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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Tangled Ashes

Tangled Ashes, by Michele Phoenix, is a Christian fiction novel that tells the historical story of a castle in Lamorlaye, France that was once used by the Nazis as Hitler’s baby factory during their occupation of France in, along with a modern story of the castle’s renovation.

In the modern day scenes, an American architect named Becker had been called in to renovate the Lamorlaye castle. He was a functioning alcoholic for years who struggled with a failed marriage that crippled him emotionally.  Because of his attraction to the owner’s nanny, Jade, he toyed with the idea of getting sober throughout the entire story. Alongside “Beck” we were introduced to a squatter named Jojo and the project designer, Terese along with the boss, Fuller and his family – the key players in the modern day plot.

Interwoven with the story of the modern day characters and their rocky on again off again relationships is the story of the castle’s former function as the headquarters of the Nazi officials and the baby factory that employed two maids, Marie and Elise.  This part of the book was interesting as it delved into the actual history of the castle, using the fictional story to bring out the historical value of Meunier manor, the same structure that Becker the architect is renovating in the modern day story. This part of the book didn’t resolve itself until the end of the modern day part of the book. It all came together quickly and left the reader hanging – to the point where it was obvious it was written with plans of a sequel, a sort of cliff hanger that fell flat.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel pulled into the lives of any of the modern day characters, though there seemed to be a possibility of that happening in the beginning of the historical account. I would have liked to have seen the characters in the WW2 part of the story more developed and the WW2 story to have been given a bigger part in the book. That was where I found the reading enjoyable. The book would have been a hit if it solely dealt with the WW2 baby factory/Nazi headquarters and the characters involved in the historical account.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review by Handlebar Publishing.

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