From Dust and Ashes
by Tricia Goyer
Category: Fiction / Historical
463 pages; ISBN: 0802415547
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively
For Europe, the war is over. Prison camps are being liberated, and SS guards are rounded up for punishment as their families are forced to leave their homes - a much lesser fate than was received by the people imprisoned. One such wife is Helene, heavily pregnant with her second child and coping with her husband Friedrich's abandonment, who faces her eviction alone.
An emotional reunion with her estranged father presents Helene with a new home, yet it is not enough to ease the guilt brought on from her years in a tense, perhaps abusive marriage. With no thought to her own welfare and the concern of her peers, Helene volunteers to take in two prisoners - Michaela, a Christian arrested for harboring Jews, and Lelia, a Jewish teenager barely clinging to life. The gesture indeed attracts attention, not the least from an American GI named Peter Scott.
Hoping to take advantage of his presence in the war to further the Word of God, Peter's own faith is shattered by the devestation encountered in its aftermath, particularly after the liberation of the concentration camps. He finds strength and solace in his visits to the three ladies harbored at Helene's father's house, feelings felt also by Helene as her charges gradually help to alleviate her guilt by association through their example of faith.
From Dust and Ashes is billed as "story of liberation," yet the meaning is twofold. There is the setting of the fallen camps, the fallen Third Reich, and the liberation of the Jewish people. Author Goyer, in a rich, engrossing narrative, offers the reader a view of characters set free of their emotional traumas by forgiveness, faith, and love. Dust is also a love story, not in the traditional romance novel sense (though elements are visible), as evidenced in the gentle tensions between Peter and Michaela, as well as Peter and Helene. Written with remarkable, thoughtful accuracy, From Dust and Ashes is a story of hope set in a time where such a thing appeared to be lacking, a story for the mainstream.
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