Never Forsaken: A Woman’s Testimony of God’s Grace by Janet Basurto ~Review~

Never Forsaken

Never Forsaken: A Woman’s Testimony of God’s Grace by Janet Basurto

A testimony is someone’s personal story. The teller doesn’t have to be a talented storyteller or a skilled writer to share their experiences with their friends. The person sharing their past has only to tell it like it was, without embellishment, imperfectly, raw, and without polish if necessary. It just has to be from the heart, with a purpose; usually that purpose is to help someone else. That is what Never Forsaken is. It is the author’s personal story, told with all the raw energy of unedited truth. Put aside your need for perfect grammar and syntax. Instead, the author invites you to feel with her the pain, agony, and loneliness of a person bulldozed by tough circumstances. For her, life was a train wreck.

Eleven short chapters take us back to Ms. Basurto’s past beginning with the age of three years, all the way to the present. She was in a single parent home with boyfriends trekking in and out constantly. Her family moved around. Alcohol, drugs, parties, overnight guests and molestation were all factors in the story. She was subject to bullying in her younger years. In high school, she got pregnant. Bad people and circumstances dogged her steps. This story helps us to understand how God gradually moved her into a better way of life, an improved frame of mind, and brought peace to her heart.

Never Forsaken quote1

This book is all about the message: God never forsook her, no matter how bad things got. Ms. Basurto gets down and dirty with the ugliness of her life but shares the hope she found as well. The publishers say it best at the beginning of the book: “[The] Publisher has allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input.” It is the honesty of the tale that I like best. The intended audience is the author’s former peers. Thus the book is perfect for that purpose. In a sense, it is like a Gospel tract in story format; it is meant to be shared and I believe will be effective in reaching many of the un-churched living in any village, town, and city. The only thing I would change would be to include more of the salvation message in its pages.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from BookCrash on behalf of Revival Waves of Glory and Publishing (RevivalWavesofGlory.com). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) ~Review

Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr

Marie Durand spent hours in prison writing letters of encouragement and spiritual wisdom.

Marie Durand spent hours in prison writing letters of encouragement and spiritual wisdom.

When I was teaching young children, I often explained to them that if they wanted a glimpse of the future, they should look into the past and learn from it. History is such a large slice of the pie called the past that we who are teachers, parents, and leaders need to carefully select which slices to learn from. For those of us who are Christians, we additionally choose to direct our young charges toward histories that reflect as much about God’s nature and character as they do about the people they are reading about. That is what this children’s biography series does.

Not only does the author introduce her readers to a Christian family in France from about 400 years ago, we learn much about God and a particular slice of French history. Mrs. Carr skillfully weaves her tale so well that we easily feel empathy for all of Marie Durand’s family as they face one challenge after another, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Teaching children while in prison

Teaching children while in prison

The era was long after the inception of the Protestant Reformation, but before “The Age of Enlightenment” as some modern history books call it. Marie Durand was born into a world where the ability to worship God according to their consciences was illegal. Parents had to make compromises to live in peace. Marie had an older brother, Pierre, who loved the Lord in spite of his public education. When he became an adult, he decided to become a Protestant pastor. It was a risky decision because his illegal activities put his entire family in danger of being imprisoned. One day a spy in the congregation informed the authorities of his activities. Because the home where he conducted worship services belonged to his mother, she was arrested and sent to prison. She died there seven years later. Marie was only seven years old. Pierre escaped to Switzerland where he sought further education and training to become a pastor.

Several years later, soldiers raided the Durand home where they found hidden Bibles, hymnals and their father’s diaries. The government used these as evidence of Pierre’s crimes. They arrested Marie and Pierre’s father because he was related to a criminal. He was sent to prison where he stayed for a long time. Marie was left alone at the family estate when she was only 17. Shortly after that, she became engaged to a family friend. They only enjoyed their engagement for a few months before they were both arrested and sent to separate prisons, again for being related to Pierre. The remainder of this 64-page book focuses on the thirty-eight years Marie spent in the Prison of Constance. It was there that her numerous letters guided and encouraged the hearts of many Christians, including her family in exile and family in prison.

Opening the copy of the book I was to review, I was immediately impressed with the physical quality. It is of legacy quality construction in the way it is bound. The pages are sturdy, glossy, thick, and smooth to the touch. This book is a great addition to any child’s book library. The author, Simonetta Carr, partnered with illustrator Matt Abraxas whose oils fit the time period they portray. All the illustrations he contributed to this book depict incidences of deeply emotional moments and personal relationships. It’s the type of art I would want my children or grandchildren to spend time with and learn from.

A faint chance of being released

A faint chance of being released

While this is a children’s picture book, young readers would appreciate the story line, the extra information the photographs offer, the timeline of events laid out in the final portion of the book, the pronunciation key of terms and important names mentioned on the pages. The author also provides a copy of a letter Marie wrote to her niece while she was still in prison and some fascinating historical background that influenced the story line.

Finally, Mrs. Carr’s writing style makes this piece of history come alive for the parent, the reader, the listener, the visual learner, the art enthusiast, and the teacher. It is a flexible book which fits many needs. I highly recommend it for its educational value and for personal pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) on behalf of Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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