Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Stones by Eleanor Gustafson

Here's the back cover copy for this January, 2009 release:

With comprehensive detail and flowing prose, Eleanor Gustafson crafts the retelling of King David s life from his teenaged anointing to his death as seen through the eyes of Asaph, a Levite historian. Fictional in scope, yet with amazing scriptural accuracy, The Stones provides a revealing, behind-the-scenes glimpse into biblical history with all the twists, turns, thrills, and romance of the world s great drama. You will be there as: A young teen collects stones to take on a giant. A prideful rebel takes count of his fighting men. A fallible leader succumbs to lust, temptation, and deceit. A poet and musician grows closer to God through prayer and worship. A man after God s heart discovers the unfailing love and forgiveness of his Creator. The Stones is an epic adventure of man s innate need to worship God and rely on Him for strength and how badly things can go when he fails to do so.

Here's the author's bio:

Eleanor K. Gustafson has been publishing both fiction and nonfiction since 1978. Her short stories and articles have appeared in a number of national and local magazines. The Stones is her fourth novel. In many of her stories, Eleanor explores the cosmic struggle between good and evil in light of God s overarching work of redemption. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. She has enjoyed a variety of experiences, from riding horses to building houses, all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. She and her husband live in Massachusetts, where he teaches philosophy. They travel extensively, spend time with their three children and eight grandchildren, and enjoy camping at the family forest in Chester, Vermont.

And now for my review:

Eleanor Gustafson’s novel “The Stones” is an insightful approach to the life of King David. I’ve read the stories of David in the Bible, but I did have a hard time following his storyline in Eleanor’s book. Though the story was at times difficult to follow, the prose was so delicious readers will not mind wading through for the nuggets. I appreciated that Eleanor tackled this king’s life story and enjoyed reading about him. There were moments I could feel the tangible presence of God as I read, as I connected with her description of David’s relationship with God. Her depiction of David’s heart life before God was the best element in the book. Throughout the challenges which led him to the throne of Israel, he continued to call on God. As you read the Bible, you see He wrote many Psalms, and sometimes even in the context of the stories you can read his very personal prayer-songs to God. But Eleanor’s interpretation of David’s heart was believable for the most part, and a blessing often. Though the book doesn’t extend to David’s experience of settling down in peace from his neighbors all around, or his indiscretion with Bathsheba, Uriah and his wife are mentioned as they related with David and his wife Abigail (again the author’s ideas of what could have happened.) I would have liked to see the story continue. There was much time spent on David’s attempts to steer clear of King Saul. Perhaps because this was such a training time for David’s character, the author remained here in his pre-coronation days. There were times the story seemed to drag as I waited for David to be made king. But my overall impression, after reading the entire book, is very favorable. This book will inspire your relationship with God. David took his fears, his concerns, his joy straight to God, even in the midst of the people he led. (Imagine doing that in any given moment, say during a business meeting). He chased after God’s heart. You catch a glimpse of what that might have looked like as you read “The Stones.” I highly recommend this novelization of King David’s life.

Look for this book in January out from Whitaker House.

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