Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CFBA Tour/Book Review: Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

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"Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.

As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that's always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?
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Unbreakable was even better than its prequel Inescapable! The first person writing was much  smoother and the plot more engaging. It was interesting to dig deeper into the characters of Hope Kauffman, Ebenezer Miller (Ebbie), and Jonathon Wiese. I quickly became invested in the character of Hope and shared in her concern for the safety of Kingdom. And her internal struggle as to which man God had predestined to be her husband became personal to me, as well.

What I enjoyed most about this book was its spiritual thread. The question it addressed– "What does it mean to 'turn the other cheek'?"– is fascinating, to say the least. What would I do if the lives of my loved ones were endangered? Seeing the different opinions on this questions being played out so realistically in Unbreakable  made it come alive for me. Just like Hope, I was torn between the two sides: nonresistance or resistance. Being "modern" (in the eyes of the Mennonites), I was fairly confident as to which argument I would side with... but my final opinion shocked even me. What's more is that the differing opinions were personified in Ebbie and Jonathon, the two people yearning for Hope's love. The author didn't shove any of the two opinions in my face; instead, she presented the two sides of the nonresistance/resistance argument and allowed me, the reader, to come to my own conclusion.

The romance was beautifully done. Not until the very end did I know who Hope chose to marry and I must say that I was very pleased with her choice:-) At first, of course, I was conflicted just as I was with the nonresistance/resistance issue, but I slowly came to realize which man was the one. Like I said before, the romance was beautifully done! And as to not spoil your reading pleasure, I'll just say that one of the men embodied Christ wonderfully. His faith and selflessness– you get the point;-) In fact, he is an official contestant for the CBRB Best Hero Award!

All this is to say that I enjoyed this book immensely. It definitely deserves 5 stars– if for no other reason than its skillfully delivered spiritual message– not to mention the romance. Unbreakable can be bought on Amazon.com.

** Thanks to the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and the publisher for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**

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