Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Story of Peace, an Inspiring YA Novel by Miriam Ezeh

Last week in my "What We're Reading Wednesday" post, I gave you a little teaser about a book I'd just finished, a wonderful Catholic YA novel published by Bezalel Books.
I promised that a more in-depth review of this book would be forthcoming, and here it is:

The Story of Peace
An Inspiring YA Novel--for Readers of All Ages

Miriam Ezeh's haunting Catholic novel The Story of Peace absolutely blew me away. Aimed at teen and young adult readers, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written book that will touch the heart of any adult as well. Days after finishing it, the character of Peace Udomm (a beautiful young African woman who has seen her village and her family torn apart by war) stays with me. She is the most selfless, loving, humble, faith-filled person, despite the fact that her life has been anything but peaceful and easy.

After she loses her mother and father, in a brutal act of terrorism during a war with a neighboring village, Peace (barely more than a girl herself) must become a mother to her younger brother, a teenager named Lawrence. Unlike Peace, Lawrence is consumed with anger and longs to punish an entire village--the innocent along with the guilty--to avenge his parents’ deaths. He becomes part of an underground group whose plan is to fight violence with violence, and Peace is sick with worry. Her one goal in life is to take care of her brother and keep him safe from harm, and she doesn’t know what to do.

Enter a devout young American doctor named John Williams, whose late mother was born in Peace’s village. He has reverted to the Catholic Faith, after having fallen away, and has returned to Africa to settle in his mother’s birthplace. His plan is to set up a medical clinic to help all the needy people of that war-torn area. John is immediately taken with the quiet and serenely beautiful young woman named Peace, who works so hard and so selflessly to make a home for herself and her brother. The relationship that develops between John and Peace shows young readers what REAL love--chaste, pure, sacrificial love, the kind that mimics the love Our Lord has for us--looks like.

Throughout Ezeh’s book, Peace’s sweet and childlike faith is touching and inspiring. When she was a child, her mother taught her that she should tell Jesus everything that was in her heart; “He loves you so much and is listening to you,” she assured her daughter. Peace has taken her mother’s sage advice and adopted the practice of talking to Him often; and as she prays aloud when her soul is filled with fear and anguish, she begins by saying, “My dear Jesus, it’s me.” Those five simple words, uttered with such trust in the listener, speak volumes about this young girl’s relationship with Our Lord.

The title of this book has a two-fold meaning: it is about an unforgettable young heroine, a peaceful soul named Peace Udomm, who embodies the kind of pure, unwavering love for God--and utmost faith in His will for her life--that is reminiscent of the saints; but it is also about peace itself, about finding a way to end the hatred that leads men to wage war on one another.

The Story of Peace is a story of love and loss, of war and peace, of sin and redemption. Although it is only 163 pages long, it is an epic book.

I believe Miriam Ezeh’s triumphant novel should be on the shelves of schools across the country--and not just Catholic schools. I recommend this book highly for readers of all faiths and all ages--but particularly for impressionable teens and young adults who will benefit so much from its messages about faith, hope, chastity, sacrificial love, and of course, peace.


Have your kids read this gem; and while you're at it, maybe you should read it yourself.

Now for more book talk--and more recommendations--head on over to Housewifespice.

9 comments:

  1. This looks like a really good book! Thanks for sharing!
    (I just love that picture of you and your boys... it's obvious how crazy y'all are about each other. Love it.)
    Country Girl’s Daybook ~ Heaven is for Real film review (release date April 16) http://bit.ly/1h0O6Rd

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  2. It is my husband's absolute favorite picture of his boys and their mom. It was taken in 2007, so it's a little dated. My youngest son (the one in braces on the right) looks quite a bit more grown up now, at 21.

    I almost never got in pictures--I was usually the one behind the lens, so most of the good pictures of the kids include my husband, but not me. But he suddenly saw an opportunity, when we were all out at Notre Dame for a football weekend together, to snap this just as we were getting ready to say our good-byes. He grabbed my camera, made me take off my overcoat, and told the boys to gather all around me. My baby thought the point was to be silly (which was often the case when they posed for pictures)--thus the somewhat goofy expression on his face. These days, when they're all together and this picture comes up, they all tease him and tell him that he ruined it. (Their motto: I love, therefore I tease.)

    I am CRAZY about these boys, My husband and love them, of course, but we also really LIKE them, you know? When they were growing up, we always said we'd rather hang out with those guys than with anyone else in the world.

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  3. The book sounds really interesting! I've bookmarked it in my wishlist:)

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  4. What an endorsement! I'm definitely adding this one to my wishlist. I didn't realize til the end of your review that it's a novel, I was thinking these were real people, which is a good thing for a novel.

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    1. It felt real when I was reading it. I could picture the whole thing.

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  5. I agree with you Laura. So many impressionable teens and young adults would benefit greatly by reading this beautiful story. I am no longer young and I enjoyed reading this hope-filled story. Your in depth review of the book is excellent too! I look forward to reading your book, Finding Grace. God bless you Laura. Never give up!

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    1. Thanks for the nice comments and encouraging words! And if you do read it, I hope you like it. :)

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