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What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma

Theme Chatter

Searching for one’s identity was a key theme in the contemporary thread in this book. It is such a comfort to find my identity in God and on the pages of His Word.

I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am a child of God (1 John 3:1).
I am redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

There are loads of blog articles that list out various aspects of who Christians are in God’s eyes and because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the grave. (One such article is this one on Equation of Hope.) I challenge you to search through them and look up the verses for yourself, to read more about what God thinks of you.

There are thousands of verses that show us a glimpse of how much God loves us and to what lengths He goes to draw our hearts close to His in hopes of one day reuniting us with Himself for an eternity filled with unending joy.

Which identity in that linked article do you find easiest to believe?
Which do you find most challenging?

Book Review

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts.

I enjoyed both premises of this book: a writer defying an evil dictator and a young woman searching for her identity in the country of her ancestors. While I sometimes get weary of the time-slip genre, this one was well written in that aspect. My favorite part was the atmosphere in Greece, which came alive on the pages. I’m sure this was due in part to the author’s having traveled there (as mentioned in the author’s note).

It was disappointing that two historical facts were altered significantly to push a feministic agenda as well as to suit the story’s timeline. I prefer historical fiction to stick to historical facts and adjust the story’s timeline to fit the actual historical timeline. To me, that is how we learn from history even within a fictional story while also honoring those people who lived out the tragedies and successes of the era in which the fiction is set. Instead, what this book offered was a version of “cancel culture” that pushed a man out of his role in history so that a woman could take his place, and significantly changed the course of a pivotal event for the sake of “dramatic effect.” The real-life version of the event was actually more dramatic and would have significantly ramped up the tension and stakes within the fictional story, as I’m sure it did for the people who truly lived it out in the 1940s.

Another difference in this book than in the author’s previous works is that some pretty large questions the author created in my mind were never answered. I noticed this about halfway through (which was where the “dramatic effects” were happening), and that’s when I began losing interest in the story. It’s not normal for me to close a Tolsma book with more pending questions than when I started reading it.

There were some other issues I noted, but the most important of those was that one soul-saving scene likely wouldn’t have happened because of what the Bible says about people who have died coming back to warn their loved ones about what comes after death. Luke 16:22-31 (NKJ) says, “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

The memory of reading that Bible story many times as a young child pulled me right out of the story, and the context of the parable made the finale of the novel unrealistic to me.

I really wanted to love this book. The back-cover copy was right up my alley. The cover was deliciously moody and hinted that I was in for a good Gothic tale. It was a lot less Gothic-y than I was hoping for, so it didn’t live up to the cover in that way.

Content: skimpy clothing, derogatory term, alcohol, tobacco, breastfeeding

Springtime in Surrey Updates

This is a new section that I’m hoping to fill with some random updates on The Cottage on the Hill (my story within the anthology) as well as links to my co-writers’ articles and social media posts about our shared upcoming book, Wild Blue Wonder Press’s debut, Springtime in Surrey.

I have received notes on Cottage from my editor and will be going through those over the next couple of weeks. Surprisingly, I’m not as nervous as I thought I’d be, which is nice. Maybe that’s because I’m in the midst of an edit job at the moment. Maybe I should always get notes back when my brain is otherwise distracted.

As a reminder, visit this blog article to find out what The Cottage on the Hill is about.

My co-writers have been sharing about their own stories in the collection lately. Here are the latest links a few of them have shared with me. I hope these articles and social media posts will help increase your excitement for Springtime in Surrey, which will release this summer.

Faith Blum | Instagram
Grace A. Johnson | Blog
Rachel Leitch | Blog | Instagram

For all the latest official news directly from Wild Blue Wonder Press, visit their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Each author and their stories within the anthology are already or will soon be featured.

If you’re one, like me, who doesn’t do Facebook and Instagram, don’t worry about it. There will still be plenty of updates right here on Writing to Inspire to let you know who the authors are and what their stories will be about.

Let’s get to know one another.

Which aspect of who you are do you most like?

I like my creativity. It’s a gift from God, one He cultivates at every opportunity. I’m glad to have a couple of books out now so that my gift is more readily shared with you, my sweet friends.

Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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