Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eve’s Daughters

by Lynn Austin
Bethany House, 1999, 432 pages

reviewed by Jeanette Dykstra

This book was lent to me by a good friend who recommended it highly. I was a little skeptical at first because I don’t generally like Christian women’s fiction – it is too often written to a formula and it can be rather sappy. But while I was still reading it I noticed a young lady at church stuff another copy of the book into a friend’s mailbox. I asked her how she liked it and she said it was fantastic. When you add my vote in as well, that makes three recommendations for you so far.

Eve’s Daughters is the story of four generations of women and how their lives, relationships and marriages impact their daughters’ lives. It shows how the second commandment applies to mothers and their daughters as well: “…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6).

The story is mainly about Emma, a daughter born to immigrant parents. She is a rather free spirit who has trouble living by her parents’ rules. Their view of life and the living of it is too “old country” and dated. Emma considers herself an American, not a German-American. (It is rather interesting that for many first generation Canadians born to immigrant parents, some of the same thoughts and feelings come up. They too, have often felt caught between the old and new world and may have found their parents out of touch with their adopted country.)

But eventually Emma comes to see that the “rules” of the previous generation have value and are of great importance. She realizes that some of the choices she made in her life have caused great harm to her daughter and even her granddaughter. She must tell them the truth that she has kept carefully hidden for fifty years, and by doing so also free herself of the animosity that she feels toward God and reconcile with Him. Emma and her daughter and granddaughter learn that love – true love – forgives, just as we are forgiven by God through grace alone.

It is a beautiful book and I truly enjoyed it. I hope you will too.

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