Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Tricia Goyer's From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation/Who Doesn't Like Free Books?

Amidst the dark horror of 1945 Austria, a cowardly SS officer abandons his wife Helene as U.S. forces advance on Nazi death camps. Alone and guilt-ridden, Helene begins helping the holocaust survivors---and experiences her own liberation from spiritual bondage. But when she meets Peter, an American soldier who helped free the town's concentration camp, will old shame overcome the promise of new hope and forgiveness?
(summary from triciagoyer.com)

I really enjoyed From Dust and Ashes, Book 1 in Goyer's WWII Liberators Series, and the best part is I got the book for free! The Kindle store on Amazon.com runs promotions for free ebooks, and while a lot of them are cheesy romance novels with titles like Slow Hands (?!) and Dancing in the Moonlight, they often feature inspirational fiction. I've gotten books by Tracie Peterson, Tamera Alexander and Judith Miller, not to mention all the classic literature written before 1923 that Amazon has for no cost.

From Dust and Ashes is an incredibly moving story of people struggling to piece their lives together after the Germans surrender to the Allies. Sgt. Peter Scott, a GI and one of the first liberators of the Gusen camp, is struggling with his faith after viewing the atrocities of wartime while Helene Volkner, married to an SS officer who worked at the concentration camp, is dealing with the guilt of having stood by silently while thousands were killed. Michaela Perl, a Christian imprisoned at Gusen for helping a Jewish family hide from the Nazis, barely survives the ordeal and is left without a home or any family left. Goyer doesn't shy away from describing the brutality and evil that men can enact on each other, and that made the story and the characters' inner struggles regarding the presence of a God much more realistic and gripping. The only part I found less satisfying was the ending, which seemed a bit rushed and lacking the motivation behind a character's action. However, the subject matter was fascinating and moving so I definitely plan to read the next book in the series, Night Song: A Story of Sacrifice.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of fiction set during WWII and like to read about characters forming a relationship with Christ through hardship and doubt, I'd definitely recommend this. However, I felt disappointed that some of the plot aspects seemed thrown together-- I'd have loved to know more of the characters' reasons for doing certain things.

Source: personal copy (free on amazon.com)

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