Title: Christian’s Hope (Return to Northkill #3)
Author: Ervin R. Stutzman
Publisher: Herald Press
My rating is 5 stars.
Readers are introduced to the time period, historical events and people in the first two novels titled, Jacob’s Choice and Joseph’s Dilemma. We meet the Hochstetler family who were real people who lived during the French and Indian War though not unscathed. Jacob is the father who owns adjoining farmland with his older children while he still has a couple of younger ones at home. When the home is attacked, there are a few fatalities in the family and Jacob, Joseph and Christian are taken as prisoners. Readers will want to read the first two installments to help better understand the setting, family interactions and experiences of both Jacob and Joseph before concluding with Christian’s Hope.
Christian was a young man when he was taken prisoner and remained with a tribe for some time before being forced to return to Northkill. When Christian returns, while happy to see his family members, it’s the fitting back into the community that he most wrestles with along with meeting his father’s expectations. All Christian wants is to live his life and be accepted for who he is, what he believes and how he wants to live along with helping others understand a different view of Native Americans.
Throughout the series, I was engrossed in the telling of the fictional part of the story, especially when I would remember that these were real people. At the end of the book, the author shares what happened with Christian in his lifetime and the development of his faith that reaches into our day. I could relate to the struggle Christian was facing in that in order to be considered part of the community external changes were expected. No one wanted to hear his view of what he learned when he was captive as many were still grieving the loss of their loved ones.
In time though, Christian is led to a community of people who love him for who he is and in time Christian decides to make some changes outwardly so people can see the inward change. I think one of the reasons I love historical fiction is learning the history of the era, people or events that I never knew about. It’s rare to find such great fictional written during the French and Indian War period which then spans past that time into other known events. I highly recommend the series as it is very telling of a family’s faith, tragedy, joys and life experiences that are so vastly different than ours today.
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