Book Review: By the Waters of Babylon by Mesu Andrews

Posted August 17, 2018 by meezcarrie in Christian, historical, Mesu Andrews, romance / 2 Comments

about the book

SERIES: Psalm Series #2
GENRE: Biblical Fiction
PUBLISHER: McPherson Publishing
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2018
PAGES: 185

When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives’ bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives’ Psalm:

“[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees.” (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)

A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.

But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne–and his life–to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?

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“Only Yahweh chooses a broken woman to heal a wounded man.”

Oh I love Mesu Andrews – and her books. Her insight into the Scriptures and Biblical-era history combined with her beautiful way with words always settles right into my heart and soul. By The Waters of Babylon may be a shorter read than is typical for Andrews but her skill and talent are no less at play. Andrews’ writing style – in plot, characterization and pacing – is at once sophisticated and down-to-earth, giving you the heart-swell you get from reading fiction in a class of its own as well as the feeling that you’ve just been hugged by the author. ♥

She also keeps me on my toes as a reader (in the very best ways), and never more so than in By The Waters of Babylon. So much of this story did not go at all the way I expected it to. And that’s a great thing! Because the way it all progressed and turned out is infinitely better and more profound than I originally predicted to myself after the first few pages.

“People and courage may fail, but Yahweh is a Fortress whose mercies are new every morning.”

The history around the Babylonian exile is sobering (to say the least). Some of it is truly horrifying, from both the Scythian and Israeli sides of the occupation. Andrews doesn’t shy away from the truth but she handles it with tact and discretion. And through her characters, she is able to provide us with a more personal perspective to history we may have previously just skimmed over, letting us feel the atrocities and the desperation right along with them. Yet, at the same time, she weaves in a thread of hope and redemption and restoration that reminds us that God is with us in the fire even when we feel like He’s abandoned us. It’s certain that I will never read Psalm 137 – or any of the Old Testament books of the exile – the same way again.

Bottom Line: By the Waters of Babylon is exquisitely penned with compelling characters and an intriguing look at a period of Biblical history we don’t often camp out on – in personal study, teaching, or in fiction. And yet, it’s an integral part of both God’s judgment and His redemption of His people and the other nations He is ever drawing to Himself – and therefore, part of Scripture and history that we should be intentional about knowing. By The Waters of Babylon whets your taste buds by weaving a poignant and moving story that is not soon forgotten. Another must-read by Mesu Andrews!

(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I purchased for my own collection. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / Fantastic!

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about the author

Mesu Andrews’ deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive through her bestselling novels. She and her husband, Roy, live in a log cabin snuggled into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with their dog, Zeke. The Andrews’ have two married daughters and a small tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011, the story of Job) won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) relates the poetic Song of Solomon in story form, and Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) sets the story of Hosea and Gomer in biblical Israel. The Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) displays God’s sovereignty over Jezebel’s daughter, Queen Athaliah. The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015), unveils Moses’ early years and Miriam (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2016) introduces Yahweh’s prophetess during the ten plagues and the Exodus. Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah) introduces readers to the prophet Isaiah’s captivating daughter. To follow Yahweh’s progression toward the Messiah, By the Waters of Babylon (August 2018) continues the story of the prophets and kings through the exile, and Of Fire and Lions (Waterbrook/Multnomah 2019) tells Daniel’s compelling story.

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