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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Marriage in Time by Anna M. Aquino

A Marriage In Time


In a time where Lacy Stevens is plagued with doubts, impulses, and stress:

ONE DIVINE ENCOUNTER that thrusts her into Biblical history, will change her life.

ONE TEMPTATION that ripples from her past, will force her to stop hiding behind pretence.

AND ONE ANGELIC ENCOUNTER will prepare her for her future.


The Guru's Review: 

Some sequels end up being a dismal failure and almost put its predecessor to shame. So many readers give up on a series based on its sequel. This is not the case here. A Marriage In Time takes the standard of the previous one and builds on it very nicely. It also provides a firm foundation for the final novel, A Legacy In Time. 

I loved that this novel involves another member of the Stevens family. This time it is Jon's wife, Lacy. In the first novel, there is not any indication that she has any serious issues with being a Pastor's wife, or anything from her past. In this novel, Aquino describes in detail and very convincingly, the issues that contribute to her discontent with being a Pastor's wife, and its origins. 

Despite it being part of the plot development, Aquino outlines from where this originates. She shows how easy it is for us to lead ourselves into temptation, all the while knowing what the outcome most likely will be. What starts out as a simple, on-the-surface innocent gesture, spirals into deceit on Lacy's part. Her unresolved guilt from an action in her past, surfaces and spills over into her relationship with Jon. It is at this point that God decides to intervene. He sends into biblical history so she can learn about her issues, resolve them and in the process be a help to someone else. Sending her to Bathseba's time is very appropriate as it follows on a few years from where Jon's time with her and this period of history. It also continues the plot of this trilogy being set in King David's time. 

I can see a pattern in this trilogy. In An Ember In Time we had Jon interacting with Uriah mentoring him in how to pursue Bethseba to marry him. In a Marriage In Time, we have Lacy helping Bathseba deal with the consequences of her adultery and in doing so heal her past. In a Legacy In Time (Aquino's work in progress) we have one of the Stevens' children sort out their issues with one of the sons of King David who is having similar issues or such. From this, we have each gender dealing with its biblical gender counterpart and familial status: 
  • Jon, mentoring another man to become a husband, (male to male, husband to future husband) 
  • Lacy to mentor a wife (female to female, wife to wife), 
  • and I presume one of Steven's children (? sons) to mentor one of the sons of King David). 
The outcome of this is that over the course of this trilogy, we experience the period of King David in greater and intimate detail. It is very engrossing reading about this period and how Aquino has depicted it. She succeeds in bringing it alive. I have really enjoyed this in both these novels so far. I am eager to see this continuation in the next novel. 

Aquino's research into this period is translated very well into this novel. I gained a working knowledge of the conditions of the court of King David, especially the structure of the harem and the dynamics of his wive's hierarchy. Aquino shows the same interpersonal dynamics that exist in any group. There is the self-appointed leader, (in this case, alpha female and wife) then the next important down the line to those who are deemed least important. Yet, this is not so much evident from King David's point of view as it is from the wive's. It does become evident that King David shows preference to Bathseba much to the chagrin and indignation of Maachah (alpha female and wife). Here Aquino, shows very well how women behave toward each other in dealing with this dynamic in typical female form. Seeing this from Lacy's point of view as the new kid on the block and outsider gives a bird's eye view of it for the reader. I especially related to this as I have been a male in the minority in my occupation as a Registered Nurse and the only male in my immediate family. I agree with Lacy, most women's language is in subtext and body language and like Lacy, I am not a fan of this approach or behaviour. Sometimes, there can be just too much oestrogen in the room!! And yes, women say the same about being in minority with men. Sometimes too much testosterone! Even I agree with that sometimes!

As with the previous novel, I laughed at the humour that Aquino has included. She is very good at including this. I also cried (again!) at the grief and guilt Lacy experienced in dealing with the loss of her child. Reminded me so much of the two children that my wife and I lost before God blessed us with our two daughters. Different circumstances, but the grief can be similar. Again, I felt as I was being ministered to in this novel as I was in the previous one. I admired Lacy (and Jon in the previous novel) for being open to the Spirit here and allowing Him to have His way with them. It is through the ministry of Sergio, her "time travel angel" as she calls him, coupled with the circumstances of Bathsheba's pregnancy, being a new bride and the death of Maachir that God is able to minister to her. 

Yet, more importantly, Jon and Lacy were teachable to what He wanted them to confront and overcome. Here is one very important spiritual practice and heart attitude to have. God can only work if we have a teachable heart and a willingness to open ourselves to Him and confess our pride as sin. The end result for both Jon and Lacy is that they are restored to Jesus and are more like Him. As that saying goes, that we are to decrease and He increases in our lives, attitudes and behaviour. And, as in the previous novel, at the end of this one, we have Sergio outlining what the future holds for the Stevens family now that God restored them. As in real life, once restoration happens, God uses our past to minister to those who suffer from the same issues. 

As with the previous novel, I laughed at the humour that Aquino has included. She is very good at including this. I also cried (again!) at the grief and guilt Lacy experienced in dealing with the loss of her child. Reminded me so much of the two children that my wife and I lost before God blessed us with our two daughters. Different circumstances, but the grief can be similar. Again, I felt as I was being ministered to in this novel as I was in the previous one.

I can see from the way that Aquino has developed and dealt with Lacy's issues that this is a real issue for women. Again, she is writing from past experience or from what she has seen first hand. I obtained a first-hand knowledge of what it must be like for Pastor's wives. Aquino outlines comprehensively what the expectations they experience from their congregation and the wider Christian community. I pray that this will minister to Pastor's wives who read this and those women who identify with Lacy's issues. I could extend that to any male reader as they also need to know what women go through in these situations. It would increase their understanding of ministry life and marital relationships and be proactive if their wife or girlfriend is involved in any of these issues. 

My concern of how time travel was depicted in the previous novel has not been included in this one. This time it does not include a physical machine but more of a supernatural means. I appreciated this. I mentioned in the previous novel that I did not understand why they could not have been translated supernaturally from one place to the next as outlined in the Bible. Aquino has used this in one instance stating that Sergio was translated to a particular place. These supernatural depictions add more credibility to the story. I pray that this can be translated to the next novel (could not resist this pun!). 

This, like the previous novel, is well constructed and well written. As Jon was one well-developed character together with the others in that novel, Lacy and her characters have been treated the same. It is a joy to read. 

I hope that the third book in the series, A Legacy In Time, is not too long in the wait for fans of Aquino. I am really loving this series and the content and message that Aquino delivers. 

Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 0/5 

Overall Rating 4.7/5 Stars

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Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet, A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that A Marriage In Time contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-filled Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award Anna M. Aquino with

The Reality Calling Spirit-filled Fiction Award



Congratulations, Anna Aquino!

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