Romance’s Rest (Book Review)

  • Author: Erika Mathews
  • Available Now
  • Series: Truth from Taerna
  • Synopsis: While teaching in a neighboring community, Kethin Ellith encounters an old friend and faithful follower of Adon Olam, Faeth Dale. Faeth captures Kethin’s romantic interest, but she has no desire to get to know him.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author. Opinions expressed are my own.

Romance’s Rest is the conclusion to Erika Mathews’ six book series, Truths from Taerna. This is the third book I have read by Erika, as I launched into the Taerna series just prior to the release of book four. Mathews’ books are full of grace and truth, with a strong devotional quality.

Scripture Connection

We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19

Spiritual Content

Roughly 300 pages worth, haha. There is just so much! If I were to try and summarize the central idea, I think the verse above (also quoted in the book) does a good job. Over and over, the novel returns to the idea that God is the one initiating AND CARRYING OUT our relationship with Him.

So good! This is not often preached, but it’s such a beautiful and truthful point.

What I Liked

There is much to commend in this novel! As with the other books I have read by Erika, realtionship with God (Adon Olam, Hebrew for “Eternal Lord”) is central. The centrality is apparent throughout each chapter. Even when Kethin has not yet encountered God in a personal way, he thinks a bit about others’ relationships with Adon Olam, recognizing that he does not have the same personal relationship with Him.

The book’s message, like others in the series, is one of rest and peace, with clear and explicit statements of truth. For example,

  • “He is the Initiator. He calls and chooses you, not the other way around.” (p. 60)
  • God’s calling is the highest, regardless of standing amongst people
  • God’s timing can be trusted. “If it’s from Him, then He’ll bring it in His timing.” (p. 124; such a good reminder!)
  • We do not have to try and create our own happiness and satisfaction! That is for God to do.
  • God will fulfill His desires in us.
  • All love is one-sided (see verse above)

And this is just a sampling of the many passages I bookmarked because of their truthfulness, insight and relevance. In truth, the book strongly resembles a devotional. As I review the pages I marked, I am struck by the rich, meaningful content within such a short space.

Christ-Centered Romance

Mathews portrays Christ-centered romance in a beautiful way!

First off, Faeth has high standards for a romantic partner. While some young ladies might say that their earthly father set a high bar for prospective suitors, Faeth adopts a biblical model. If she marries, she is going to marry someone who loves her just as Yeshua loves the Church.

The passage where Faeth describes her heart’s desire (p. 91) is definitely one of my favorites in the book! I resonated with it so strongly, because the Lord ministers to me powerfully through the romantic language in the Bible. It was new for me to see a young woman applying Christ’s love for the church to herself in this way: recognizing Jesus’ personal love and commitment and being unwilling to settle for anything less than His lavish love. Even writing this review, now, I feel encouraged.

My desire would be that Christian young ladies ALL adopt this standard– desiring nothing less than love like Jesus’! Not in a theoretical way, but in a realistic way, being loved with a love that can ONLY come from Him, not from human striving.

Content Discussion

There was one element of the story that threw me off, to the extent that I feel it is necessary to discuss it here. It is somewhat of a spoiler– something that is hinted at, but not revealed until midway through the book.

SPOILER BELOW

Faeth, we learn, has taken a vow of singleness, according to the leading of Adon Olam. That’s not what puzzled me. What puzzled me was that, despite being aware of her vow, her parents spent a good deal of effort encouraging her to be open to a “future” relationship with Kethin.

However, I reached out to author Erika Mathews about this and she provided a very reasonable explanation. Faeth’s parents are not at all trying to dissuade her. They are just working with the knowledge they have from Adon Olam and want to make sure that Faeth’s vow has not already ended, without her knowledge.

One other content note: I felt it was strange that Faeth’s mom describes Kethin as “a pillar for Adon Olam,” early on. She says this at a point when he isn’t really in close relationship with God, and I wasn’t sure if this was meant as a blessing for the future, or what. It just didn’t seem accurate, at the time. However, as with the other thing, I think Faeth’s mom is doing her best with the understanding she has received from Adon Olam.

Moreover, it is very refreshing to read about children seeking the wise counsel of their parents, who are also encouraging them in the Lord.

Recommendation Status

This is easily a book I would highly recommend. It is so rich and full of truth, with powerful statements threaded, throughout.

Narratively, Mathews presents a beautiful picture of God’s design for romance (despite my minor hesitation, above).

I would recommend this book, in particular, to young ladies.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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