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“Grant Hallstrom connects the history of the early Christian church in Rome with forgiveness, a central tenant of the Church both historically and in modern times. Amora traces the story of Amora, her husband Leo, and their two children through their lives in the Roman Empire.

As a member of the patrician class, the family has access to the best that the Roman Empire can offer. Yet despite their material advantage, they suffer loss, grief, and despair. Through the teachings and influence of the early Christians, their lives change in ways they could have never imagined. They learn the true meaning of forgiveness and that only through forgiveness can one truly be free.

Amora experiences conflict due to the societal norms and expectations of her time. She finds herself without friends when she goes against a tradition that requires infants with any deformity to be left to die. In her despair, she makes a connection to the early church and finds companionship and support among the Christians.

Leo, Amora’s husband, is opposed to the sect of Christianity which is blamed for many of the problems of Rome during this period. He orders Amora to stop seeing these people, but she makes her own decisions and is no longer dependent on her husband for her opinions.

The novel contains excellent historical information and many of the characters in the story are based on real individuals who lived in this time. The historical notes found in the back of the book elaborate and document the history of this period as it relates directly to the novel.

This novel contains two critical religious themes that can apply to many situations, cultures, and periods. The first is that forgiveness is critical to your own health and spiritual growth. The second is that a major source of evil in the world comes from judging others. These messages can apply to many situations, cultures, and periods.

The book is extremely well-written and well-organized with no significant errors in editing. While there is no profanity or sexual content, there is some violence. This violence is part of history and while it can be unpleasant to read, the scenes are necessary to show the conditions and habits of the Roman Empire. This book may be read by a variety of individuals and appreciated for what it is, a story of forgiveness and acceptance. Some may be offended by the Christian message, but this message is presented in an open and non-judgmental style. Some sections sound like a modern-day preacher and interrupted the flow of the story. However, these were minimal and easy to move past. Because of the author’s simple but effective message and excellent writing skills, I rate this book five out of five stars.”

5 out of 5 stars
Cathy Burgin

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ClearStone Publishing