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Room of Marvels

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  445 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews

In one tragic blow after another, accomplished Christian writer Tim Hudson lost his mother, his close friend, and his two-year-old daughter. Now he’s on the brink of losing his faith.

Room of Marvels takes readers on a silent spiritual retreat with Tim where he is swept up in a dream vision of heaven and given a guided tour by those he has lost. Reminiscent of the C. S. Le

ebook, 192 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by B&H Publishing Group (first published December 31st 2003)
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Debbie Evancic
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book! I actually starting crying, in the first chapter! It is the story of a man who has 3 deaths in his life, his best friend, his little daughter and his mother. He is stricken with grief and sadness and has a dream of going to heaven. The book is filled with emotion and I found myself reaching for the kleenex several more times before finishing the book. I had a hard time putting it down and even with a family birthday party, finished it within 24 hours.

This book makes you
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page 91 has changed my life:
No one can love a mask because you aren't real.
You never saw me until now.
Oh yes I did. Not often but now and again. Your mask came off a few times on Earth. It was then in those moments when you told me your fears and dreams, that I saw the real you. It was then Tim that I loved our real friendship the most.
When we are willing to be honest about our weakness, honest about our fears, our needs, our helplessness to save and cleanse and untangle ourselves from the webs
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recommend that a reader finish the epilogue before coming to a final conclusion about this book. As I read the main novel, I generally disliked it. I found it derivative of Dante's Divine Comedy, C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, and what I've heard of The Five People You Meet in Heaven (I've not read that one). I also thought it had a lot in common with William Young's The Shack, which was written later but had similarly awkward dialogue as a protagonist enters into a spiritual fantasy and has I ...more
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He was a close friend to Rich Mullins and after Rich's death also lost his young daughter and his mother within 2 years time. Struggling with his faith, he found healing through writing this story, a journey into heaven. It greatly encouraged me as well and outlines some great truths we need to apply to our life and faith on this earth.
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are dealing with loss ad grief, this is a must read. So much gold packed in such a short novel.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Once in a while you find a really great novel to read. One that changes your perspective on how you view this life, but the way we walk through it. Then there is the aspect of just what happens when we die. Do we see our loved ones again? How can we possibly grasp the wonders of what awaits us in heaven one day? How do we cope with the grief and loss of a loved one while we have to walk the rest of the journey through this life without them?

I think James Bryant Smith did an exceptional job at n
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim Hudsons Leben könnte nicht schöner sein. Als erfolgreicher Autor und liebender Familienvater hat er sich einen Lebenstraum erfüllt. Doch dann muss er innerhalb von drei Jahren mehrere Schicksalsschläge verkraften. Seine Tochter hat den Kampf gegen eine schwere Krankheit verloren und auch seine Mutter und seinen besten Freund hat er verloren.

Obwohl er seine Kraft bislang immer aus seiner Religion schöpfen konnte, zweifelt er nun alles an, an das er immer geglaubt hat.
Würde Gott es zulassen, d
Adam Shields
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Short review: This is a short novel about coming to terms with death and loss. The main character, an author, has had his best friend (and neighbor), his daughter and mother all die in a short period of time. He is mad at God and spiritually dead himself. He goes away on a retreat to re-discover his love for God.

It is hard not to compare this with the Shack. Although this was written 3 years earlier and it is focused on the joy of seeing people in heaven and the higher purposes of God, not on a
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, kindle, christian
Man faces great losses, loses faith in God and is swept away in a dream to a heaven-like place to have everything explained. So the premise is pretty simple. The heaven-like place is not all that unfamiliar, and the people he meets while there make you smile and feel good.

I found myself enjoying the ride, however, as a Christian who has suffered loss, I felt a little cheated. Belief and faith are such an important part of religion, that if you need proof to believe...well...then it isn't really
Brian K.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I am speechless!

James Bryan Smith has written the best book on grief! His understanding after living beyond multiple intimate friends and loved ones crossing over is marvelous. I did not know what the synopsis of this book was when I downloaded from "Inspired Reads'" website. I just knew that it had a high rating. Mr. Smith has taken the time to fully develop a believable circumstance based loosely on his experiences and weaved together a tale that helps one through the grieving process.

After lo
I read this book because Color Green Films is planning to make a movie of it and because I wanted to make a list of books about heaven that I could recommend. The author of this book saw a series of visions telling of some of his friends and family in heaven. I don't doubt this author's devotion or that he saw the vision. However, I don't think I was as greatly impacted by the book as some others were. I feel like it's The Five People You Meet In Heaven meets Heaven Is For Real, neither book I l ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grief-help
Room of Marvels is one of my favorite reads. I love the view of heaven that Tim gets in his dream visit. This book makes me laugh, it makes me cry; it makes me long for my turn to go to Heaven! Here are some of my favorite lines from this time through:
"You can't return to those days of innocence, but you can see the world through different eyes."
"When my car crashed, it didn't end. That is not where my life ended. That is where it began. Remember the night you heard about my death?"
"But it is
Sarah Wilson
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I dislike trippy books, but as this one is largely about a dream, I suppose it's allowed. I do not know how accurately the author's "vision" of heaven in his dream is- and logically it seems it could only be as comforting to those who grieve as it is accurate- but sometimes the heart seems to search beyond reason alone and maybe that's ok. The book is flat out weird and filled with sorrow as the author has recently lost several people close to him, including his young daughter. I read i ...more
Grant Davis
I was loaned this book by a friend and I was instantly enthralled by its intimacy. I compare this book to such writings as "Five People you Meet in Heaven" and "The Shack" in that this book really gets into your heart and causes you to do some deep searching into your relationship with God. The way the author addresses grief would be of immense help to anyone who has suffered great loss or disappointments in their life and helps lead them to true healing by God's comforting hand. I only gave 4 o ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished the book Room of Marvels. Wow! Once I started reading I couldn't put the book down and found the story line and dialog both enlightening, and affirming. It also aroused intense emotional feelings in me -- tears, laughter, goosebumps, joy, serenity...
The protagonist's "dream journey" paralleled my own recovery from alcoholism and self-centered living in many ways -- that too has been a spiritual journey of miraculous proportions.
I have no difficulty believing Room of Marvels cou
Brent Soderstrum
What a fantastic book! Although it is a novel the book has a lot of facts backing it up. Tim Hudson, a Christian writer, is at the end of his spiritual rope. In the last year and a half he has had his best friend, his mother and his two year old daughter die. He goes to a monastary for 5 days to get away and have it out with God. While at the monastary he has a dream in which God allows him to see heaven and those in it. He is given a guided tour by various people who have had an impact on his l ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Phil by: The author James Bryan Smith was recommend by Ron
Shelves: spiritual
A very nice and quick read. Do you want to know what heaven may be like? Do you want to know what "counts" in the afterlife? If so this may be a book to perk your interest in what lies ahead, after death, for a believer.

Although the book is fiction, the author tells a story of what loses he has faced in the past 18 months and how alone and forsaken he felt, and that God had left him. He puts his life on pause and takes some time to reflect, grieve, and find spiritual answers to his aloneness. Th
Erin Collazo Miller
Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith is a small novel that explores life after death. One Christian writer, Tim, gets a glimpse of heaven in the midst of grieving three tragic losses -- his best friend, mother and daughter. Smith creates a story reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. Room of Marvels does not hold the theological weight of Lewis, but it is perhaps more personal. This is not a must read for everyone, but it is a good choice for those dealing with suffering who want a Christ ...more
Nanette Littlestone
James Bryan Smith has a marvelous way with telling a story. I was initially drawn in by the blurb about the book, and the story continued to intrigue me as I read further. Tim's character was so relatable. Even though I haven't experienced the same profound grief, I could easily understand his misery and depression and loss of faith. We're all searching for a better understanding of life, and when life produces incomprehensible circumstances, why wouldn't we turn away and hide our joy? So with t ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I wasn't in an exceptionally painful time of life, unlike the main character, but I didn't find this book to be very healing and calming. I'm a busy person right now, and this book gave me moments of peace and tranquility. It was an easy and joy-filled read. I was worried that it would be a bit of a downer, due to the circumstances that instigate the story. However, the book was uplifting and gave me a positive possibility for a lot of my unknowns abo ...more
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It reminded me a lot of Mitch Albom's Five People You Meet in Heaven, but with a bit of a Christian twist. While my ideas of heaven differ quite a bit from the one posed in this book, it was a lovely read with thoughts to ponder for a while. Favorite quote:"The most beautiful stones are the ones that have been tossed by the wind and washed by the water and polished to brilliance by life's strongest storms."
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having lost a daughter and my mother within twenty-one months of each other, I could relate to the main character's challenge of being in a very dark place. In dreams that I've had, those who have gone to heaven are too bright to view with human eyes as well. Perhaps they come to give us peace when we are grieving. I love the whole idea about the room with your life experiences being in "boxes" that you could view at will. I know heaven is going to be amazing!
Sharon Alexander
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Concept

While I will admit I enjoyed this book, there were moments when I questioned the authors story. I was caught off guard by the message he was trying to impart and the methods God used to reshape the main characters life. When it was all said and done, it left me with much to think about. I would recommend it as long as the reader is patient and doesn't get ahead of the story!
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! This short novel is about a Christian man who is grieving the loss of his close friend, his daughter and his mother, all of whom he lost within three years. The book is somewhat based on the real life circumstances of the author, James Bryan Smith. Smith shares a very hopeful vision of what heaven will be like. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is grieving or anyone who would enjoy reading a Christian interpretation of what heaven may be like.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-study
a few favorites from the book:

"Do you think you could love yourself for [Jesus'] sake? ch 5

"There is more grace than you can imagine." ch 12

"...souvenirs of your love, of the things you did for other people, great or small." ch 14

"I lost my faith in the church. I let their hypocrisy ruin my love for the church...The church is not a club for saints; it's a fellowship of sinners." ch 15

"Don't underestimate the power of kindness."
ch 15
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoyed "Five People You Meet in Heaven", I would tell you that this book is far and away a much better read. I bought one, was so impressed that I bought two more for church libraries. Recently, I found I couldn't find my copy or the one I donated to my church library, so I ordered 5 more copies.........1 for me, and 4 to "loan" to friends. It's been compared to a C.S. Lewis book......can't remember to title, sorry. The author pulls from loses in his own life.
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
190 pages
This book is about a man's journey of healing that takes place in Heaven, or at least on the "edges" of Heaven. He's not there to stay yet, just there because of things God needed to teach him. I enjoyed it. Quick, easy read that allowed God to minister to some places in my own heart that needed it.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reason I didn't rate this higher is that I didn't know what I was getting and when it turned into a 'The Shack' type story, I was a bit disappointed. I kept going though, and in the end appreciated the points Smith was making. It's not brilliantly written but the thoughts are sincere and meaningful.
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My dad read this and was really moved by it and had a lot of healing take place over grief that he has experienced with losing loved ones. He got extra copies for friends and family to read, so I did. I loved the perspective on Heaven and our impacts on various people. I think this is a good book for anyone, but especially those not sure on how to think of heaven and/or dealing with grief.
deborah trout
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


yes, I agree that after losing my mom, the world has just felt all wrong. I had never heard anyone else say it quite like I feel it. and yes, I know she is much better off with God. doesn't stop me from missing her just as much after 12 years, tho.
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James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, KS and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Aprentis Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University.

A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, R
More about James Bryan Smith...
“But surely it was not God's will to give us a child with handicaps. God didn't do this, right?"
"It's a mystery, Daddy. You won't be able to understand it all till you get here and see all of the rooms and one-inch pictures. But this you can trust: God is always good.”
“And now you know it, don't you, Daddy? The only things worth seeking are treasures in heaven. And those treasures are our acts of love. People loved me, cared for me, and prayed for me not because of what I looked like or how important I was. My weakness brought out the best in people. I asked God why so many people loved me so much, and God said, `The most beautiful stones are the ones that have been tossed by the wind and washed by the water and
polished to brilliance by life's strongest storms.' That is why, Daddy. That is why I was born.”
More quotes…