Today I’m (finally) sharing a review of the 3rd and final book in the “Carthage Chronicles” series by Lynne Gentry: Valley of Decision. This book is both action-packed and serious, with strong characters and a fascinating look at the early church.
*see my reviews of books 1 & 2 Healer of Carthage, Return to Exile, and my interview with Lynne*
About the book: 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.
My thoughts: Valley of Decision is an action-packed conclusion to the series. With this series, Lynne has honed her own style, coupling modern characters with 3rd century ancient history. One unique aspect of this blending of times is that she gets away with modern expressions to describe the scenes in Carthage — like saying one of the characters “racked his brain”! I love it!
Though filled with action with many twists, it is still a very serious story of sacrifice and love. Seeing Maggie grow up and Lisbeth and Cyprian step into their roles as parents brings these characters full circle. All of them have to deal with life lessons, like learning to show compassion to their enemies or those who have hurt them. The end did have me in tears!
This story has strong themes of love – especially the strength and eternal nature of love. And, it carries messages of forgiveness and using what you have in front of you to be a blessing to others. I would recommend this book to fans of both contemporary and historical fiction because it blends the two so well.
A sincere thank you to author Lynne Gentry and publisher Howard Books for the review copy.
Do you enjoy books that blend contemporary and historical settings or characters? They are uncommon, and I’d love to know your thoughts!