Sunday, July 14, 2013

An Open Heart by Harry Kraus

Genre: Books; Christian Fiction Suspense
Publisher: David C Cook
Publication Date: 06/01/2013
Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Good

PROS: Thought provoking; fast read

CONS: Writing style a bit confusing; spiritual warfare; lacks character developement

Dr. Jace Rawlings, and his wife Heather, both Missionary Kids (MK's) having grown up overseas, first met at college, where they felt they didn't fit in. The American culture was new to them, albeit exciting, and they were still learning how to navigate the waters, rocky that they were. Their common ground drew them together, and it seems that things were meant to be from the start.

Dr. Jace Rawlings now finds himself working as an open-heart surgery specialist, saving patients that hang between life and death. He has worked on famous people, including the Governor. Things have not been going as planed in the states, Jace is under suspicion for behavior he cannot confirm nor deny, and Heather needs some time to think, to figure out her feelings for Jace and what she believes. Jace soon realizes that he needs a change of scenery and heads back to his homeland of Kenya, without his wife.

Once in Africa, he is back to operating on heart patients, only this time he receives messages from beyond the grave through several of his patients. A skeptic in the beginning, all that starts to change when he realizes the truth behind the statements. There is a deep spiritual warfare that takes place throughout this story, with Jace in the center and at the heart of the matter. Will his marriage, career, and life still be intact at the end of the battle?

Harry Kraus, MD, is a board-certified surgeon and a medical missionary to East Africa. It seems only fitting that he write a novel of the same. His medical knowledge appears to be spot on, and he definitely knows his way around Kenya, where he lives with his wife and their youngest child.

The story starts out with great excitement and vivid imagery of the land. The intro is gripping, quickly drawing you in to the story. That soon changes with the development of the characters, little is told to the reader about Jace and Heather's younger days, except that they were both MK's. Some background on the main characters would have been helpful; instead, the author chooses to write throughout the novel switching from the present to going back to Jace's younger years, telling his story bit by bit over time. At times it is hard to focus, the reader may need to really zero in and pay attention to which storyline is taking place.

Another downside for me? The spiritual warfare that takes place throughout the story, with those that “speak” to Dr. Rawlings, giving prophet like advice about what is to come in the future. At times this may seem innocent, but mostly, I just felt like a heavy cloud was hanging over me as I was reading this book. Not entirely what I was expecting, and therefore, a few stars lower than what I was anticipating to give it.

**I received this book in exchange for my honest review/opinion**

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