Author: Amanda Barber
Publisher: Axiom Press
ISBN: 978-158169456-7

I’ve pursued lots of things all my life. The normal things, you know. Love, mostly, but also fame, recognition, and while I’ve been chasing after them, the Hound of Heaven’s been chasing after me. It’s a strange sort of dog, always at my heels, but just in front of me too, snatching things away from me. He’s everywhere at once,” Elizabeth confides in Amanda Barber’s novel, The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse.

At one hundred and seventy-six pages, this paperback tome is about God’s pursuit of a young, determined and stubborn woman. Targeted toward those who enjoy historical Christian fiction, there is no profanity and no overtly sexual or violent scenes. Set in the late nineteenth century, it deals with the heartbreak of losing loved ones while historically discussing influenza, the introduction of the automobile and electricity and women’s roles in America.

This young author’s tale is about Elizabeth Millhouse, an only child of wealthy, aloof parents who is sent away to a boarding school at the tender age of seven. There she thrives academically and artistically as her charges love and care for her, teaching her about God’s love, mercy and grace.

Beckoned by her unemotional mother to return home for the first time in years, she deals with her father on his death bed, craving and cherishing his last words of “I love you” in her heart but rejecting God for not curing his illness. Broken at her loss, the young woman becomes hardened, self-sufficient and calloused toward anyone or anything involving the Creator.

Since her haughty mother has no affection for her, Elizabeth feels alone, unloved and unaccepted. With her pride, stubbornness and determination, she forges her own path in life, insistent on ignoring God. As her mother shuns her for her adult decisions in life, she ultimately mirrors her parent’s personality in more ways than one.

Through Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven,” as a constant reminder throughout twenty-five years of her life, Elizabeth comes to terms that God has been pursuing her, wanting to get her attention as her heart is broken, her resolve shattered and her reputation destroyed.

Written in first person, this debut novel by Barber is engaging as it shows how one may think she is not good enough for God but it is His enduring love and ever-lasting grace that gives us peace and a sense of belonging when we feel neglected, ashamed and scorned.

This book was furnished by the publicist for review purposes.

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