Justin's Reviews > The Face of Heaven

The Face of Heaven by Murray Pura
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's review
May 31, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction, united-states
Read from June 01 to 09, 2012

This review was fist published in Historical Novel Review.

When two slaves seeking shelter on Lyndel’s farm are recovered by slave hunters, she and her Amish community are confronted with more than a crisis of conscience. Her Amish elders, her father included, want no part in the upcoming war. And even in this pacifist community slavery is hotly contested. Most would rather report runaway slaves and abide by the law rather than stir up trouble.

But Lyndel and her would-be suitor, Nathaniel, cannot stand by while others fight for the Union and abolition. Risking excommunication from their communities, Nathaniel enlists and Lyndel signs on as a nurse. They face ostracism and the loss of loved ones as they participate in some of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.

The Face of Heaven is a touching inspirational novel. Pura pulls no punches in the horror he puts his characters through, and I found myself drawn into the drama. Though I was distracted by continual references to Lyndel’s hair and eyes, and though the characters had an understanding of the battles and succession of generals that bordered on clairvoyance (an understanding that only hindsight and reference to textbooks can give), I enjoyed the novel.
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06/04/2012 page 110
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