Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

I am a big Lynn Austin fan, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review her newest book (and her first nonfiction book), Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked.  In this very personal account--which reads somewhat like a journal, being written in first person--Lynn shares how she was struggling in a rather dry spell of life: her nest was empty, and two of her children had moved far away.  Life just wasn't going as she expected, and it was hard to see God's plan and purposes.  When Lynn and her husband had the opportunity to go on a tour of Israel, God used it to revive and refresh her, giving her an "oasis" in what had seemed a dry desert spiritually.  Throughout the 12 chapters of Pilgrimage, Lynn shares glimpses of the various Biblical and historical sites they visited, and what God taught her in each place.

I very much enjoyed this book.  While (as I expected) it was quite different from her fiction, it was truly a refreshing read, as I felt like I got to "know" Lynn more as a person, than as just an author.  It was neat to realize that even well-known authors go through difficult times in life; they are just like the rest of us and struggle with many of the same things.  Although I am in a different stage of life than Lynn (my empty nest years are still quite a ways into the future), I have walked through plenty of "deserts" of my own and could relate to her very well.   One of my favorite things about the book is how Lynn takes you right along with her on her tour of Israel.  While I don't see myself having such an opportunity for many years, if ever, I almost felt like I was seeing the Holy Land, through her descriptions of the different sites they visited.  I liked how each chapter covered one specific area, and the lessons she learned there.  From hiking in the wilderness, to the fortress of Masada, to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount . . . to sharing a Passover meal with the tour group and later observing the Sabbath . . . to visiting Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial . . . Lynn does a wonderful job giving the reader a glimpse into her journey to a deeper faith.

I will say that it took me longer than I expected to get through Pilgrimage.  Not because it was boring, but it was a slower read for me as I wanted to take my time and absorb bits at a time.  It certainly isn't a "page-turner" like many of her fiction books, but it is an excellent read and well worth it if you have ever struggled with your own dry spells in your faith-journey, or even if you would just like a more personal glimpse into Lynn Austin's life.

*Thanks to Bethany House for the free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

No comments: