Thanks for your support, everyone who answered my request for their favorite “as-yet-Unknown author” by naming me. But I think I’d like to mention three other nominees in particular: Charles Martin, Lynn Austin and Assaf Gavron.
I must say, I love y’all’s taste.
AFA Journal Editor Randall Murphree, renowned for his insights into novels as well as news, suggested Martin, who has written The Dead Don’t Dance, Wrapped in Rain and When Crickets Cry among others. And with When Crickets Cry under my belt, I anticipate reading the others.
“I wish every fiction lover could discover Charles Martin,” Randall wrote and he made sure I did by mailing me his own copy of When Crickets Cry.
Writing When Crickets Cry in first-person point of view, Martin drills deep into the psyche of his protagonist and other characters and you feel what they feel — deeply. Their aspirations are yours, their challenges yours, their desperation yours.
One distinction of a good book is when you hope its characters return in a sequel. It’s apparently not happening here, but I expect Charles Martin meets, even exceeds, expectations in other offerings.
Thank you, Charles.
Jewish Jewels cofounder and president Neil Lash recommended Austin, whose historical biblical novels are “great writing and give real insights into the Bible and the people who are in it, like Isaiah and the kings of Israel,” Neil said.
The first one of Austin’s books I look forward to reading is Keepers of the Covenant, in which she “weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss.”
After that will come Austin’s On This Foundation, following Nehemiah, the cupbearer to Persian king Artaxerxes who gives him permission to lead a rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall — never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
MaryAnn Gilbert’s choice of well-known Israeli author (but who’s heard of him in America?) Assaf Gavron is intriguing.
Gavron’s The Hilltop, translated into English by Steven Cohen, is celebrated in Israel. It is a deeply true but fictional story of a hilltop settlement in the West Bank, otherwise known as Judea and Samaria.
Gavron invites readers into the homes, lives and faith of Israeli settlers who create, inhabit and defend their settlements while attempting to live in peace with Arab neighbors and the politics of Israel.
“We follow the reasoning and choices of those who stay, those who leave, visit elsewhere and return, and those who visit and leave for a place more suited to their comfort zone,” MaryAnn said.
She added, “It is a fascinating read for someone like me who has visited Israel so many times, followed its history since a child and wondered endlessly about this very thing — the ‘settlements’ which really are not that but either incipient cities or cities already.”
Sounds like fascinating reading!
Please take my recommendation, folks, and visit the works of these three authors… and, by the way, investigate authors not on the bestseller lists, won’t you?