This is the first contemporary missionary fiction novel I have read, and it is a bit of a different book pick for me. However when I was given the opportunity to read and review Side by Side by Jana Kelley by Litfuse, I decided to give it a go, and I'm glad that I did!
A little about the novel: The story takes place in Khartoum, Sudan, an Islamic country. Mia, an American Christian mother and wife to a missionary who is working in the Northern Sudanese city, is struggling with the reality of being a Christian woman in an Arab world. A spiritual battle rages around her as she seeks ways to serve God and language and cultural barriers. Halimah is a daughter of a devout Muslim family. She is a student, leaning the skills to work for the family business. Living in a country where people can be, and frequently are, put to death just for being Christians, Halimah becomes a Christian. It is illegal to be a Christian. And when her family finds out, Mia also finds a reason for her time in the Sudan. Together the women face danger and grow in their faith in the Lord.
My thoughts: More often than not, I do not remember to keep the persecuted Church in my prayers. However after reading Kelley's description of the Christians who live in Sudan, I believe I will be much more likely to remember to pray for them. Kelley's writing transported me to the other side of the world. The characters in this novel were very easy to connect with and relate to. I also appreciated the details and descriptions about Muslim life and their culture. While some of the details are a bit gut wrenching and graphic, Kelley really force the reader to experience what it would be like...as much as one can when reading a book.
I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading future books by Kelley!
I was provided this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my review, however the above review is my true thoughts on the book.