“The Promise of Dawn” Lauraine Snelling

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If you have read previous Norweigan stories/books by Lauraine Snelling before, you have to admit that her characters are very realistic. They might be warm or they might be harsh, but they are real. In this particular story I cringed as I traveled along with a new family coming to Minnesota, Amerika on cheap fare/passage across the ocean. A seeking family, parents and children, facing for the first time the pangs of hunger, sea-sickness and unsanitary conditions. But even so, there were dreams and promises swimming in their heads. And after all, they were going to live with family in this new town and country! But when they arrive in the small community where they were to live and work, something seemed amiss with the Onkle that retrieved them and the Tante that was waiting at home. Would this be the land of adventure they had been longing for or was the whole trip a sorrowful mistake? Read and find out what God has in store for them all. (And for a real treat, read her other Norweigan stories!)

This book was provided to me by Bethany/Baker Books. All opinions are my own. Mary Ann Young Robinson, Boise, ID

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller

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Although this might not be the best of Judith’s novels, I have read several that were excellent and look forward to reading more in the future! She is a gifted writer.

A cute story but not Judith’s best. A little too drawn-out and wordy in length. Hope lost her mother and lived rather privately with her Aunt Mattie. Her father was a traveling preacher and wanted a good and proper life for his daughter. But now she has convinced him to allow her to travel with him out of Pittsburg to a small mining town. Preaching from a train car? Yes, and living in one too! Hope becomes a vital part of the ministry with her music and lovely presence. But when she is drawn into a friendship with the coal mine owner’s son, she is put in some danger. Luke. a pastor in training with her father, falls is love with Hope and makes sure she is protected and watches out for the community as well. By the end of the story, Hope has proved herself a valuable asset and Luke shows his character and integrity.

This book was provided by Baker Books and this review is based on my own opinions.  Mary Ann Young Robinson, Boise, ID


He Authored “Ben Hur” and died on this Day in February, 1905

On this day, February l5, l905, Lewis Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, died. Lew left behind him a lifetime of political and military accomplishments. The world, however, remembers him chiefly as the author of the novel Ben Hur, which he subtitled, “a tale of the Christ.”

Lew Wallace was born in 1827, the son of an Indiana governor. As a young man he served in the United States’ war with Mexico. After the war, he studied law, set up a law practice, and served in the Indiana State Senate.

When the Civil War broke out, he immediately re-enlisted and rose to the rank of Major General. In 1864, he fought–and lost–the Battle of Monocacy, but he held his position long enough to allow union defenders to reach Washington, D.C., preventing its capture by Confederate general Jubal Early. After the war, Lew served on the court martial that tried Lincoln’s assassins.

Lew was inspired to write novels after reading Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico. His first novel, The Fair God, was about those events. His second novel, Ben Hur, was conceived after sitting on a train, listening spellbound for two hours, while the agnostic Colonel Robert Ingersoll, poured out “a medley of argument, eloquence, wit, satire, audacity, irreverence, poetry, brilliant antitheses, and pungent excoriation of believers in God, Christ, and Heaven, the like of which I had never heard.”

Until then, Lew had been indifferent to the claims of religion (although he loved the story of the wise men and had begun a tale about them). “… Yet here was I now moved as never before, and by what? The most outright denials of all human knowledge of God, Christ, Heaven… Was the Colonel right? What had I on which to answer yes or no? He had made me ashamed of my ignorance: and then–here is the unexpected of the affair–as I walked on in the cool darkness, I was aroused for the first time in my life to the importance of religion… I thought of the manuscript in my desk. Its closing scene was the child Christ in the cave by Bethlehem: why not go on with the story down to the crucifixion? That would make a book, and compel me to study everything of pertinency; after which, possibly, I would be possessed of opinions of real value.

“It only remains to say that I did as resolved, with results–first, the book Ben Hur, and second, a conviction amounting to absolute belief in God and the Divinity of Christ.”

While governor of New Mexico, Lew wrote his dramatic story. Though never a member of a church, he became the best selling religious author of his day. Ben Hur sold 300,000 copies within ten years, and was translated into dozens of languages, including Arabic and Chinese.

The year after Ben Hur was published in 1880, Wallace began a four-year term as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, where he cultivated very good relations with the Sultan. The last years of his life Wallace spent as a public lecturer. Today his statue stands in the Capitol building at Washington, representing the State of Indiana.


  1. Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.
  2. Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes. 1907.
  3. General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. http://www.ben-hur.com/
  4. Morsberger, Robert E. and Morsberger, Katherine M. Lew Wallace: Militant Romantic. McGraw Hill, 1980.
  5. Wallace, Lew. The Illustrated Ben-Hur. Bonanza, 1978.
  6. “Wallace, Lewis.” Encyclopedia Americana. Chicago: American Corp., 1954.

Last updated June, 2007


“SHADOW OF REALITY” by Donna Fletcher Crow

Educated Christians still on their journeys of discovery of God and His will for their lives, include a weekend of fashion, fun, mystery, drama and MURDER! The line between the drama and real murder will keep your interest piqued and you will not want to tarry with this book. In Donna Crow style, her imagery and similes, stand out very tall.

Because of Donna’s great knowledge and experience with England and Englishmen and her extensive travel in general, her story flourishes and almost dances on the page. The message of “real love” over “infatuation” lends to the story with depth. With my love for fashion, I enjoyed the costumes and colorful descriptions and creativity. The medical side may draw you also if you have an interest in forensics.

As the story ends with friendship complimenting human love, I had a warm, overall feeling of “Good conquering Evil” and a wonderful (corrrect) future for each of the characters. Don’t miss out on this superb blend of history, mystery, and love!