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“Amora is a timeless story that will resonate with readers of all ages and walks of life. Reader be warned, this is the type of novel that will keep you up at night in the best way possible. It is a tale of courage, forgiveness, and deliverance.

While the novel touches on Christian themes, it is not a story meant only for Christians by any means. Whether atheist, Buddhist, Muslim or agnostic, we have all felt pain in our lives. We all know what it is like to be wronged and to feel angry or overwhelmed. Amora paints a hopeful, if at times poignant, picture of the inseparable nature of pain and the human condition. Anyone who has struggled with the question of “If God loves me, why didn’t he stop me from being hurt?” will appreciate this novel.

While the novel follows the story of the protagonist, Amora, there are multiple other well-developed characters in the novel who we are able to follow through almost every type of grief one could imagine. Truly, the characters in Amora seem to struggle with everything under the sun including alcoholism, generational trauma, death in the family, and betrayal. The author, Hallstrom, shows us the darkest side of humanity as well as the beauty and light we all have within us. Surprisingly, the story of Amora suggests that these sides are not mutually exclusive. To the contrary, Amora shows us that even those who have betrayed and destroyed everyone they love can still find hope and forgiveness. In fact, the novel shows us a picture of what it could look like if we let go of all the hurts deep within us.

At its core, the novel is a refreshing and humanizing take on important historical events in the Roman Empire that went on to create ripples of influence that we all still feel in our society to this day. The author, Hallstrom, somehow pulls off portraying the barbaric Roman world while simultaneously telling a story of vulnerability, forgiveness, and love. The book is delightfully written and teeming with imagery that fully immerses the reader in Hallstrom’s Rome. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars instead of 5 out of 5 because I thought certain parts of the book struggled with narrative flow and the immersive experience was broken especially at the end of the book. I felt that the author’s voice overpowered the characters at times in an effort to move the plot forward, and it felt a bit forced because it lacked the imagery of other parts of book. Nonetheless, Amora is a worthwhile read.”

5 out of 5 stars
by Divya Kannegenti

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