ELIZABETH MUSSER – SECRETS OF THE CROSS TRILOGY
TWO CROSSES…TWO TESTAMENTS…TWO DESTINIES
The first thing I always want to do when I find treasure is share. And because of Elizabeth Musser’s gracious offer, I am thrilled to say I can now bring TWO of you a little bit of treasure in this beautiful blog giveaway… from one of my most favorite authors…
I read the first two novels of this trilogy when they came out in June and though I have never been one to wish away the summer, September has never seemed so far away to wait for the issue date of the last part of this incredibly beautiful story! To say I know you will love these books is like…just knowing we share a common love of finding poetry in words, romance, mystery and intrigue. This story has it all. And it will leave you breathless to find out what’s next.
TO ENTER: Simply leave me a comment (with your e-mail address) on this post any time between today, August 6, 2012 and Monday, August 13, 2012.
TWO of you will be TWICE- blessed indeed!
And now…to give you a sneak peek… MY REVIEW
“One intriguing era in France’s history, one unforgettable cast of characters, and one of the best writers in the CBA today all add up to one incredible read! In “Two Crosses,” Elizabeth Musser has achieved another literary triumph!” ~ Ann Tatlock, award- winning author of Promises to Keep
“In this delightful story, the sounds, scents and scenery of France and Algeria come alive… The surprising twists in the story never stop. As the book comes to an end, you are ready to immediately pick up ‘Two Testaments.’” ~ Margaret Haines, former missionary to Algeria and France
“‘A tapestry always appears confused and tangled if you look at the back. I have a feeling that’s all I’m seeing right now.’ Gabriella stopped to pick a poppy. ‘But surely God knows what He’s doing, even if I don’t.’”
~ Two Testaments, page 238
Don’t you hate reviews that give away the story?
In the case of this one, I could not even if I wanted to. For it is so wide, stretches so vastly across the horizon of the sea between France and French-Algerian Africa – sometimes turbulent, often mysterious, always laced with romance and international beauty – that I can only give you a taste.
But it is also intimate…a tenderly, beautifully, heart-fully crafted story that brings you deeply into the hearts of an extraordinary cast of characters and settings. Takes us inside the ache and terror of a true war I’d amazingly never heard of before. Reveals the hidden mysteries of the One who must be leading these lives…and makes us begin to recognize the wonder signs of that in our own stories…
Just as standing back from the Nazi holocaust all these decades later, we now know the miracles and all the incredulous Sound of Music, Anne Frank stories that those in the midst of sacrificing and taking great chances to save lives of strangers never knew, could only hope were happening – Musser has woven such strands of splendor for us to drink in with wonder about the France of the 1950’s. And it’s still far-reaching import on us today. A story that faithfully portrays Protestant…Catholic…Muslim — and overall the heart of the One who calls us all. We see and hear His Spirit across the words of every page, whispering into the human soul of each character.
And following along in the real time of the story, we find ourselves right there with the souls living them. Jewel-tone hues and golden threads of… people who seem real and could very well have been. Some who already know and love God. Others who are searching or unsure. Some – like Hitler’s youth preceding — who are fearfully indoctrinated to perpetrate evil, yet secretly vulnerable and longing for a way out…
Here are just a few of the intertwining lives, intersecting histories, about to unfold the most intricate proof of their one interlocking story…in a tapestry Musser so lovingly shows us only He could weave:
Gabriella, 21, on her first adventure away from her family and a land she loves…comes to the pleasant little town of Castlenau, “excited and confident, ready to discover a new land and people,” to begin life on her own at the University.
But there is also a secret sorrow, a family mystery she hopes to unlock here. A letter falls from her leather-bound Bible as she pushes back homesickness. Tucking it back in the book, a line catches her eye. “I give you this cross which has always been for me a symbol of forgiveness and love…”
David, the young, handsome American teacher who endears Gabriella’s heart…yet, can she trust him?
Away from the school, unbeknownst to her, he slips into a phone booth, plunks a franc into the open slot, dials a number. “It’s me,” he whispers. “I’ll be there. And listen, I’m bringing a girl.”
“A girl?” Are you crazy? The last thing we need is someone else involved.”
“Don’t worry, she’ll be a perfect cover for us. It will work out beautifully.”
Mother Griolet, the aging convent leader, mentor to Gabriella, secret-keeper for her God, woman who has known what it is to hide and save children of the Holocaust under danger extreme, ever confident in the One who makes seeing eyes blind to their precious work. Now, years later, continuing her ministry to shelter the little innocent ones of this new French-Algerian war…
“Mother Griolet put down the letter, tears trickling down her lined face. Forgotten were the orphans and the hour. All she saw was a beautiful child with a secret she could not share…[She] sighed heavily. An unexpected piece of the puzzle she never meant to put together lay in her hands. ‘I’m being pulled deeper into this secret, Lord. I’m not sure who to trust. But I trust you…’”
Little Ophelie, the fiercely brave six-year old separated from her kidnapped mother, suddenly alone with a secret in her heart and hand – clues she must teach herself to read, an unusually-shaped cross that matches Gabriella’s … a tenderly opening heart. Like the nun who has taken her in, Ophelie does not know who to trust…
Mother Griolet to Gabriella, “A new child has arrived from out of the blue, as you Americans say. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. No father. She’s terrified and grieving, I’m sure of it. But that is not what you will see on her face. I cannot make her talk, so it’s best that she grieves in her way. But perhaps you could take her to the beach for a walk…”
As I sank back into this story — savoring the characters and plot twists, the international flavor, the decades-old but contemporary feel of a story that particularly echoes in today’s history-unfolding world, the not knowing who I could trust either — I became deliciously reminded of another oh-so-gifted word artist and literary love of my young adult life.
And, not surprisingly, someone Ms. Musser also loved to read when we were about the same age. British author, Mary Stewart.
For just as in Stewart’s captivatingly written novels of mystery and romance, Musser’s intricately woven tale takes us first one way, then another… makes us trust the romance that is beginning, only to throw a curve that rings danger inside us and causes us to want to jump inside the story and warn the protagonist. But then… yet another clever plot twist…making both the protagonist and reader wonder.
Only, Musser’s story goes beyond Stewarts lastingly enchanting style and word beauty…because she is able to bring even more depth to character, more intricacy to intrigue, more amazing touch of God at work, answering prayers of even those long gone before. In her Secrets of the Crosses Trilogy, we see how no prayer goes unheard…though it may take tumultuous years for the characters to know the answer that’s been on the way all along. Giving us the feeling that those in heaven who prayed for these days are watching and cheering them (and us!) on.
Anyone who has known the treat of a Musser novel knows she writes with lyrical beauty that speaks into the reader’s heart and connects us to her characters, deeply…personally. We are sad to put the book down. Anxious to pick up the next. This trilogy is no exception.
© Pam Depoyan
That’s why, I encourage and implore you to…
Race now to my comment section to enter your name to win the first two books in this series!
TWO of you will receive these books in this, my first book giveaway at Apples of Gold!
Did I say TWO WINNERS, TWO BOOKS EACH? Yes!!
Reminder: The winners will be randomly selected after August 13, 2012. Please leave your comment (may be as simple as “yes, please enter me”) between now and the 13th, along with your e-mail address (so I may reach you!), and I will ask the winners for their snail mail later.
Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, she had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.
A novelist who writes what she calls “entertainment with a soul,” Elizabeth finds her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels comes both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.
Read excerpts from Two Crosses and Two Testaments, Elizabeth’s other novels and true stories of her missionary adventures at www.elizabethmusser.com
Linked to: Always Alleluia, A Holy Experience, Soli Deo Gloria, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, the sunday community, Cheryl for her True Vine Challenge, Thought Provoking Thursday, On Your Heart Tuesdays, Tell Me A Story(letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/), Into the Beautiful (http://eileenknowles.com/into-the-beautiful-link-up-beautiful-feet/) , Darlene’s Titus Tuesdays (http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/2012/08/theres-no-place-like-home-titus-2sday.html), WLWW, Walk with Him Wednesday