My 5 star book reviews
I seldom award 5 stars for a novel. But in the world of contemporary Christian fiction, Elizabeth Musser’s book, A Long Highway Home, stands out.
I only award 5 stars if a book has an excellent writing, cover, editing and story, AND if it has ‘eternal impact’ content. By this I mean, does the book matter in eternal terms? Does it challenge and inspire me to follow Jesus? ‘Eternal impact’ books will usually also make me shed tears.
I am giving away a copy of this novel because it is worthy of support. In six weeks, ‘Grace in Strange Disguise’, my debut novel will be released (1 October). It is both contemporary fiction and I hope, a book with ‘eternal impact’. I believe that those readers who love Elizabeth’s book, will be the same kind of readers who will love mine.
The Long Highway Home -Back Cover Blurb
Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known.
When the doctor pronounces ‘incurable cancer’ and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier. Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss…
Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along The Refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost?
Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.
Elizabeth Musser Bio
Elizabeth writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France.
For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who all live way too far away in America. Find out more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.
Elizabeth adds, “My desire is to offer the best literature I can write, drawing the reader into a story that is compelling, believable and sprinkled with historical detail. I seek to give a realistic picture of what faith lived out in this world looks like, and, as always, I hope that my stories can be appreciated by all audiences, not just those readers who hold my same religious beliefs.”
A Long Highway Home – brief interview
What made you want to write a story about refugees? Have you been to The Oasis? What do you think others can learn from this center?
The Oasis offers a clothing room, coffee bar, special evenings for men and women, the possibility of watching The Jesus film in the refugees’ own languages, Bible studies and much more.
When I visited The Oasis, all of my prejudices and fears having to do with refugees changed. Here were grown men coloring pictures, playing Uno, smiling because a missionary was offering coffee and a kind word. And I heard a few of the refugees’ stories of flight, of terror and of finding Jesus.
One of the things that struck me from attending The Oasis was something each of us can learn. Do what you can. Offer a smile, a sack of clothes, a warm meal, a whisper of hope, a Bible. The Lord wasn’t asking me to solve the huge worldwide dilemna of refugees. But I felt that I could do something—and that ‘something’ was to write a story that tells a few of their stories. The Long Highway Home is fiction, but it is based on many stories of refugees finding hope in the midst of the horror. Jesus reveals Himself to them in the most surprising ways. And I wanted to tell the story of hard-working missionaries who are giving their very lives for these people.
2. What questions did you wrestle with in conveying what you wanted to your reading audience? What questions did you ask yourself? How did these stories – testimonies of refugees affect your soul?
I certainly was not trying to make a political statement or tell anyone ‘what to do’. Instead, I wanted to present my readers with a story that had touched and broken my heart. I wanted my readers to know that God is working in spite of all we see and hear in the news. My heart burned with joy as I heard testimonies of refugees seeing Jesus in a dream and seeking Him out. I wanted my readers to hear those stories too.
3.You also mentioned to me that you want “readers to wrestle with and ask questions about the issues my characters deal with.” What do you hope readers ask themselves?
Although many of my novels are ‘recent historical fiction’, the themes often reflect something the Lord is teaching me. In The Long Highway Home, I’ve shared how hearing refugees’ stories moved me to ‘do what I can’. I hope and pray that my readers feel entertained, that my story ‘stays with them’ in a good way, and that the Lord uses something in the story to spur my reader further in her life of faith. Ultimately, I want to write novels which offer hope to my reader. Hope like they are waking to a ray of sun coming through the window after days of gray and rain.
Parts of this interview first appeared in The Book Fun Magazine, July 2016; interviewed by Nora St. Laurent.