I am most assuredly a bookworm. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. I recently had a chance to review The Heart Changer from Jarm Del Boccio, Author.
The story is based on 19 verses in 2 Kings. The story is of Naaman and his wife's maid. Namaan is the commander of the Syrian army. He has leprosy, which is a horrible disease of the day. His wife's maid, who is unnamed in the Bible, tells Naaman of the prophet Elisha. Naaman travels to Israel and is given the instructions to bathe in the Jordan river seven times. The end of the story is that Naaman does so and is healed.
The central character in The Heart Changer is the maid. The account of Naaman in the Bible does not reveal her name, nor does it give any details about it. Obviously, the author has built a fictional story about the girl, but I didn't find anything in her story to give me pause. I think it was very true to the time period and was so encouraging and heartfelt.
In the book, the maid is given the name of Miriam. She is a slave who has been captured during a raid and given to Naaman's wife. Miriam struggles with being taken away from her home and family. She has to deal with the jealousy and bitterness of a fellow servant. She wonders how God could have placed her in Namaan's household.
When it is revealed that Naaman has leprosy, God uses Miriam to point Namaan towards the prophet Elisha. Through Naaman's healing, Miriam is reminded of God's love and sovereignty.
There is also a great teacher's guide on the website for your use, as well. It features an interview with the author, Jarm. It also gives a short interview with Miriam. There are questions included that promote those issues brought up in the book. How does one deal with circumstances outside our control? Is it right to question God? There is also information about Syria and some recipes to try out. The guide is only 12 pages long and is a good addition to any study.
This is really a precious book. It is a short book and reads easily. The message is invaluable. There was a portion at the end of the book where I truly felt the Holy Spirit and was encouraged that God knows about all of us and He loves us. He is a miracle working God!
This one is truly a keeper!
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