My Review of “A Passionate Hope” by Jill Eileen Smith

A Passionate HopeAs I read through the pages of “A Passionate Hope” I felt I was in the biblical hill country of Ephraim, interacting with Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and Elkanah, son of Jeroham as they lived their lives as Kohathite’s dedicated to daily worshiping Adonai Tzva’ot, at home and at the tabernacle of Shiloh during the time of Eli the Priest and his two corrupt sons, Hophni and Phinehas.

Though these people lived long ago they have been brought to life through Jill Eileen Smith‘s newest book titled “A Passionate Hope.”

The Bible doesn’t say much about Hannah except what is read in 1 Samuel 1:2 and 2:21. Other than that, she is never mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.

But Jill Eileen Smith took what was said in those few Bible verses and coupled it with biblical history and research to weave an incredibly true to life story of hope and trust that is captivating to read.

“A Passionate Hope” is the story of Hannah, who though married to a man who truly loves her as much or more then she loves him, cannot conceive a child that both of them desperately want.

It is a story of hope that endures through many trials.  It is a story of trust in a God who seems to not hear the prayers prayed day by day, and year by year.

It is a story of heartache and heartbreak as a childless Hannah deals with the unkindness and rejection of family and the evil she sees being carried on in the tabernacle by those who are supposed to be God’s priests. It is a story of a woman whose faith is strong, who chooses to pray and praise instead of murmur and complain.

Many times as I read this book I found myself relating to the situations Hannah and Elkanah faced.

When I read:   “Tears fell in drops as though she were standing in a storm, her heart burning within her. Oh, Adonai. Do You even listen to my prayers? I ask and I ask and beg and I plead, and nothing changes.”  (page 180)

Many times, I like Hannah, prayed and prayed for something for years and years without any results, wondering, as Hannah did, if God actually did see and hear.

“Oh Adonai, why do You not act?  Why do You let the evil go on and on?” (Page 199)

Many times I have also uttered a similar question to God regarding evil works I have seen, just as Elkanah did when he saw the continual evil being done by Eli’s sons.

This book was filled with emotions of frustration, fear, sadness, and anger.  Yet, also of hope, love, forgiveness, kindness, self-sacrifice, hope and trust.

This book shows us that God does see and hear all the circumstances we face but sometimes He seems to be silent because we have  to wait for His timing.  He has a plan for good that can only be fulfilled in His time.

So, we have  to wait, trust and hope, sometimes for what seems like a long, long time.  But, in the end it is always worth the wait.

–Leona J. Atkinson


“The Sound of Rain”–Book Review

   My Review of “The Sound of Rain” by Sarah Loudin Thomas

“The Sound of Rain” has a beautiful cover that is soft to the touch and which holds within a beautiful story filled with adventure, suspense and romance!

There are many things to like in this book “The Sound of Rain” by Sarah Loudin Thomas.

The story revolves around two characters Judd Markley, an Appalachian miner turned timber worker and Larkin Heyward a dissatisfied socialite in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. These two people lead very different lives, with very different dreams, yet they are brought together through two disasters–a mine cave in and a hurricane. How will these disasters cause changes in their life pathways and will it be for good?

As Judd Markley, deals with leaving behind the Appalachian mine tragedy, Larkin Heyward dreams of going to Appalachia to live and work. How could these two people ever come together to be friends or even more?

As the story evolves I see God’s hand at work throughout, leading and guiding in various ways and events that will lead to great changes in Judd and Larkin’s lives. Will those changes bring happiness and fulfillment to both?

The above questions were some that came to mind as I read this truly a beautiful story that held my attention from page 1 to page 331.  I highly recommend it as a great read!

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review and in no way received any monetary compensation.

Visit Sarah Loudin Thomas Website at:

–Leona J. Atkinson

Book Review of “Cherished Mercy” by Tracie Peterson

Tracie-Peterson-Cherished-Mercy-CoverMy Review of “Cherished Mercy” a book by Tracie Peterson published by Bethany House

I recommend this book to those of you who enjoy reading frontier stories filled with faith, values, adventure, historical fact and romance , for it has all that and more.
The setting is in the Oregon Territory in the year 1855.
For those of you who know your US History you will know this was a time of much conflict between the US Army and the Native Americans.

This book tells the story of Mercy Flanagan who had traveled West with her family to find land and build homes.
Mercy, who as a child endured the Massacre at the Whitman Mission as a child, is now grown.  She is a young woman and lives in Oregon City, Oregon with her two sisters who are married with children. Mercy has yet to marry and so is contacted for help by a family friend who lives in the Rogue River Valley at a Mission. The Mission ministers to the Rogue River Indians who live in the area, especially the Tututni tribe.
This family friend is having a difficult pregnancy because her health is poor and she needs help to care for her husband, child and Mission duties.
Mercy is understandably hesitant to go given her previous experience with the events at the Whitman Mission, but as she and her sisters pray about it, she decides it is God’s will that she go.

The first chapter in this book seemed very slow reading as it was describing all the necessary background to what one needed to know in order to grasp what was to come, but Chapters 2 thru 26 are much different!
You will find it hard to stop reading as each chapter will challenge you to find out what is going to happen next!  This book is a very enjoyable read that will touch all of your emotions.

“Cherished Mercy” is Book #3 in the “Heart of the Frontier” series.
Book #1 is “Treasured Grace” Book #2 is “Beloved Hope”

Visit Tracie Peterson’s Website at:

–Leona J. Atkinson


Review of “Seeing the Elephant: Voices from the Oregon Trail”

Seeing the Elephant: Voices from the Oregon TrailSeeing the Elephant: Voices from the Oregon Trail by Joyce Badgley Hunsaker

This book has some very interesting stories of true life happenings on the Oregon Trail.

It contains actual journal entries and stories of Narcissa Whitman (1836), Thomas Jefferson Farnham (1839), Jesse Applegate (1843), Catherine Sager (1844), Abilgail Scott (1852), Ezra Meeker (1852), Helen Stewart (1853), Fincelius G. Burnett (1865), and Mrs. Lucy Alice Ide (1878). All these tell their stories of traveling the Trail to Oregon Country. All the accounts are in the actual words of those named and are most interesting.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in American History, especially the History of the Oregon Trail. It brings to light what truly happened to the people we call pioneers who traveled West in covered wagons to reach the land of their dreams. It is amazing all they went through and the positive determination they had to succeed. It causes one to truly appreciate these emigrants of the early West and all they accomplished.

–Leona Atkinson

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Redeeming Grace–Book Review

Redeeming Grace: Ruth's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #3)Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith is Book #3 in the Daughters of the Promised Land series.
It is a fictional, yet historically, biblically based story of Ruth, the Moabite woman who is redeemed into a Hebrew family.

There are so many wonderful things I would like to say about this book, yet I know I must limit my words in this review to just a few.

The book creates a very believable story regarding the events written in the bible’s account of the book of Ruth. It offers historical facts regarding the cultures of the people of that time period.
It brings the biblical account to life by adding a believable true to life story based on historical facts done by Jil Eileen Smith. The way the author weaves fact and imagination together throughout this book makes it something that is not easily put aside, and as much as this book compelled me to keep reading it to the finish, it also made me not want it to end when I came to the final page.

Although I have read the book of Ruth many times in the bible, this book, Redeeming Grace, held my attention fast with each page and made me wonder what would happen next, even though I knew the outcome of each event from reading the bible. It also made me aware of historical facts that I had not known regarding people, places, customs, and cultures.

As I read the book I experienced the sadness, fear, and confusion of Ruth, a Moabite who was unhappy with her pagan life and wondered if there could be a better way to live. I shared in her confusion and awkwardness as she chose a new path for her life which led her away from her family and into a new land and new relationship with a God she didn’t know, but chose to trust and believe in.
I felt the sadness and sorrow of Naomi at the loss of her home in Bethlehem and then the loss of her husband and sons in a foreign country. Yet, I also felt her strength and her faith in her God, whom she loved in spite of all her grief and how she was faithful in her love for Him no matter what misfortune beheld her. I also felt the grief of Boaz as he dealt with his adverse life experiences, yet kept an unwavering faith in God through them all.

The story shows the reader Redemption, Renewal and Restoration for those who believe. It is also a glimpse into the second coming of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom who will soon be coming for His Bride, the true believers who have chosen to believe and receive Him. It shows how God works all things together for good for those who love Him as it says in Romans 8:28.

I highly recommend this book. It is an excellent read and one which will enrich your love for Adonai, the Lord God, and make you aware of his plans and purposes in your life as you believe, trust, and love Him.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but a positive review was not required. My opinions are entirely my own.
–Leona J. Atkinson

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Happy New Year! 2017

54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ


Happy New Year!
Today would be a great day to begin your 2017 by learning what you have been blessed with in Christ!
The book of Ephesians lists 54 Spiritual Blessings that believers receive when they believe and receive Christ.
Discover a blessing each week of this New Year and learn how to walk in it!
Invite others to share your journey through hosting a weekly study.
54 Blessings throughout 52 Weeks–what an exciting way to spend a New Year!
 Order your copy today!