back and read them in order (along with the short stories) little details included in this work made total sense. They can each totally be read alone; however, when you read it in correct sequence, you 'get' and appreciate the cameos and 'history' references so much more lol ;)
What I Liked:
This book was just ..... super realistic. It is as though Sarah took realistic struggles we deal with today, crafted them, and plopped them into the middle ages.
One character makes a selfish decision that leaves the rest of his family to wonder, stress, and pick up the pieces. REAL. Another character begins the book with an incredibly real and passionate walk with God-- and then experiences incredible discouragement while trying to serve Jesus and make a difference. SO, SO REAL!! Yet another suffers romantic disappointment-- and doesn't get her stereotypical 'happy ending'. STANDING OVATION, HAND-CLAPPING REAL REAL REAL!!!!!!! I am passionate about this story for these reasons! I could identify with each character and their characters (some to small degrees, and others 110% because I am literally walking through them!!!) and I can think of friends and family members who are also going through similar circumstances. I found myself saying "YES!" and being able to empathize and then being convicted and encouraged and inspired.
These characters experience and deal with major disappointments in a very satisfying way . The story lines are so realistic, but so were the outcomes; and THAT is why I love this book. The problems the characters face that cause their character development were 'resolved' in realistic, 'this actually is what happens' ways-- not the way you 'know' or expect it to happen in a fictional story. You empathize with these characters SO much because you relate to their pain. You want them to experience their happy ending; however, they experience their "God-grace" endings. God meeting them where they are, providing the daily strength they need to survive and be a blessing to others.
This story was an incredible blessing in that way because wow. You can tell Sarah prayed over and really put heart and love into this story. It shows. You do not walk away from a neatly package bow ending thinking "yeah well that was just a story, but this is real life". You walk away thinking, "wow, that was legit!"
The only thing in this story that I had a hang up about was Dresden's struggle. He goes from very spiritually mature, to having what I felt was a very immature faith problem. However! I may have struggled with this plot-line because.... well... Have I mentioned this book was real? I can't quite hate on it too much because I have done the SAME THING in my walk with God, so......
It was a sharp contrast that happens very fast- and I think that is what I struggled with. I know in my life it was a slower dissent into where he then finds opportunity for character development. But this may just be my reaction to it and don't think everyone will have this reaction. ;) As so many of my 'dislikes' are, it may just be because the author is talented in her craft and I was feeling the desired emotion!! :)
I loved each of these books in the Taelis series for different reasons; this story's characters and the way God meets with each of them, met me where I am at. It was a very timely read and was a great encouragement to me, and I believe it will be to others also!!! Sarah worked hard on this and it shines through in her writing!
Time for another GIVEAWAY!!
(This is an AWESOME opportunity, btw!!! I have been living in Taelis for the past six weeks, and to be able to get the entire series free is AMAZING!)
About the Sarah
Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.
Find her at www.thedestinyofone.com