Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review of "Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania" by Melanie Dobson


Jodi and Melanie arriving in Haiti

It’s hard for me to write objectively about Melanie’s work since she’s one of my best friends.  I’d be her biggest fan even if her writing stunk.  Fortunately, she’s really talented so I don’t have to lie about her work.  WHEW!  This book in particular will always be a favorite because I started it on a plane headed to Haiti for a mission’s trip.  I read it laying in the hot sun by the Caribbean Sea with Melanie sun bathing next to me at the end of a life-changing week in Haiti.  I finished it on the plane sitting next to Melanie as we returned home to our families.  Who gets to do that?

Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania is one of those stories that makes you scratch your head and ask, “People really lived like that?” Melanie’s meticulous research laid the groundwork for a fascinating history lesson.  I couldn’t believe the customs that dictated the way the Moravian people lived.  Spouses were chosen by lot, forcing members of the society to at times marry someone they’d never even spoken to.  Once married, they lived their lives out in separated quarters. I definitely would not have lasted long as a Moravian!

I’m not a huge fan of pie-in-the-sky romance novels, which is one reason I love Melanie’s stories.  In Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Melanie tells an authentic and poignant love story of a couple tackling big marital issues.  She doesn’t gloss over real-life issues like lust, vulnerability, and commitment.  Christian and Susanna, the main characters, battle for their love to survive.  Their love grows through the action, not romantic feelings, of consciously choosing to honor their marriage vows.

Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania also has an underlying story of faith tested through trials.  Melanie writes eloquently about the tension that exists in deep faith.  How do we balance waiting for God to speak directly with moving forward on our own based on common sense and the Holy Spirit’s leading?  I found my faith challenged as I reflected on the different ways that God speaks and directs our steps.

now you know what the cover looks like
You may not have the chance to turn the last page of Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and have the author ask, “Well, did you like it?”  But I can guarantee that you won’t regret reading this story of love, history, and faith.  Happy reading.

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