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So Shines the Night Daria is a scholar who is gifted in languages When she attempts to save a child from a sect of sorcerers in Rhodes she suddenly finds herself fleeing for her life Merchantman Lucas offers her a passage to Ephesus in exchange for teaching him the Persian language Once in Ephesus the shadow of the ancient wonder the Temple of Artemis casts its beauty on the city and Daria Yet she soon finds that the same evil she fled from has found her amidst the Temple's beauty Daria is offered refuge among the followers of the Way a religious sect that began in Jerusalem and is spreading like wildfire to all parts of the known world These followers offer a Hope that Daria never knew before Will she succumb to the evil of the gods she grew up with or answer the calling of those followers of the Way?This is the first book I've read by Tracy Higley and it won't be my last I did find that the story started off a little slow but it moved very very uickly once I hit about chapter 3 I loved the way that the Christians of the early church were so willing to give their lives for their Savior I don't run across that attitude much with today's church Anyway seeing the power of darkness be overcome by those who followed the Way was pretty awesomeI received the kindle version of the book for free from Thomas Nelson's booksneeze program for the purpose of reviewing though I also bought a copy My thoughts and opinions are my ownRecommended to fans of Francine Rivers Mesu Andrews and those who enjoy Biblical FictionRating 4 stars So Shines the Night is a Christian historical romance set in 57 AD in Rhodes and Ephesus As usual Higley expertly wove historical and setting details into the story so that I felt like immersed in the story transported to Ephesus in 57 ADThe romance was a sort of Gothic romance with two hurting people who were trying to fix tragic mistakes they made in their past marriages But they find that they can't overcome the evil powers that are against them demons Yet Paul can cast out demons so Daria becomes interested in his God The story was full of action and high suspense as Daria and Lucas went from one dangerous situation into another and nearly everyone seemed at odds with each other except the ChristiansI really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book but I had two problems with the last third of the story it departed from what is actually stated in Acts 19 by adding significant events people and time gaps to the stated events and her Paul was not the man I knowThe Paul that I know from Acts and his letters is a zealous man who thought he was righteously destroying blasphemers Christians but who realized Jesus really was divine when he encountered Him on the road to Damascus After that he was zealous for preaching this wonderful good news no matter the price out of gratitude and joyThe Paul of So Shines the Night says that he was angry that Christians taught that there was no need for sacrifices any and that they departed from the Law Even after he realized that they taught the truth he wanted them dead out of pride Then he met Jesus which somehow made him stop but now he's a guilt ridden man He believes that the suffering he endures in preaching the gospel is God's rightful punishment for his past sins and that all other Christians are innocents who only suffer as an overflow of God's punishment on him The only thing Paul seems to learn in this story is that he can't protect others from getting hurt for being Christians and he shouldn't be surprised by suffering that comes when sharing the gospel It's like he doesn't understand forgiveness grace etcPaul gave a number of short sermons in the story and I generally agreed with what he taught in them Some were uotes from the Bible However I just couldn't get past the wrong theology that Paul preaches about his own situation including how God views sinners and who ualifies as a sinner And I seem to have missed Daria's acceptance of Jesus which is not the same as her rejection of the Greek gods Not to mention that Paul could be a fortune teller himself with how much knowledge God gave him about Daria's future over the course of the storyAlso I was disturbed by how the baby's mother was killed at the end The woman finally showed a glimmer of selflessness despite her terror yet she's brutally killed to get her out of the way and she probably died unsaved That rather ruined the happy ending for meThere was no sex There was a minor amount of he cursed style of bad language Overall I probably would recommend this novel because of its historical immersion aspect but keep in mind that the ending might leave you disturbed instead of happyI received a review copy of this book from the publisher through Booksneeze So Shines the Night was not all I had expected it to be but it was surprisingly good While reading their were some very dark parts that made me think that I might not be able to finish the novel However I was able too and came to see that the evil in life is not something we can run from like Daria tried to do in the beginning Their is a dark and fierce battle going on around us like Ephesians 612 says this also was one of the main themes in this novelFor we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places Lucas's inner battle was another dark part of the story that had me a little hesitant on reading the novel He had a strong struggle concerning the ways of sorcery as well as his thoughts involving his trips to the place where the sorcerers did their experiments Again I do realize that this is real stuff that does occur in our world today Some of the parts concerning these sorcerers where Daria is around them and says that she would get chills because of their darkness I could feel too Despite that I could feel their darkness I felt God's power too and realized that if we don't have the armor of God we truly are defenseless My reason for giving this book a four star is because I was disappointed that Daria didn't become a Christian like Lucas did I am not sure if she really surrendered herself to God's will because she doesn't give a declaration like Lucas did but yet in the end Paul said she would teach the other young Christians I know as new Christians we do have uestions but I would have liked a confirmation if Daria really did get saved because it left me feeling unsure of her teaching othersI do have to mention that Tracy did bring Acts 19 to life and it was exciting to read about the Christians hardships as well as joy during that time I did not realize how deep Ephesians were into sorcery and ritualssacrifices to the goddess that these early Christians were a target to many people who HIGHLY disagreed with their views and would do anything to get rid of them almostOverall this was a deep read with a well written insight to the true battle that is raging all around us whether we are Christian or not So Shines the Night by Tracy Higley is her latest novel in the Seven Wonders of the World series and deals with the Temple of Artemis The main theme for the story is based on Biblical scripture found in the nineteenth chapter of Acts Tracy has a uniue gift for writing historical Biblical novels and that is plainly seen in this novel that takes place in Ephesus around the year 57 AD Daria a widow is a very unusual woman in that she is very well educated in several languages philosophy history and other subjects After meeting Lucas a wealthy merchant in Rhodes in an unusual and somewhat funny situation he invites her to come to Ephesus with him to be his personal tutor so that she can teach him the Persian language Daria has discovered secrets in Rhodes that endanger her life so she eagerly accepts the offer from Lucas Daria and Lucas are both searching for a second chance at happiness and love and at the same time searching for truth and freedom but they go about it in entirely different ways Lucas changes when they reach Ephesus and begins to sink into the world of the evil sorcerers The danger escalates when Lucas is thrown in prison and Daria is afraid for his life and sanity and puts herself in danger to try to help himDaria and Lucas encounter Paul and his Christian followers and are drawn to the people of The Way but they seem to be unable to accept the fact that there is only One God and that He forgives everyone of all their sins In their search for God Daria and Lucas are helped by Paul Timothy Auilla Priscilla and other members of the Christian group known as The Way Daria is given a place to live with Auilla and Priscilla and their loving ways help her to accept God’s love and forgivenessThere was a lot of spiritual darkness in the book but this was typical of this period of time in Ephesus One of the most frightening scenes was the struggle between the Christians and the sorcerers in front of the Temple of Artemis Also the description of the shop owned by the leader of the sorcerers where unsuspecting women were given mind altering potions gave me goosebumps but even that did not seem uite as frightful as the prison where Lucas was being held There was a good deal of suspense throughout the story but especially near the end during the trial of Lucas and the events following the trial as he was on his way to be executedAs in all her other books Tracy did an excellent job with the plot characters dialogue and the description of all the scenes The story became so real to me that I felt as if I were traveling the roads in Ephesus and meeting with Paul and the early Christians and being a part of all the action I found the message of the book to be uite inspiriting and it inspired me to want to do better in my Christian walk with God I was definitely entertained by the book even though at times I was shaking in my shoes due to all the horrible things that were taking place The ending is so gripping that I was sitting on the edge of my seat and found myself holding my breath at times Tracey certainly has a gift for writing suspense into a story In spite of all the suspense and danger taking place there was still enough romance in the story to keep the relationship between Daria and Lucas interestingI highly recommend this book especially to those who like historical Biblical novels that deal with faith and the power of God interwoven in a great story and also based on historical facts This is the third novel that I have read by Tracy Higley and I think it is the best of the three In fact I will go so far as to say that this is the best Biblical novel I have read by any authorI received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneezecom book review bloggers program I was not reuired to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own Daria's new home in Ephesus with Lucas both beguiles and confounds her until she meets followers of The WayHer past has taught her that evil is real that it can consume a person She saw it happen with her husband before he took his own life Widowed with no family Daria becomes a tutor to Lucas a rich traveling merchant from Ephesus There she discovers evil has a strong foothold and that Lucas himself seems drawn to evil and sorceryAs her relationship with her employer grows she fears that she will be unable to pull him from demonic influence Tension in the city is about to erupt as a new sect called The Way continues to draw followers A man called Paul leads the movement against the economic and political strength of the city found in its goddess cultWhen she learns of the ways of the Christians and their ability to defeat evil she begins to have hope But then Lucas is arrested and jailed for a brutal crime and it seems not even the Christians can helpTensions escalate in the city until thousands are pouring into the arena to protest the influence of the Christians and a plot to kill Paul is underway When Lucas's execution is scheduled Daria must find a way to prove his innocence save his life and help her new friends before everyone she loves is destroyed Escaping from the dark tragedy of her past Daria finds herself in Ephesus serving as the tutor of a wealthy merchant Lucas But as she becomes and acuainted with the city Daria realizes she has not escaped at all The darkness of her past is still very alive in Ephesus and threatens to overtake her at every turn As the danger escalates Daria must decide who to trust for salvation those who practice the traditional pagan rituals or those who follow the radical message of the Christian God Where will she turn? Will she survive to find the truth? With danger and uncertainty lurking at every page turn Tracy L Higley’s So Shines the Night dares to take an imaginative look at events in Acts 19 Bringing classic biblical characters to life like Paul and Timothy Auila and Priscilla Higley’s vivid and well researched narrative explores the beginnings of Christianity as it confronts a pagan city head on and turns the characters’ lives upside down This combination of real historical events with the conflict ridden storylines of Daria and Lucas is exactly what I love about historical fiction novels Challenging me to consider the day in day out reality of the early church and its effect on the lives of ordinary people this novel is definitely a recommendation to anyone with an interest in biblical fiction And as usual I truly appreciate BookSneeze for providing me with a free copy of this novel and the opportunity to review it honestlyhttppagebypagebookbybookblogspot If this book were a movie you would be on the edge of your seat I was instantly engrossed in the characters and the storyline Once the author introduced the Apostle Paul and his helper Timothy into the story I just couldn’t stop reading Tracy Higley ingeniously weaves the events of Acts 1923 Acts 201 into this fictional storyline Titillating her readers with rich imagery historical tidbits and intriguing characters While there is much written about the power and practices of the sorcerers in the story which could be unsettling to some the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it I give this book 5 stars for it's entertaining storyline and message of God's power over darknessFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms Ephesians 612Biblical truths shared in the bookGod works through us Phil 213 Rom 613God will avenge Rom 1219We fight a spiritual battle Eph 612We are saved through faith Eph 28The power of the Holy SpiritGod protectsand many I am a big fan of Tracy Higley because she makes history come alive I can feel the elbows and shoulders pressing into me as she fights the crowds I can imagine the tall columns of the temple the smell of people and animals She describes everything in a very powerful wayThe characters are complex and interesting I like watching them grow and learn the evolution of their beliefs and motivations I can relate to them as well Lucas driven by his desire to assuage his own guilt and exact revenge for the death of his wife and child Daria trying to make a secure place for herself to understand and control the world around her and to know whether the darkness in Lucas is something she can save him from They both struggle with their ideas about faith and the groups vying for control over the peopleThis was a great story that will stay in my memory for a long time I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing my copy in exchange for this honest review WOW Such an amazing and thrilling read The characters are well developed and the plot will take you by surprise It really helps you understand the devastating and evil atmosphere of Ephesus at the time but it also illustrates the impact that Paul had on the community The historic section at the end is a joy to read and the prologue and epilogue tie together beautifully When I finished the book it was recommended by the author to read Acts 19 After reading the chapter it just made me LOVE the book even PLEASE read You won’t be disappointed Well done Tracey L Higley Listened to this on Audio It was so descriptive truly taking you back in time Tracy makes the characters come alive Not a book I would usually select but I needed an audio book in a hurry Have now started another one by the same author

About the Author: Tracy L. Higley

From her earliest childhood there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book From dragons and knights to the wonders of Narnia that passion has never abated and to Tracy opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe into the thrilling unknown With every book she writes she wants to open a door like that and invite readers t

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