“Valley of Decision” by Lynne Gentry

Every choice has a consequence in the explosive conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles as Lisbeth returns to third-century Carthage for a thrilling final adventure.

Thirteen years ago, Lisbeth made an impossible decision—leave third-century Carthage and her husband Cyprian behind for good. She knew it was to protect her daughter Maggie, so Lisbeth gathered the strength to move on with her life.

All these years, Lisbeth has thrown herself into her work and raising her headstrong daughter, all to live up to the promise she made to Cyprian. But Maggie is sick of being protected. In an act of teenage rebellion Maggie decides to do what her mother can’t—secretly returning to the third century on a quest to bring her father back, leaving Lisbeth no choice but to follow.

With Maggie’s surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. She finds her grandmother on trial for murder and attempts to save her, but instead the diversion sparks a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of the instigator.

Will Lisbeth arrive in time to save her daughter from the clutches of Rome? How can God possibly redeem such a slew of unwise decisions and deep regrets? Filled with heart-wrenching twists and riveting action, Valley of Decision brings the romantic adventure epic, The Carthage Chronicles, to an electrifying conclusion.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good time-travel story, but Valley of Decision takes the cake.  Gentry has penned an amazing time-travel romantic thriller – and I didn’t know such a thing existed.  The time travel premise itself is fascinating:  how would a modern American Christian react if plopped down in Carthage in the third century, when Christians were under severe persecution?  Then up the ante – what if the plague is present?  And what if that modern American fell in love with an early Christian bishop?

Those elements are present in each of the three novels in the series, of course, but Gentry has upped the suspense level in Valley of Decision.  There’s the same element of love between two people that existed before, but there’s also love among the Christians and love for other people, even enemies.  There’s a new romantic relationship and old love stories told.  There are the first stories of faith, too, that are sweet and compelling.

Looking at Cyprian’s life through Lisbeth’s eyes is fascinating.  It’s easy to forget how easy we have life here, but the early Christians had much more on their plates.  The situations faced by Cyprian, Barek, and their fellow believers are very provocative.  You won’t be able to put these out of your mind easily.

Not many stories make me cry, but this one did.  I couldn’t put it down and kept hoping that Gentry found a way to manipulate history to give this family a happy ending – and in a way she did, but not the one you expect.  I cried along with the characters in the final chapters.  I couldn’t put this book down and am reluctant to leave them, even though they’re at peace.  I loved Lisbeth’s family and look forward to visiting with them again as I reread their stories in the future.  You will, too.

I received a free copy of Valley of Decision from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

What are your thoughts?

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