Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HOLD THE FAITH by Susan M.B. Preston Apostle John Series

Don't you just love historical fiction? It has a way of helping us understand history in a way that reading a nonfiction work just cannot do. A gifted writer can flood dry history with just the right amount of "rain" to make it spring to life in our imaginations.

HOLD THE FAITH is a book  that I read slowly, snatch reading through the holidays. Had I read it more quickly, I think that I would have felt the rising tension even more dramatically. For me, it was rather like taking a journey not only to another place and time, but another culture—one with similarities to our Christian culture, but only in whom we serve in worship. 

Although there was an underlying tension throughout the novel because of the threat of the Romans, the story was not flashy or stressful but satisfying and enlightening. I found the descriptions of the marketplaces, the fellowships, and even what went into writing and copying the scriptures to be fascinating.

I found myself thinking about my own faith in Jesus Christ. What sacrifices would I make? Would I be strong enough in my faith to stand before persecution? Only in God's strength!

A little about HOLD THE FAITH:
  • gave insight into atmosphere of early church
  • no hurry for baptism because they counted the cost (which could have been their lives)
  • gave me a better understanding of the conditions and struggles of early Christians
  • taught a bit of church history in an interesting, natural way
  • revealed the tragedy of apostasy in some who turned away to follow the false teachers
  • expressed the animosity toward the Christ followers by the Jews
  • revealed how the early church followed the Holy Days, feasts, and the sabbaths
  • showed the angst that young brides (as young as 12)  felt with arranged marriages
  • gave a feeling for what it was like in Ephesus and the early church believers 
  • explained how many things were done at the time
  • built up a desire to read the next book in the series
  • shared wisdom for this mother of older children
  • lots of details make story plausible although it is fictional
From the Author: 
To be a Christian in 1st century Ephesus was dangerous for many reasons…
Once a year all that was required of all citizens of the Roman Empire was that they perform the ‘act of worship’ to the emperor Domitian. Under a previous Caesar, Jews were granted an exemption, but this did not extend to the Christians.
People of the Jewish faith believed them heretics… and had ensured that the Roman overlords knew that Christianity was a sect, not part of their faith.
Christians could not make the ‘act of worship’; it would break the First Commandment. In Roman eyes, this made them dangerous rebels, suspected of treason.
Pagans, who had many gods, felt threatened – not only by the threat to their trade but to their protection.
They believed – 
  • Their gods protected the cities, the crops, their trade and their lives – in exchange for sacrifice and worship.
  • Christians threatened this peace ‘agreement’ between them and their gods.
Then there was disease – another threat, as was death from injury, neither of which cared about the person’s beliefs.
Crucifixion or the arena awaited Christians who drew the ire of Roman authorities.
All these dangers and more unfold in the series – starting with Hold the Faith.
About Susan M.B. Preston

HOLD THE FAITH is available at Amazon in Kindle or paperback format.

Thank you Susan Preston for this review copy. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No I am not an Amazon affiliate.

This post was featured in issue #135 of The Christian Home Magazine.


  1. I don't have a Kindle, but this sounds like a book that I am gonna love!
    Can't wait to find it!


  2. Great review! I imagine that even though this is historical fiction you can very much relate some of the animosity still today! However, I will put this on my reading list for the insight and heck what a better way to see how bless we are today!

    1. True Ginger Dawn. It also spoke to me about my relationship with my adult son.

  3. Sounds like a good book...thank you for sharing with us, sweet friend. :)

  4. Wow---ok, this sounds like a great book. I'm putting it on my pbswap list now!

    1. Do you have a Kindle? It's $.99 on Kindle right now.


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