Tag Archives: Diana Wallis Taylor

Book Review: Lydia: Woman of Philippi

5 Oct

About the Book:

Name of book: Lydia

Author: Diana Wallis Taylor

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Smart, strong, and a follower of the Jewish God, Lydia has nonetheless quietly conformed to the expectations of the wealthy Roman society into which she was born. Her father marries her off at age fifteen to a much older man whom she dislikes. Despite an unpleasant wedding and a marriage that doesn’t improve with age, Lydia remains a dutiful and faithful wife. When her husband is killed, years later, Lydia vows to remain single and returns to her father’s house in Thyatira with her twelve-year-old daughter.

There, a new life begins to emerge as she is trained in the family dye business. Lydia displays an aptitude for trade in the male-dominated world of first century commerce. Her brother, who had chosen service in the Roman army rather than work in his father’s business, is at odds with his sister. Jealous of her quiet success as she learns the dye business, he’s especially befuddled by what he considers to be Lydia’s obsession with the Jewish religion. When their father dies, Cassius inherits the family’s home; Lydia inherits the business, and unbeknownst to her brother, a small villa in the city of Philippi.

Lydia flees with her mother and daughter to Philippi where she sets up shop. At the mercy of a patriarchal society, Lydia needs a man to serve as the public face for her business. She discovers the right person in the handsome face of Greek man she’d hired — an employee with whom she develops a close friendship. The plot thickens as Lydia meets a strange man named Paul the apostle who is stirring up crowds in town. When Lydia’s brother shows up in Philippi, determined to force her to sell the business, he discovers plenty of fuel to accomplish his goals.

Click to purchase your copy.

About the Author:

Diana Wallis Taylor is best known for her creative stories based on women in the Bible. Thousands have read and enjoyed her books including Mary Chosen of God, Ruth, Mother of Kings, Martha, Journey to the Well, Mary Magdalene, and Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors with the San Diego Library naming her one of 12 “Writers to Watch” in 2017 for Mary, Chosen of God. Her books have received Gold and Silver Medallion Awards for Christian Fiction and she is a San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild “Writer of the Year.” Mary, Chosen of God is a 2017 Christy Award nominee. An inspirational speaker, Diana also leads creative writing and poetry workshops. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. They have six grown children and ten grandchildren

 

My Impressions:

For me, a Biblical novel should create a sense of the cultural and political atmosphere relevant for the time and place, include characters who are faithful to their time, but are relatable to a modern reader, and have a strong foundation in scripture. Lydia:Woman of Philippi by Diana Wallis Taylor achieves all three. From the opening pages I became immersed in the world in which Lydia lived. The patriarchal society was a strong influence in Lydia’s life, yet she endeavored to be an independent woman, both in her finances and thought. Taylor created a very credible backstory for Lydia in which her upbringing, unhappy marriage, and business struggles shaped her into a woman ready to meet her Savior. There are, of course, many historical figures within the novel — Paul, Silas, Timothy, yet the fictional characters that surround Lydia are wonderful additions to the narrative. I especially liked the romance that Taylor adds to the story. Lydia’s encounter with Paul and the subsequent change in her and her household’s life was depicted in a beautiful way. Throughout the novel, Taylor endeavored to be faithful to scripture, and I feel on the most part she was successful. There was only one scene in which I felt she strayed a bit from what the Bible teaches. It did not keep me from enjoying the novel and in turn recommending it to those who enjoy Biblical fiction.

All in all, this book is a great addition to my library.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Blog Stops

A Bakers Perspective, October 3

Carpe Diem, October 3

Moments Dipped in Ink, October 4

Books, Books, and More Books., October 4

By The Book, October 5

A Simply Enchanted Life, October 5

Red Headed Book Lady, October 6

Blogging With Carol, October 6

A Reader’s Brain, October 7

A Greater Yes, October 7

Just the Write Escape, October 8

Simple Harvest Reads, October 8 (Spotlight)

Aryn the Libraryan, October 9

Cordially Barbara, October 9

Pursuing Stacie, October 9

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 10

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 10

Zerina Blossom’s Books, October 11

Mary Hake, October 11

Radiant Light, October 12

Singing Librarian Books, October 12

Lights in a Dark World, October 12

margaretkazmierczak, October 13

Pause for Tales, October 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 14

Cafinated Reads, October 14

To Everything A Season, October 14

Bigreadersite, October 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15

Henry Happens, October 16

For The Love of Books, October 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 16

Giveaway

In honor of her tour, Diana is giving away:

Grand Prize Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, “Give Thanks” painting on plate by Donna White for The Hearthside Collection, Inc., commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

1st Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem pillar candle, cassia scented, commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

2nd Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem Spikenard candle tin with lid!

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c173

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Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR List

19 Sep

Can you believe that in two days it will be Fall?! Here in middle Georgia the department stores are sporting Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decor for sale, but the temperatures are hovering in the Summer-range, so Fall doesn’t seem that imminent. But what is imminent is my Fall TBR list (or pile!). The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are asking bloggers to share what they will be reading in the next few months, and I am always eager to oblige. I have a wide variety of reading ahead of me — historical, romance, contemporary, mystery/suspense, and interestingly enough, a couple of Christmas novels! So without further ado, my Fall TBR List!

Top Ten Books on My TBR List

The Case of The Clobbered Cad by Debra E. Marvin

Charming The Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

Deeds of Darkness by Mel Starr

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells 

Lydia by Diana Wallis Taylor

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

What are you reading this Fall?

 

 

Book Review: Ruth – Mother of Kings

3 Oct

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Whitaker House (October 1, 2013)
 
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Recently named “Writer of the Year” by the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild, Diana Wallis Taylor has been writing since the age of 12 when she sold her first poem to a church newspaper. A former school teacher, popular women’s speaker and award-winning author, she’s best known for her biblical novels that focus on women such as Martha, Mary Magdalene, Claudia Wife of Pontius Pilate, and Journey to the Well. She’s also published several contemporary novels, a collection of poetry, and contributed to a wide variety of publications.  Diana lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. Among them, they have six grown children and ten grandchildren.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
The story of Ruth has captivated Christian believers for centuries, not least of all because she is one of only two women with books of the Bible named after them. Now, Diana Wallis Taylor animates this cherished part of the Old Testament, with its unforgettable cast of characters. She describes Ruth’s elation as a young bride— and her grief at finding herself a widow far before her time. Readers will witness the unspeakable relief of Naomi upon hearing her daughter-in-law’s promise never to leave her. And celebrate with Boaz when, after years as a widower, he discovers love again, with a woman he first found gleaning in his field. The story of this remarkable woman to whom Jesus Christ traced His lineage comes to life in the pages of this dramatic and unique retelling.




 

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (October 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603749039

ISBN-13: 978-1603749039

Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches

My Impressions:

The book of Ruth is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love the picture of God as the one who wants to redeem us personally. Diana Wallis Taylor has written a fictionalized account of the book in her new novel, Ruth: Mother of Kings. Her account fills in a lot of action —  from Ruth and Boaz’s history before Ruth and Naomi’s return from Moab to the days of the famine in Bethlehem and just what Elimelech’s family was up to in the Plains of Moab. I don’t agree with Taylor’s supposition that Ruth was not a racial Moabitess, but a member of the tribe of Reuben, but that did not detract from the story. And while I did find an historical error, by and large Wallis’ story is rich in historical detail. Ruth: The Mother of Kings will appeal to those who like Biblical novels with a good dose of romance.

 

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Ruth sat with her brother, Joash, on a small rug in the neighbors’ courtyard, listening fearfully as the adults discussed what to do with them. Ruth wanted her mama. Why would they not let her see her? Was she still sick? Her papa had tended her for several days and told them not to disturb her. No one baked any bread for their breakfast.She scrunched up her small face, her lower lip trembling. Yesterday, her mama would not wake up, and her papa began weeping and acting strangely. He struggled to stand up, and perspiration ran down his face. She remembered his words, spoken like he was out of breath. “Joash, you must help me. Take Ruth and go to the house of Naaman. Tell him I need his help. Stay there until I call for you.”

Joash grabbed her hand and almost pulled her to the neighbors’ house. She had been holding her mother’s shawl, and she wrapped it around herself that night as they slept in the neighbors’ courtyard. She could hardly breathe for the fear that seemed to rise up from her chest. Why would the neighbors not let them go home? Had Papa not called for them?

Everyone looked at them with sad eyes and whispered to one another. She clutched her mother’s shawl and turned to her brother.

“Why will they not let us go home?”

“I don’t know. Something is wrong.” He looked at a woman standing nearby. “We want to see our mama and papa.”

The woman answered quietly, “Children, your mama and papa are dead. You cannot see them…ever again.”

Ruth heard the word “dead.” A bird fell in their small courtyard one day, and her papa said it was dead. It lay on the dirt, unmoving, its eyes closed. She could not imagine her mama and papa like that bird. She turned to her brother again.

“Mama and Papa are dead?”

Joash nodded, tears rolling down his cheeks. He put an arm around her, and they clung to each other.

Naaman’s wife spoke up. “I have fed them for two days, but I cannot continue to care for them.”

“Do they have family elsewhere?” said another neighbor woman. “I have children of my own to feed.”

Naaman murmured, “Phineas has family near the Plains of Moab, outside Beth-Jeshimoth. He told me before he died.”

“What family? His parents? Are they still alive?”

There was silence. Then, “How would the children get there? They can’t go alone; the boy is only six, the girl almost four. Who would take them?”

“That is something to consider. It is a two days’ journey.”

Teary-eyed, Ruth turned to her brother and whispered, “Where do they want to take us?”

He straightened his shoulders and tried to sound very strong. “I don’t know, but do not be afraid, Sister. I will care for you.”

A couple entered the small courtyard and hurried up to the group that had been talking. The woman spoke. “We just heard about the parents. The mother, Timna, was my friend. Do you know what is to be done with the children?”

Someone said, “Naaman told us they have grandparents, outside Beth-Jeshimoth, but we don’t know how to get them there. They cannot travel alone.”

The man nodded, then said, “I will take them. My wife, Mary, will go with me.”

“But, Gershon, can you leave your shop for that long? It will take at least two days or more, just one way.”

“Ha’Shem will watch over my shop. It is the right thing to do. If they have family, that is where the children should go. I will prepare my cart and donkey.”

The first woman spoke. “May the Almighty bless you for your kindness, Gershon, and your wife also. It is a good thing you do. I will gather food for your journey. The other women in the neighborhood will help.”

Ruth listened to the women click their tongues and murmur among themselves.

“Those poor children were alone in the house with their sick parents for days before Phineas sent them to Naaman and his wife.”

“My husband wondered why Phineas had not come to work in three days.”

“The Lord only knows the last time they had eaten.”

“Both of the children are so thin.”

One of the other men spoke up. “What if you get there and find that the children’s grandparents are dead?”

“We will just have to trust the Almighty to guide us; we will pray that they live and that these orphaned children will be welcomed.”

Joash clutched Ruth’s hand tighter. “See? We will go to Abba’s family. They will take us there.”

Ruth, too frightened to speak again, could only nod, dried tears still on her cheeks.

Early the next morning, they were fed some lentil soup and fresh bread, and then Gershon and Mary took their hands and led them home, telling them they would now gather a few things to take with them. Mary clicked her tongue and sighed as she and her husband looked around the small house. “There is little of value here,” Gershon said. “The girl seems determined to hold on to her mother’s shawl.”

Mary glanced at Ruth. “It is a comfort to her. We must not take the bedding, because of their sickness. I will bring bedding from our house. Oh, Gershon, they were so poor. How did they live?”

“Evidently he made just enough to survive.”

Ruth, with her mother’s shawl still wrapped around her shoulders, clutched a doll made of rags that her mother had sewn for her. She looked around. There was no sign of her mama or papa anywhere. She watched her brother slip a small leather box out of a cupboard when the man and his wife were not looking. He put a finger to his lips and hid the box in his clothes.

When the cart was loaded, Ruth climbed in after Joash and settled in as the journey began. Never having ventured beyond her street, she looked about, wide-eyed, as they passed through the town.

“What is our town called?” Joash asked.

“It is Medeba,” the man answered.

His wife turned around in her seat at the front of the cart. “Have you not been in the town before?”

Joash shook his head.

“It is large. Your father made many fine bricks to build houses with.”

Ruth looked up at her. “I miss my mama.”

Mary sighed. “I know, child. Your mama and papa were so sick from the fever. They just didn’t get better, like so many others. But soon you will be with your grandparents.”

“Will they let us stay with them?” Joash asked.

There was a pause, and Mary looked at her husband. “Oh, of course. I’m sure they will be glad to see you.” She turned around again. “Have you ever met them?”

Ruth looked at her brother, and both children shook their heads.

They spent the night with some other families that were traveling. Gershon said something about it being safer to stay with a group.

Mary made sure Ruth and Joash were settled for the night and then lay down next to her husband. The two adults whispered to themselves, probably thinking that Ruth was asleep. She kept her eyes closed and listened in.

“Oh, Gershon, I pray that the grandparents are still there. What will we do if they are not?”

“We must trust the Almighty, Mary. I feel we are doing the right thing.”

“Then we will do our best, and know the outcome soon.”

“Timna was never well, from what I understand.”

Mary murmured, “If the parents of Phineas had a farm, why did he leave? Would he not work the farm with his father?”

“A disagreement of some kind. I don’t think the parents approved of the marriage. Medeba is a larger town. He probably thought he had a better chance of finding work there.”

She sighed. “Then the grandparents may not even know about the children?”

“It’s likely they don’t. Let us get some rest. We have many miles to cover tomorrow.”

Ruth yawned. What did it all mean? She was so tired. It was too much for her to understand. Moving closer to Joash, she settled down and, despite missing her parents, allowed sleep to draw her into its embrace.