MM - July 12th

This week has a particularly heartwarming story attached to it. While at the theatre (second job), I was doing a kid's show for the morning. During the summer we do kids shows three days of the week, where last years movies can be seen for free for a one-time showing. It's obviously a very busy time as large groups of camps, churches, and schools come in. Individuals may come in as well, of course. I'm in the habit of noticing when people bring in books to ask them what they're reading. One woman and her two young daughters came in and she started telling me about her book, saying it was a Christian novelist who wrote a Romance series. She had the sequel and told me I needed to check out the first book. I told her I would when I got the chance.

This forgotten, I was leaving hours later when she ran up to me and handed me a Books a million bag. Her daughters and her had gone out and purchased the book for me at the bookstore after their movie! I was touched, to say the least. Random strangers doing this for me was very touching and surprising. I told her I never read Christian romance before, so this will be a first for me. This book will always hold fond memories because of that.

The second book was purchased on a whim. My fiance and I were going to meet my mom to see Super 8, and were early, so we stopped to browse at Books A Million's sales. I ended up picking up The Cathedral of the Sea for $3.00. It seemed...different and I was itching to buy a new book.

Cathedral Of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones de Sierra

Cathedral of the Sea, by Ildefonso Falcones is the literary successor to Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. A debut novel about faith, freedom, and love, Cathedral of the Sea is set during the construction of Barcelona's greatest landmark and against the backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition.
Spain in the year 1320 is a place of great danger. Bernat Estanyol and his infant son Arnau, are forced to escape to Barcelona after Bernat's wife is appropriated by the cruel feudal Lord of Navarcles. In Barcelona, Bernat and Arnau can be freed from their ties to the feudal land if they live for a year and a day without being found.

But life is never easy for the Estanyols. Despite their hopes, they find that freedom is a relative term when one is indebted to an unforgiving and devious brother-in-law. After the tragic death of his father, young Arnau finds himself orphaned and alone. With nobody to turn to, except the Virgin Mary and the Santa Maria del Mar church, Arnau devotes himself to the church and embarks on a life filled with drama, war, riches and love that his father, a former serf, could never have imagined for him.

Faced with hunger, war, a city in turmoil, and the Spanish Inquisition, Arnau finds a way to escape from his pre-determined feudal destiny: through faith and hard work. He finds love, friendship, and embarks on numerous careers: as a builder of the cathedral, as a moneylender, as a soldier. Cathedral of the Sea tells the extraordinary story of the first populist: a good man who never forgets his humble origins.

Though set in the distant past, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones is distinctly modern: concerned with what it means to be a man, father, son and, most of all what it means to be free. Cathedral of the Sea is an intensely readable and relatable novel. Engrossing and compelling, the story of Arnau Estanyol is not to be missed.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
California's gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father's heart in everything, Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel's every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband's pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does ... the One who will never let her go.

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