Friday, May 20, 2011
Book Review: People of the Book by Kathi Macias
What do you do when what you've most believed in changes?
Farah Mohammed Al Otaibi wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. During the month of Ramadan, she hopes she will get her chance to draw nearer to Allah. Then the prophet Isa (Jesus) appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself.
A favorite of her father, he has allowed Farah many liberties, much to the anger of her brother, Kareem. He feels his father is too weak with the women. But Farah is certain even her loving father would not tolerate her accepting Isa as more than a prophet.
Farah's cousin Nura has already begun to consider that Isa may be more than her Muslim faith indicates. Nura explores the possibilities in an online chat room where she corresponds with Sara, a girl of Muslim ancestry who lives in the United States. Sara's family has converted to Christianity, and she shares the message of Jesus's salvation with Nura. When Farah approaches Nura to talk about her dream, the two girls are happily connected by their new discoveries; though they know if their infant faith were discovered, it would be disastrous for both of them.
As Farah's, Nura's, and Sara's worlds collide, a jealous brother seeks to uncover Farah and Nura's secret, while Sara experiences a crisis of faith.
Wow! Kathi Macias continues to amaze me. She has been my client and friend for the past few years. I've read her fiction and her nonfiction; but I have to say that with her Extreme Devotion series, and People of the Book especially, she has outdone herself.
Not only did she tackle the timely issue of honor killings, she created a powerfully told story, written by her masterful hand, that captivates the reader from the very first page. I have been astounded by all the books in this series: No Greater Love, More Than Conquerors, Red Ink, and People of the Book. After each book I would say, "This is my favorite of the series." Without a doubt, People of the Book will remain my favorite.
The characters truly make this story all that it is. You have Farah who is called by Isa (Jesus) in a dream, throwing everything she has ever believed about her Muslim faith into an uproar. Nura has secretly been participating in a chat room to learn more about Isa. Both girls, know, however, that if they are discovered, it will mean death. Nura's friend, Sara, is on the other side of the world. When her once easy life is turned upside down, she's no longer sure of the faith she has been sharing with Nura.
Not only these characters, though. You have Kareem, who has always been jealous of Farah. He's willing to do whatever it takes to discredit her to their father. You also have Sara's brother, Emir, who makes some unwise choices that come with a very high price tag.
Macias connects all these lives so well. She's done this with some of the other books in this series, but here it's just amazing. I couldn't put the book down. I went to bed late many nights reading this one.
The ending is superb. I was crying right along with the characters.
The four books that make up this series are total stand-alones, each having its own set of characters and circumstances. I highly recommend reading all of them, but if you only have time for one, make it People of the Book. You won't be disappointed.
Title: People of the Book
Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: Hew Hope Publishers
The author paid me to promote her book via a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. This fee did not include a review. This review consists of my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.