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The Gathering Storm by Bodie & Brock Thoene

Published by Summerside Press 2010, 320 pages, Historical Fiction/Romance, Paperback
The Gathering Storm is book 1 in the new Zion Diaries series.

Link for the book @ publisher:

Amazon link:

Christian book link:

This book was bought by me for the purpose of reading/reviewing.

The books of Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronouced Tay-nee) were the first Christian fiction books that I'd read. This was many years ago, as far back as the early 1990's. The first book in the series Zion Chronicles was written in the mid 1980's, but I began reading them a few years later.
This series not only introduced me to Christian fiction, but kindled in me a lifelong interest in the Holocaust.
Whenever I see that this team of writers has a new published book, I am quick to notice and quick to purchase.

I must be careful in my review to not "give away" any treasures from the book. I will say that this is a fantastic book with wonderful surprises!

Loralei Kepler, known through most of the book as Lora, is the daughter of missionaries in Europe during the years before World War II. Lora has an older sister Jessica that has a daughter named Gina.
Their parents are openly defiant of Hitler's regime and murderous plans for the Jew's. When the Blitzkreig begins marching westward through Europe; Lora, Jessica and her parents leave Germany and later Belgium just ahead of the advancing army.

One of the first things that I look for in a fiction book, is how is this story or characters unique against other books written on the same topic. The topic of this book is World War II and the Holocaust.
Two things stand out in my mind as I read this book:
1. A mysterious stranger is introduced in to the book with a mysterious past, and this brings about a completely different and creative and stand alone story in uniqueness.
2. The romance is not held back. What I mean is that (in my opinion) most romance in Christian fiction is subdued. Whether it is the publishers or authors that hold back I'm unsure. Romance is often downplayed--goes only so far, and as a result it is gray---unreal---not like in real life, boring. In reality romance and falling in love is passionate and arousing, it is emotionally and physically all-encompassing. When people in love kiss it is not with bland restriction, but with fiery desire and arousal. It could be that in trying to keep the Christian name in fiction, there is fear in wanting to not come across as sexually charging and promoting promisciousness; yet they are missing the mark when they do not allow their characters to hunger and desire for one another. I'm not advocating descriptive sexual daliances; I am in favor for fervor and passion in characters---not a youthful exuberience that comes across as giggly.
I was more than pleased with the romantic elements in The Gathering Storm, it swept me away!
Lora is a character that stands out in not only her human qualities both strong and weak (as we all have) but also in her faith in God lived out in the actions of her life. She is admirable and a heroine, yet she is tangible and human.
I felt that The Gathering Storm is an amazing book to what will be the beginning of a well-loved series by readers!

Blissful Reading!


The Thoene's books were some of the first quality Christian fiction I ever read. I look forward to this series!
Anonymous said…
Thank you Julia for taking the time to review The Gathering Storm. (Yes I do read reviews, and yours is one of the most profound! The Gathering Storm was perhaps the most personally exciting book we have ever written. Our heart's desire is that many readers will be swept up in the drama and the romance as we were when we wrote it! Many Blessings! Shalom, Bodie Thoene
Annette said…
Thank you Bodie for visiting my blog!
Tara said…
Annette, thank you for this review. I was just wondering if this new book has any of the old (and extremely loved) characters from any of the other Zion series? I'm looking forward to reading this story but I would love to know if so far, this series is filling in the holes of other characters' stories too.

Annette said…
Tara this is a new series.
Thank you for visiting!