Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blog Tour: Love's Sacred Song (Review & Interview)

For Mesu Andrews, the journey to her newest book began as she began  to study the book of Song of Solomon (or Songs, depending upon your translation).

The intriguing nature of those scriptures, caused Andrews to dive into the pages of the Bible and create an allegorical-based study in workshop formats.

"I've learned that God has a whole lot bigger plan than we do," Andrews said. "When I tried to get [the study] published, I hit roadblocks because I had no formal credentials. A dear friend suggested (actually, sort of nagged) that I write the story as a novel instead of a Bible study.

"Love’s Sacred Song was actually my first manuscript, but Revell asked that we wait to print it until after Jill Eileen Smith’s Wives of King David series released. They asked if I would write a second book during the wait—and that’s how my first release, Love Amid the Ashes, was born!"

Andrews' said her Biblical fiction includes as much fact as possible.

"I maintain the details of Scripture; then weave in the historical data; and lastly, I fill in with the “mesu” fiction," Andrews explained. "The names of Solomon’s advisors, the concept of twelve new districts, Solomon’s Ammonite wife and firstborn son—all these are scripturally accurate.

"Solomon’s blotting out the tribal divisions and some of King Hiram’s involvement was gained through historical research.

"The Sons of Judah, the Daughters of Jerusalem (as individuals rather than a non-descript chorus), a secret conspiracy—these were fiction. Pulling all three levels of information together in a believable story is accomplished through much prayer and trembling!"

In Love's Sacred Song, Andrews tells the story through the life of Arielah - Solomon's treaty bride. The story serves as an allegory of it's own - representing Christ's love for us.

"Now, I know that’s exactly the opposite of every commentary on Song of Songs," Andrews said. "I’m not advocating any strange female Christ-figure or anything. I’m going with the Good Shepherd image Jesus gave us and thinking of Arielah’s pure, unyielding, sacrificial love and how it so closely mirrors Jesus’ love for us.

"No matter how many times Solomon messed up, she forgave. However, there were consequences to his betrayals—as there are consequences to our sins. His poor choices created long-term difficulties on their relationship—as do some of my poor choices on my lifetime.

"But my Savior loves me in spite of it all. Forgives me, accepts me, delights in me—and then calls me to do the same with others. Ugh. Yep, I learned a lot from Arielah’s love...can you tell?"

Andrews said she also learned a lot from Solomon by diving into his story.

"My first rough draft shed a pretty gruesome light on poor Solomon. I didn’t like him because, in my mind, he represented all the sinful choices I make," Andrews admitted. "But my FABULOUS editor helped me rethink this charming, lovable, young king.

"God adored this man. From birth, He named David’s son, loved by God, and then He anointed Solomon with one-of-a-kind wisdom. I needed to re-think sinful Solomon—and perhaps re-think sinful Mesu. I was so busy loathing the sinfulness, I had lost sight of the love that overcame the sin—much like Solomon does at crucial points in the story. Whenever our eyes focus on US rather than on the Lord, life goes downhill pretty quickly. Solomon taught me that—maybe I should say re-taught me that."

Andrews said she hopes, by exploring the story, her readers will grasp (as Paul says) how "wide and long and high and deep" is the love of Christ.

"I had always heard, 'God loves you,' but I never felt absolutely cherished by God until I studied Solomon’s Song of Songs. Yahweh pursues each one of us with a passion and relentless abandon that seems reckless to us," Andrews said. "Some have even called Him a god of wrath in the Old Testament. But it is His love that drives the LORD in both the Old and New Covenants—the same God, yesterday, today, and forever."

A Look Ahead
Andrews plans to release two more stories in her current series. Love is a Broken Vessel (March 2013) and Love's Saving Light (March 2014).

Love in a Broken Vessel shines a light on the story of Hosea and Gomer: Can Hosea’s faith overpower Gomer’s unfaithfulness?/i>

Love's Saving Light tells the story of Queen Athaliah and Baby Joash: Will Jezebel’s daughter snuff out the last king on David’s throne.

Connect with Mesu
Andrews' writes a free weekly e-devotional on Mondays. Folks can sign-up to receive them by visiting my website: http://www.mesuandrews.com/. She also loves to connect with readers on Facebook (Page), Facebook (profile), Twitter, or Pinterest too! "You can check out my “Character Faces” Pinterest Board to comment on my celeb nominations of a potential Solomon and Arielah!"

What I Thought
Once again, Andrews has created a novel which makes me want to dive into the scriptures. Like Love Amid The Ashes - the story of Job and Dinah; Love's Sacred Song sheds new light on King Solomon's life.

Andrews has a unique way to showcase a Biblical story with a new twist. I truly love her writing style and the lyrical narrative she weaves.

The story is simple - the tale of love between Arielah and King Solomon. The layers of intrigue, some Biblical and some "Mesu" fiction, give it an amazing depth.

While Love Amid the Ashes continues to be my favorite of her two releases, Love's Sacred Song is a great read. On the scale of one to five, with five as the highest, I give it a solid 3.5.

I can't wait to read the novel she's writing next - Hosea and Gomer's love story. The only disappointment - I'll have to wait a year to read it.

More About The Book
Wisdom came as God's gift, but sacred love was forged through passion's fire

Standing in the shadow of his famous father, young King Solomon wavers between fear and bravado, longing for a love that is true and pure--a love that can be his cornerstone.

A shepherdess in the northern city of Shunem, Arielah has known since she first laid eyes on Solomon that it was her destiny to become his bride. When her father secures a promise from Solomon to marry Arielah as a treaty bride to help unite the kingdom, it seems her dreams will come true.

But how can this simple shepherdess live as part of Solomon's harem? Can Solomon set aside his distractions to give himself completely to just one woman? Or will he let duty, deception, and the daily routine divide his heart?

More About The Author
Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture.

Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.


Online Resources

Check out Mesu's Website: http://www.mesuandrews.com/
Buy Love's Sacred Song @ Amazon
"Like" Mesu's Page on Facebook
Click here for a Bible Study for Love's Sacred Song
Click here for a reading group guide for Love's Sacred Song
Read my review of Love Amid the Ashes (The first book)

About Revell, The Publisher 
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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