Biblical Characters Come to Life in Jill Eileen Smith’s New Non-Fiction Release – Guest Review by Hayley

Many of the non-fiction books that I gravitate toward have to do with women of the Bible.  I was excited to see that this new release from Revell “When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible” revolved around exactly that topic, and from Jill Eileen Smith, an incredibly talented Biblical fiction author!  I believe this book, even now that I am finished it, will help me to read the Bible with a much deeper ability to relate to the people and stories within it’s pages.  They really were not as different from you and me as it might feel from a quick reading.

The different sections of this book include narratives, and the author’s discussion of how these stories can relate to us today.  The discussion parts of the book are filled with insight, compassion, and very evident kindness as the author comes alongside the reader with understanding of the broken-heartedness present in the world.  The Ponder This and Taking it Further sections are also beneficial by asking questions to help you to connect with the stories in your own unique way.  If you decide to read this book, a very nice addition to your reading time would be to include something that brings beauty and joy into your mind as balance to the heavier focus of this book.

The unique narrative aspect of “When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams” is something that made it stand out to me more many other non-fiction books.  The narratives and discussions of these women’s stories are extremely skillfully done.

I understand of course that many of the aspects of these narratives are facts that are recorded in scripture, and are simply unavoidable when telling these women’s stories.  I also understand that a certain amount of imagination is needed to fill in the gaps of these women’s lives.  However, there are times when the scant details of Scripture are preferable to an over-abundance of private and sinful details which I found in “When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams”.  While likely many of these details are accurate, on average I do not believe that they needed to be dwelt upon as heavily as they were here.

This book will be beneficial to those seeking a compassionate, kind word of understanding, while learning to trust more deeply in God.  While I was disappointed by the heavy focus of uncomfortable details, I do believe the redeeming qualities of “When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams” generally outweigh the negative.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

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