Monday, February 22, 2010

The Hidden Flame by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

(This review is a bit later than I intended. Since this is book two, I picked up a copy of book one on Amazon  - for 7 cents! and read it first.

In first-century Judea, the followers of the Way have burgeoned into a vibrant, growing community that cannot be ignored. Jerusalem is in turmoil as its religious leaders on one side, and their Roman rulers on the other, conspire to stamp out the fledgling Church. And Abigail, who thought she had finally found home and safety, is caught between the opposing forces.

Two suitors desire the lovely Abigail's hand in marriage. Ezra, a successful Hebrew merchant and widower with important connections among the Sanhedrin, is looking for a mother for his children. The Roman soldier Linux is fascinated by her winsome charm and possibly could offer the sanctuary--maybe even the love--for which she yearns. But her heart has been captured by neither of these. Will her faith and courage survive a heartbreak beyond comprehension as the followers face a gathering storm of persecution they never could have foreseen?

A glimmer of hope beckons Abigail forward.

The Hidden Flame is the second book in the Acts of Faith series. The first book, The Centurion's Wife,  starts out in the days following Jesus' crucifixion and follows His followers up through His ascension. The second book picks up where it left off and continues following the early church and the apostles. In addition to some fictional characters, there are also real Biblical people such as Peter, John, Stephen, and even Saul (Paul) in the story. One person who does not appear in the book is Jesus, which I found interesting. He is mentioned and talked about of course, but the authors never have a scene with him in, which I actually liked - for maybe Jesus shouldn't be fictionalized at all.

Davis & Bunn have done an excellent job of staying true to the Biblical story, and drawing on it to give new insights into what the days of the early church was like. They cover Annanias and Sapphira's dishonest dealings and their horrible penalty, and even the stoning of Stephen. I enjoyed this book, and the one that came before it, and appreciated the glimpse it gave me into what life might have been like for the earliest followers of Jesus. We so often glamorize it and envy them, but they didn't have it all that easy.

Read an excerpt here.

About the authors:

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. Visit Davis' Web site at

Janette Oke (pronounced "oak") pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. Love Comes Softly, her first novel, has sold over one million copies. Janette is now the bestselling author of over 70 books, 32 of which have been translated into fourteen languages. Her books have sold over 22 million copies.

Janette receives fan mail from all over the world and answers each letter personally. She received the 1992 President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award and has been awarded the Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and enjoy their many grandchildren. They make their home in Canada.

The Hidden Flame is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the review copy.