This book is very well written and expresses the feelings one gets when they lose a loved one perfectly - no matter under what circumstances they have lost them. The fact that these circumstances were 9/11 makes this book more poignant. The journey back is told with such honesty and depth of feelings. We all felt a loss that day, but to read a first hand account brings it home in an unforgettable manner. Well done, Susan. And I pray by writing this book, you have set yourself free from the pain. I know part of you will never heal entirely, but this was an excellent start in that process." Shirley Chappell (Mohave Valley, AZ)
The author's depiction of events along with articulating her feelings enables you to not only walk hand in hand with her through her journey but ultimately gain an overwhelming understanding of your personal trials. Anyone reading Susan Van Volkenburgh's book will walk away with solace, peace and a level of sorrow healing not anticipated. You'll cry, laugh, and be humbled. The family love and support shown throughout is a testament to what we should all emulate and strive for in our lives. The most profound understanding is how despair can create an illness in ourselves and without realizing, create illnesses in those close to us, especially our kids as we try our best to overcome it. This along with so many other insights, instantly unlocked an aspect of me that will remain forever changed. Thank you Susan for such an incredible gift shared with the entire world!" Sharon H.
I almost didn't buy this book! So thankful that I did! As I just put this book down, I feel as if I am recovering from the emotional reaction I had from it. It touched my patriotic side only a little less than my spiritual side. I want everyone I know to experience it! It would be really good for book clubs, but also for anyone who has experienced any kind of loss - and who hasn't?! Susan addresses all the hard "God" questions and expresses the answers she has discovered so simply that even I could not only understand but also relate." Deborah O. Barton (Arlington, TX)
Heartfelt, uplifting, and sincere. This book gives us a look at life, death, dealing with major loss, and staying connected with God. Thank you Susan Van Volkenburgh." Sandra (Cascade, CO, United States)
Armed with her personal faith and a passion for prose, Susan Van Volkenburgh approaches one of the greatest tragedies to affect our nation, and one which deeply touched her personally, with candor and grace. Within the pages of Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down, Susan walks the reader through the catastrophic events of 9/11 in a way that brings each individual back to his or her own personal anguish as the events of that fateful day unfolded. Through her printed words she relives the dark days following the tragic loss of her father, and the unbearable grief that plagued her, as she endeavors to guide her audience forward through the subsequent ten years of her spiritual journey. From loss, through the depths of despair, and ultimately toward a place of resolution and renewed faith, Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down is a book that will resonate with all who have experienced personal loss." Karen S.
Susan's love for her father, Stanley R Hall, is palpable in this 9/11 story. A painful reminder that the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon (where Mr. Hall died) and Shanksville, Pennsylvania took so much in collateral damage. The hundreds of thousands of "holes" left in hearts, empty places at holiday gatherings, years of shared future gone in the ashes. The real story for Ms. Van Volkenburgh is the near death and resurrection of her faith. Where was the God Who protects us? Can He be trusted? Questions of faith that extend far beyond the unique tragedy of 9/11. Her honesty and articulate ability to bring us full circle with her is the gift of this book." Kathy C.
I read this book in a single night, unable to put it down. Ms. Van Volkenburgh's story is intense and personal. She gives us a glimpse into her own personal pain and how this tragic loss changed her life forever. I read this book at a time when I was going through some personal struggles of my own. Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down helped me validate my emotions and inspired me to move forward." D. Clark
I've recently read this book. I really enjoyed it and appreciate the way the author really gives a personal and honest look into her emotions. This book gives hope and shows that GOD is still in control even if we don't understand why we go through hard times." Stephen Kline
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. The emotions portrayed years after this horrific event are still so very raw and authentic. The battle in the heart and the mind is intriguing; thought provoking. To have such stability and security stripped away...we all felt it. Though for the author it was so much more consuming. Reading this account draws the thoughts and emotions we felt on September 11, 2001 to more expansive areas of life. It makes me think, "If I were in her shoes, how would I get through?". The whole of the book produces a humble, sympathetic catharsis. Thank you for opening your heart to the world!" JD White
I found it hard to put down Susan's book once I started reading it. She is gifted in so many ways and her extremely honest look into the grief of 9-11 was portrayed in a beautiful manner. There were so many facets to this heart wrenching experience that we "outsiders" could not possibly imagine. Susan opened her heart and let us see the depth of that pain. It is an amazingly personal story and we can only imagine the many other stories of those whose loved ones were taken in this tragedy. I highly recommend this book." C. Wiegman (Texas)
Having lived through the events of 9-11, this book took me back to the pain, the grief and the horror we all shared on that day. Susan Van Volkenburgh takes those feelings and remembrances and turns them inside out, examining everything behind them. I have had my own personal grief in my life (as we all have) and found Godly wisdom, comfort and understanding in the pages of this book." Stefanie Wyres
This book is an emotional trip through the author's personal journey as she deals with the death of her father, who died during 9/11. She does not hold back her sorrow but gladly shares it with those willing to read her book." hennaginkid
This is an excellent Book, Personal Story of a Lady who lost her Father on 9/11. Very well written. I attended her Launch Party and Book Signing on Sat. the 7th of July at the Keller Library in Keller, Texas. Very Interesting, enjoyed............." gingin
What can I say....this book was absolutely stunning. Very well written and so full of emotion. To read the view of a 9/11 survivor was honestly refreshing. Can I say that? I think so. I remember that fateful day...where I was, who I was with and the frightening images of terrorism as it tore into the lives of every American."
Susan writes deeply about her dark mourning moments after the death of her father who lost his life on American Airlines Flight 77. Anger flooded her spirit, hurt, depression...but also hope. God never leaves us to dwell within the depths of our despair alone. Though sometimes we feel His presence is lost, His hand always has a firm grip on our wrist. Sometimes He allows us to sort through hurt to find hope. And hope is what I found in this book. Highly recommend. I loved it." Valerie King
The Stone of Ebenezer (Trilogy of Kings Book 1)
Think Tolkien. An ancient land and people with a proud heritage are threatened by sinister forces. Their one hope—their sacred relic—is captured by the enemy, and their soldiers retreat, defeated and humiliated. Shadows overtake the land as bright dreams fade and hope wanes. Enter a young hero, eager to prove his mettle, who finds himself tested for more than courage in battle. Unlike the fantasy tale of Middle-earth, however, this tale is rooted in the true story of ancient Israel, told in epic fashion that brings to life famous Bible characters such as Eli the priest and Samuel the prophet. The author’s meticulous research, vocabulary of ancient Hebrew terms, and respect for holy scripture combine with her melodious writing style to craft a narrative artfully embellished with fictional details and sure to please lovers of Bible history who also enjoy historical fiction." Judith Ingram - Author of Moonseed Trilogy
Vividly descriptive tale of biblically-based historical fiction. Inspired by her love of antiquity, archaeology, and biblical history, Susan Van Volkenburgh employs prose, to which she lends an archaic flair, to recount the stories told in the Book of First Samuel. Within her novel, "The Stone of Ebenezer", she weaves characters, both fictional and historical, together in a biblically-based fictional story, while including touchstones of historical events to set the scene for vivid battles, treacherous journeys, lives affected by the ravages of war, and even a touch of romance. Her audience will be delighted as they become familiar with some of her more memorable characters, as she utilizes each of these unique individuals as a vehicle by which she endeavors to enlighten the reader about events that occurred in ancient times. Vividly descriptive details of the surrounding terrain, the common attire of the time, and the customs involved in daily living provide an air of authenticity to "The Stone of Ebenezer" serving to captivate and illuminate the reader in an entertaining fashion." Reader
I loved reading this book! It was so exciting to read about what happened in the book of Samuel in a way that I could vividly imagine the scenes. I loved hearing the stories from the perspective of God's chosen people and also the perspective of the Philistines. It is obvious this author did her research! I loved it that it's a good book for any age and has all kinds of exciting things in it. I can't wait for the second book of this trilogy!" Deborah O. Barton
This is an amazing, accurate, novel. It is filled with excitement and intrigue. I gleaned much from reading this book. Susan is a gifted writer and I wait with anticipation for the next part to arrive at the bookstore." Rev. Judi Wiegman
Begin a journey with Susan Van Volkenburgh back to the time of 1 Samuel in her debut novel The Stone of Ebenezer. Tread the ancient lands of the Israel and Philistia through a novel replete with descriptive prose. Before you begin, let me say, I've yet to come across a biblical fiction novel so saturated with scripture and biblical history.
Within the first few chapters, it became evident that The Stone of Ebenezer was written from the heart of an educator. Van Volkenburgh does not limit the scope of her story to the book of 1st Samuel, but chooses to illustrate God's protection over his chosen people by including historical accounts of God's deliverance. These include, but are not limited to deliverance: from Egypt (Exodus), into the Promised Land (Joshua), and from the hands of both the Philistines and the Canaanites (Samson, Barak & Jael from the book of Judges). At times, the flashbacks coupled with generous descriptions of the territories weighed down the tale. Nevertheless, their inclusion gave a sweeping view of God's redemptive power.
As far as characters go, Nagad was my favorite as he was the most thoroughly developed. I also liked the way the author switched back and forth, recounting the events from both sides. While the ark lingered in Philistine territory wreaking havoc, I was reminded of how God does not need me to accomplish His purposes, but rather He allows me to witness and participate in His work. Overall, the struggle against our flesh (the desire to do things our way) and how we need to humble ourselves so that God can act on our behalf are some of the messages I cherish from the book.
Generally it's easy to recommend an audience to whom I think would enjoy a particular title. This one was a little tougher. If you tend to lean towards titles with a romantic flair, this may not be the book for you, because love didn't enter the scene until 2/3 of the way into the book, and even then it's not a driving factor for our hero. I believe this title would appeal to readers with an academic leaning: history buffs, bible teachers, and even high school aged students as long as their parents approve of wartime violence." Shelf-Esteem
Nagad’s life was perfect until torn apart by war. Now, haunted by his past, this young conscript must face the enemy in battle. As nations collide in a fierce conflict for dominance, more is at stake than the survival of a race. The outcome will prove whose god reigns omnipotent. In this vivid, accurate account of biblical events, Nagad’s people must endure treacherous journeys, bloody battles, and God’s judgment in their quest for ultimate victory.
The Stone of Ebenezer by Susan Van Volkenburgh is an historical, Biblical fiction story. Susan did an excellent job of writing the story true to scripture and simply adding some specific characters that the reader can care about and cheer for. She did an excellent job with her setting and keeping the real Biblical characters true to form.
I enjoyed reading how some characters recognized the actions of the one true God and others could not see until they were facing fear of death, and even then, some could not see. I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical, Biblical fiction. I would like to read the next book of the series when Susan releases it." K F Barr
Great biblical fiction. Very accurate and well-researched. I cannot wait to read the next in the series." Chris Allaire
The thing I loved the most about this book was they way it incorporated scriptures from both earlier and later timeframes (even using New Testament scriptures) to show the unity and overarching principles and to deepen the story and revelation of Yahweh' s nature. The book is so well written that as the characters grow in deeper understanding of who God is and who they are in him, you grow alongside them."
Wow! Exciting, spiritual, adventure, great imagination put into place. Totally enjoyed this book!" Aneita
Old Testament history is not really my field - I am much more at home in the Roman Empire and the New Testament era - but I do appreciate good historical fiction when I come across it, and the field of Christian fiction is littered with so many genuinely bad works by well-meaning people who just don't have enough understanding of the era they are writing about! Suzan Van Volkenburgh understands the world of the Old Testament; she is steeped in the geography and history of the region, as well as what archeology has recently revealed to us about Canaanite culture. She brings the twilight of the era of the Judges to life, much as I tried to bring First Century Judea to life in THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE, my second novel. The clamor and noise of battle, the heartbreak of death on the battlefield, and the anguish of losing the Ark of the Covenant are portrayed with accuracy and heart. The dialogue is a bit stilted at times; much of it is lifted either from Scripture or from Canaanite inscriptions and comes across as unnecessarily formal and poetic. I caught a few minor grammatical and syntax errors, but these were few and far between. Overall, I found this an enjoyable work and look forward to the next book in the series. Thanks to my nephew Jeff for picking this one up for me!" Lewis Smith
The Anointed One (Trilogy of Kings Book 2)
Clever and credible. This second volume in the Trilogy of Kings Saga follows the rise of Israel's first king and the emergence of Israel as a monarchy. Through a fictional account that closely follows the biblical record, the story details the life of Saul, a humble farmer from the tribe of Benjamin, who reluctantly accepts the crown when the people demand a king. As the anointed one of Yahweh, Saul at first feels the empowerment and wisdom of God's Spirit as he takes up the mantle of leadership and saves his people through heroic deeds. Pride, however, gradually usurps his pledge to serve Yahweh, and when God takes away his Spirit from Saul, the king begins a descent into malicious jealousy and paranoia. The volume ends with a crazed King Saul pursuing David, the shepherd-turned-warrior who slew Goliath and now bears the favor of Yahweh, setting up conflict that will take readers into the third and final volume of the series.
Readers who are familiar with King Saul's story will enjoy The Anointed One for its biblical accuracy, unique character viewpoints, and painstaking details that give color and substance to familiar passages. The author weaves together historical facts with fictional embellishments in an intriguing tapestry that deepens understanding not only of the biblical plot but also of its spiritual significance. Add to the mix the author's masterful handling of archaic language patterns and passages that blend seamlessly with quoted biblical material, and The Anointed One delivers a credible, entertaining read that could arguably take its place beside any scholarly history of ancient Israel." Judith Ingram
...an historically accurate account of King Saul, David and Jonathan on their epic journey...With vivid imagery, a deep passion and authentic love of Scripture, each chapter comes alive. You will engage amidst the action of the characters not wanting the book to end; longing for more." Rev. Judi Wiegman