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THE LONG HIGHWAY HOME by ELIZABETH MUSSER REVIEWED

Long Highway Home
By Elizabeth Musser
Published by Create Space
ISBN# 978-1542362726
408 Pages

Back Cover: Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known.
When the doctor pronounces ‘incurable cancer’ and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.  Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss…

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along The Refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time?  And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache, and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

REVIEW: This novel is absolutely riveting. It’s a beautiful inspiring story of healing, faith and how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It made me look at the world with fresh eyes as things around us quickly change; you never know when we could find ourselves facing this very situation. It made me consider how I would react faced with this scenario. Would I be as strong as these refugees given they’re dangerous – life threatening circumstance? I had read the author notes where she states this story is based on true events. It made what Hamid faced heartbreaking and surreal. The author is currently a missionary in France. Elizabeth’s desire is to share some remarkable, encouraging situations she’s known about first hand with readers.

There are two moving stories running hand and hand in this novel. One is of two women; Bobbie and her niece Tracie. They set out on a pilgrimage after Bobbie is diagnosed with cancer. They’ve talks about this trip for years. Their dreams are about to come true. Bobbie takes Tracie to The Oasis, an unforgettable place she worked at years ago, it’s there they learn about a refugee named Hamid. He is running for his life along The Refugee Highway. His family is hiding trying not to be captured. There are flashbacks of Bobbie’s life as she remembers her time at The Oasis. She shares with Tracie some heart-wrenching stories that changed Bobbie’s life.

Here is a peek at the refugee, “Hamid listened to a radio program, broadcast from The Netherlands but in his tongue. The voice in the box spoke of the Bible, of Christ – Isa al Masi – of hope, of a Savior. Hamid’s heart swelled to hear the words, foreign words, dangerous words! Why was he drawn to them so? These were the words that had forced him to flee in the first place.”

Hamid was trying to become a refugee in another country. The definition of a refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationally, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”

Hamid and his daughter have accepted Christ as their savior. Hamid’s wife is not so sure about all this. Why bother when it’s so dangerous? There are suspenseful nail-biting moments for Hamid and his family as they try to get to safety.

Bobbie shares a story with Tracie,” Fred was part of The Barracks team…He trained with us in the US and planned on smuggling, like the rest of us, but when the rubber hit the road, he just couldn’t do it. He found he couldn’t lie, couldn’t keep a straight face and swear that he wasn’t carrying anything illegal into the East. So here he was – stuck in Vienna for a two-year term of service, with a huge amount of guild because his religious convictions wouldn’t let him smuggle Bibles.” …

….” Fred started visiting the refugee camp in our village, and before long he was teaching the women and children to read and write in English…pretty soon many who came from Communist countries were learning about Jesus and wanting to be Christians.”

Several times my throat tightened and tears ran down my cheeks as this author showed unimaginable grace in the midst of brutal and inconceivable conditions. It was stunning and humbling to read how hope shines through the dark places. I was inspired by how this author showed hope and healing throughout tremendous pain and suffering. The reader could see the source of hope and healing, was Christ Jesus! The situation reminded me of a book I read years ago, called God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrews.

This novel grabbed me from the start and never let me go. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this amazing, powerful faith building; life changing book. It’s a heartfelt message of courage, faith, survival, and hope. I thought about this story long after I closed the book. I honestly think it's this author’s best work! This would make a great book club selection.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Her novels have been acclaimed in the United States and in Europe. The Swan House (Bethany House, c2001), set in Atlanta in the early sixties, was named as one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year (2001), was an ABA and SEBA bestseller and was recently named one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the past 100 years, right behind Gone with the Wind (from Georgia Backroads, Autumn, 2009). The Secrets of the Cross trilogy (David C Cook, 2012), which takes place during Algeria’s War for Independence from France and also in present day Algeria and France, (Two Crosses, Two Testaments, Two Destinies) has been a bestseller in Europe. Two Destinies was recently nominated for the Christy Award, for excellence in Christian fiction. Elizabeth’s other novels The Dwelling Place, (Bethany House, c2005), Searching for Eternity (Bethany House, c2007), Words Unspoken (Bethany House, c2009), and The Sweetest Thing (Bethany House, 2011) all set in the South in the 1930s-1980s, continue to examine themes of brokenness and healing, faith and forgiveness, surrender and sacrifice.

Elizabeth’s books have been translated into German, French, Dutch and Norwegian.

From an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, “Elizabeth Musser likes to say she has two part-time jobs. Not only is she an award-winning novelist, but she and her husband serve as missionaries at a small Protestant church in Lyon, France. In both lines of work, she avoids preaching and simplistic answers, choosing instead to portray a God who cares in the midst of life's complexity...”

Elizabeth adds, “My desire is to offer the best literature I can write, drawing the reader into a story that is compelling, believable and sprinkled with historical detail. I seek to give a realistic picture of what faith lived out in this world looks like, and, as always, I hope that my stories can be appreciated by all audiences, not just those readers who hold my same religious beliefs. It is a delight to receive confirmation of this through reader letters.”

For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. They presently live in Lyon, France. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson in the world, of course.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, please visit her website at www.elizabethmusser.com and her Facebook Fan Page

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and The Book Club Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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