“The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.” With this opening sentence, A Voice in the Wind transports readers back to Jerusalem during the first Jewish-Roman War, some seventy years after the death of Christ. Following the prides and passions of a group of Jews, Romans and Barbarians living at the time of the siege, the narrative is centered on an ill-fated romance between a steadfast slave girl, Hadassah, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a handsome aristocrat. After surviving the massacre of her family and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Hadassah is captured and sold to a well-to-do merchant’s family. Brought to Rome, she is pressed into service as a personal slave to hedonistic Julia Valerian. Hadassah struggles to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to treat her masters in a manner in keeping with His teachings, but she is forced to keep her religious identity a secret in order to survive. Confused and alone, she has only her faith to cling to as she tries to subtly bring God into the lives of her captors. Reckless, impulsive, and villainous, Julia tries to undermine Hadassah at every turn. But Julia’s brother, Marcus, is a different sort altogether. Is it possible for a love between Hadassah and Marcus to flourish considering not only their differing stations in life, but also the gap between Hadassah’s unrelenting faith and Marcus’ lack of belief in anything? Simultaneously, Atretes, a captured soldier from Germania, is forced to become a gladiator. This is the time of Rome’s decline and the decadence of a civilization on the verge of self-destruction serves as a powerful backdrop to the Barbarian’s struggle for survival in the arena.
My Rating: *****
This was one of the most beautiful historical love stories I have ever read! The story of Jewish slave Hadassah and Roman Marcus amid the backdrop of the Roman Empire, and early days of Christianity. I never wanted this beautiful story to end! The story takes place 40 years after Jesus was persecuted. I loved the first part of the book, depicting the fall of Jerusalem and Haddassah’s transition to Roman slavery. The characters are amazing. Hadassah begins as a frightened, weak, abandoned Jewess who has a thread of faith in Jesus. Through her story, we see a young woman whose love, tenacity, courage and faith stand in front of the powerful, influential, godless Valerian family. They are changed forever because of this brave young woman who entered their house with a shaved head and downcast eyes, but with the capacity to love and serve them…and to teach them of life’s true riches.