Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Heavens Before by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she's never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah's courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence -- a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own.

The Review:

My Ranking: 10 out of 10
Ages 14 & up

Let me start by saying this is my all time favorite book. It was incredible, and I have high standards for what I consider a good book - this meets those standards in every way. Enter the life of Annah - a young girl who is stuck amidst the sin and hatred that engulfs the people of the world before the flood. Annah knows the way of the people is corrupted and feels within her that there must be a God out there, hoping that such a God could care for her; unlike her family. Since her father's death at the hand of her brother, Annah has learned that silence is the best way to avoid a beating at the harsh hands of her siblings, but then a man across the river who seems to have the ability to peer into her soul saves her life...and changes everything.

This book was fantastic. Though I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a book filled with tense moments and sweet scenes. Annah and Shem have the most beautiful love story I've ever seen - it was such a joy to read.  The Heaven's Before will tug at your emotions and cause you to ponder the circumstances that Annah and Shem live in. It is definitely a book that you will want to reread over and over again after turning the last page.

I only have a few things to mention about the content, the first being that the sins of the nation are very evident. Nothing is ever described, aside from perhaps a beating, but we do know of the lust of the men in the camps and how they commit adultery. One of Annah's own family members has a child out of wedlock. As I said before, nothing is described, but the violence is very apparent in the first few chapters.
The only other thing I'd like to mention is that there are a few lovey scenes after Shem and Annah marry. I was happy that there was nothing before - it was very clear that even personal contact was frowned upon in Noakh's family before marriage. But, afterwards, some of the scenes by be a little too much for a young reader. There are several scenes of them kissing and one, the night they move into their own house, where it ends the scene with him laying her in their bed. This is suggestive, but I was very happy that Gramckow ended the scene there. It was a very good way of showing how much Shem loved his wife and she loved him without going into unnecessary detail.

All in all, the book was amazing and I can't say just how much I recommend it. This is definitely not a book you will regret picking up. Purchase it HERE.


Renee Ann said...

I haven't read this book yet, but I think I won it through Book Ponderings! I'm saving it for Spring Break. I wanted to let you know about the Frebruary Christian Book Club. You might want to participate since the book choice is a "free-for-all." But I have lots of great suggestions here:

Jane said...

Actually Ms. Renee, you won it here on Reviews By Jane a few months back during my interview and giveaway with Kacy Barnett-Gramckow! ;-)

Great! Thanks for pointing it out - I'll look into it!

Sheila said...

Great interview. Sounds like a book I could really enjoy. Please enter me in your book give away. Thanks. Carmen sent me.

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