I can not believe I read this book!!! A Passion Most Pure was alright. A Passion Redeemed was a great improvement over A Passion Most Pure. And then, there is this book, A Love Surrendered.
I was very disturbed that the whole thing never resolved in a true and real Christ-like manner. The men are all abusers. None of the couples in this book really trust each other. They are worried sick about cheating spouses, rejection, God not really having them with the people they are suppose to be with, having children, not having children, and the possibilities of their spouse or significant other leaving them for someone or something else! The Mother of most of the "clan" has a really rocky icky marriage. Her situation was heartbreaking. Because of that it is not shocking that her children have followed in this pattern. However, it is really sad and super depressing to read! I kept waiting for it to turn around. It never did turn around, it just got worse and worse.
Most of the boys in this book do not want to, and thus do not, use self control in several areas, particularly in the "going all the way" area. Then they throw it all onto the woman to keep them in line. How horribly horribly wrong! These are men with out honor. This is NOT Christ-like men we are reading about here, but instead self-centered boys who have no idea how to be good husbands or follow God with all their hearts. No wonder everyone in this book is suffering in some form or another. Lust is running a muck but they never seem to figure out what REAL love and REAL attraction would be like.
There was plenty of praying, but with out the folks praying knowing who or what they were in Christ. The females in particular were having to pray for God to grant them favor with their husbands. They were walking on egg-shells constantly and utilizing every tool possible to be unafraid enough to approach their husband with what is on their heart. I really thought one of the husbands was going to haul off and physically beat his wife, instead he just manipulated her into "submitting", crushing her spirit using his "husband" status to do so. Please hear me --- this is NOT how a marriage is suppose to work and I am speaking with a deeper knowledge than I ever thought I would have!!!
All the women in this book but one are living in Domestic Abuse! They don't know it, they just hurt, bleed and suffer because of it. I was just so horribly sad and heart broken to actually read a book that portrayed this kind of life as "normal" or even "Godly". Males in this book use their male privilege as their supposed God given right to be abusive to their family and wives or fiances. Some of them use God as a way to manipulate their wives and true Christ like love is just horribly absent.
The long twisted verse where wives are to submit - only the first half got used again, and I will add in that it is suppose to be a team - a mutual submitting and agreement to God and to each other. It is not just the wife bowing down to appease the husband and praying it works out right! If boys, or men, expect to have a marriage that is Christ like, then the rest of the verse is vital. Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands LOVE YOUR WIVES like Christ loves the church, so much so that he DIED for her." This is a daily death to self, a daily choice to listen to her heart, to treat her like the Bride of Christ, to honor her, cherish her, and become like Christ in order to show the world that this is a different kind of life...on that is Christ filled.
I would have expected this, or been braced for this from a secular novel. From a Christian novel, I did NOT expect for these people to never get their lives right. To never have their hearts change and find out how to have a real Christ like marriage or relationships. The ending was un-redeeming as well. This is NOT the kind of book our friends, daughters or wives need to read. It was depressing. I felt like I had wasted my time, and the only thing I can think of is that maybe by my reading this and telling about it on my blog that I can keep someone else from reading it, where there would be a risk of damage to lives already in the balance and in the grips of Domestic Abuse. *If* Mrs. Lessman's husband is really like the oldest husband in this book, then she needs a great deal of prayer and help - so add her and her marriage to your prayer list!
UPDATE: I want to make something very clear because I am learning how many people do NOT know this. Domestic Abuse does not necessarily mean physical violence. There are those among us who have been abused, yet never been physically hit, struck, or attacked. I know this first hand. I am unable to recommend this book to any woman who has been dealing with Domestic Abuse or Physical Violence. If you are in a relationship where you are suffering as is shown in this book please know you can get out. You can get help, and this is not the kind of life God has in mind for you. Here is just one of the power and abuse wheels that you can study.
In case this link doesn't work - I will give you some of what is involved in this and shown in this book. There is much more to domestic abuse than just this in my review. I am covering what is shown in this book, but there is enough to upset me and others. These things listed below are patterns of manipulation and control to get your way, it is abuse, and it is ungodly.
Flying into a rage because you didn't get your way. That is abuse.
Making others cringe at the sound of your voice because you will get your way or else.. that is abuse.
Having no say-so in your "marriage" is abuse.
Having to coercer others to make your spouse happy so you can deal with issues - is because of abuse. You fear the reaction on his part so badly that you will do what it takes to make him or her happy.
Being forced to give up the deep desires of your heart because of your spouse's opposition, this is abuse.
Being emotionally yanked around, with ups and downs, and then having to have sex with your spouse because they demand it - this is abuse.
Verbal threats are abuse.
The Biblical pattern of a marriage is one where you can share your heart with your spouse, and he (or she) doesn't blow up. You are partners - equal with like minded goals, in a safe and loving environment free of manipulation and control. It is not one where one spouse rules and lords over the other spouse.
This review needs to be here for each and every heart-broken woman who has dealt with these areas and more. Right now I have one friend who has escaped after 10 years in this kind of abuse. I have 5 more that are all close personal friends who are in marriages or relationships with this kind of treatment occurring weekly. I do not wish to cause them any farther pain. Sadly, this book would do that. My quarrel is not with the Author. It is with the way this lifestyle was portrayed as Godly when it is not Christian nor Godly. The time period is irrelevant. Jesus did not manipulate and control people and then condone those actions as like the Father's.
Author's Website: http://www.julielessman.com/books/
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.