post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Promised Land
Author: Robert Whitlow
Series: Chosen People, book #2
Major Themes: Christian Fiction, Modern Israel, Mysteries
Synopsis: As they work to grow closer together and make wise decisions for their family, Daud and Hana must also protect those around them—even when someone is out to take their lives.
Promised Land is the second book I’ve read by Whitlow, and I’m just as impressed with this one as I was with the first. He has a strong focus on Israel as a nation in this one, along with delivering a solid storyline and mystery and a lovely portrait of a family-in-progress. Its prequel, Chosen People, was also partially set in Israel, and I love how realistic the setting feels. I’ve rarely ever read books set in that particular area, so it’s special for me to get to experience a little—and, truthfully, makes me want to go there to see it myself. (Maybe one day, on that one!). This book felt somewhat different because there were married characters in here instead of single, and you also get to see a lot more of the villain’s plans—but don’t know how those will eventuate.
Hana is still working in Atlanta, but now with her husband Daud living with her, life is settled into a normal routine. Daud has accepted a job for the US government to try to extricate a Ukrainian scientist before he manages to meet up with Egyptian officials and pass along information about a new design for rockets. Meanwhile, Hana is focused on her work and helping Jacob Brodsky with a new client’s project. When things don’t go as planned and Daud’s job gets much more complicated than he anticipated, will his cover be blown? And when the client job generates more questions than answers, can they have wisdom to know what to do and how to do it?
Promised Land is a complicated story, but one of the biggest things I love about this story (aside from the realistic setting in Israel) was the faith element shown here. This really impressed me in Chosen People, too. Hana has her own little quirks, and though her faith is often not outrightly spoken about, she frequently is portrayed as getting up in the middle of the night for prayer time, working through troubles in her life and taking them to God. I loved that (and her Uncle Anwar’s perspective), because even though you often read about Christian characters in books, the practical sides of their Christianity are rarely shown. The way they act is definitely revealing, but to see their private spiritual life is very special—and inspiring.
The Israeli element is also, as always, special. I loved the descriptions of Jewish thought, as well as the city of Jerusalem, and the different foods and things like that served to bring this story to life.
If you enjoy mysteries, or watching a godly husband/wife relationship develop in a somewhat unusual setting, I’d highly recommend Promised Land. It didn’t strike me quite as much as the previous story, I don’t think, but it still had its own intense moments and a very solid faith element, which I loved. Whitlow is an author I’m planning to keep fairly close tabs on for now—I appreciate not only the setting and content of his books, but also his dedication toward showing Christianity in Christian fiction.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: A man’s favorite mistress is mentioned in the prologue (no more description than here). Someone hurts a man in ch. 4. Someone tries to kill a man in ch. 5 (somewhat graphic). A man is shot and injured in ch. 6, and more shots are fired. There is lying (mostly to protect identity—fake documents, etc.) in ch. 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14. People talk about people they know who were killed in ch. 8 and 11 (somewhat graphic). Someone remembers watching a land mine explode in ch. 13. Pregnancy is mentioned repeatedly in the later part of the book but without any descriptions aside from discussing the size of the baby and the occasional bout of morning sickness. The birth is told about briefly in the epilogue. There is kissing mentioned, almost exclusively with a married couple, in ch. 11, 13, 24, 26, 27, and 38. Someone curses or swears (those words) in ch. 34 and 39. A man is shot at in ch. 32 and 33 (somewhat graphic). Suicide bombers are talked about, and also what their vests contained, in ch. 37, 39 (also a bomb threat), and 40 (which includes a description of a bomb, one is set off, and another is almost set off). A man uses self-defense in ch. 40, and breaks another man’s wrist.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Christian Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Romance Fiction, 21st Century History, Asia, Middle East, Faith, Israel