One of my least favorite things to do is write negative reviews. I understand how much time and effort it takes to write a book, and it's never easy for me to aim an exposing spotlight on a book's shortcomings. However, sometimes it's necessary.
A book I recently read fell into this category.
The gorgeous cover of Grounded Hearts fooled me, as did the premise. I expected a sweet story about a midwife who rescued an injured flyboy, but once I dug into the plot, I discovered the sweetness was merely a mask, and a flimsy one at that. The majority of the story ended up being crude and sensual.
Some of the content issues were alcohol and tobacco usage, Catholicism (including praying to saints, Mary, and angels for help, when none of those hear and answer prayers), heavy focus on men's forms (including "hardness" of one's muscles), sensuality (including Nan using her body to flirt her way through men who block her way), lewd talk and actions, and over a dozen expletives and expletive phrases. The devil's place of residence was spoken of often, sometimes in a serious way, but mostly in a flippant way. Father Albert, a Catholic priest, was rude and controlling, and he used an expletive, which seemed inappropriate from a leader of faith as it would lead his parishioners astray. There was open talk about methods for intimate relations, which I found quite shocking for this genre. A baby was given a bit of whiskey. Throughout the entire book, there were many coarse, lewd, sensual, and filthy jokes, often from "Christian" characters, which goes directly against Ephesians 5:3-5, and they left me feeling like I need a good mind-scrubbing.
All of that was disturbing and reason enough for me to never read another of this author's books. However, the most alarming part of this book was the theme of intentional sin. The lead female often sinned while knowing full well exactly how wrong her decisions were and intending to confess to the priest later and ask for his forgiveness. This was even joked about in a few spots by some other characters. What's so funny about disobeying God on purpose? Absolutely nothing, considering that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Now, I'm not talking about disobeying the law by helping an injured flyboy; in fact, I think that's heroic. Sometimes one must disobey government duties in order to obey God. No, what I'm saying is that once we know right from wrong and have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, our first obligation is to obey God. Choosing to purposefully do wrong with intentions to ask forgiveness later is blatant disobedience.
Here are a few examples from the Word of God that support obedience to God and negate intentional sin:
In John 8:11, Jesus told an adulteress to "go and sin no more." Likewise, He said to a man He healed to "sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you" (John 5:14). The author of Hebrews stated that "if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). And James declared that "to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
While Nan was brave and right to aid the flyboy, she knew several of her actions and desires were "of the flesh" and sinful, and this was evident in the fact that she kept saying and thinking that she'd have a lot to confess and ask forgiveness for. The excuse of "being cheeky" was used often, but all the reasoning in the world does not permit someone to sin on purpose. For example, Nan considered on multiple occasions to abuse her privilege of being a nurse and see her patient's unclad body. This was highly inappropriate and uncomfortable to read about. It was a repetitive thought process for Nan that became an intentional lifestyle for her rather than a mistake she made. Because of this and other intentional sins Nan committed through the entire length of the story, it seemed that the book was saying, "It's okay to sin whenever one desires. All one must do is confess, and the slate is wiped clean." But that isn't the instruction we're given in the Word of God, which says to "present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:13-14).
I had been really excited about this book because I love a good WWII story, but it proved to be a massive disappointment and a waste of my time.
For more information about Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson and to enter a giveaway, visit this page.
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