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Valeria's Cross by Kathi Macias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the book:
In the 3rd century, pampered Roman princess Valeria falls in love with Mauritius, captain of the Theban Legion. She sends him off to battle, where he suffers under the schemes of a notorious pagan general with an ambition for power and a lust for Valeria. In a scene based on true events, the evil Galerius kills Mauritius and his entire legion for their Christian faith. And in a shocking turn of events, the grieving Valeria is forced to become Galerius’ wife against her will. Never has a marriage been set up for such failure. Valeria loathes her new husband, but he seems to undergo a change of heart, adopting a child for her and giving her power and authority, and even love. She struggles with the commitment she knows she must keep, and the love she knows she will never find again.
Valeria's Cross is an incredible tale set during a time period when being a Christian could be deadly. I've read several books in the past year from the same time period such as Guardian of the Flame and Cleopatra's Daughter, and this book surpasses them all. Full of passion for people and for the Lord, this story really takes a look at Valeria's life and her purpose during that tumultuous period in history.
Though a fictional account, I found Valeria's Cross to be very believable. The struggles and temptations that Valeria faced were so realistically done that it left me breathless. I totally understood her pain and her passion. She had a difficult life of having to continually rectify her faith with the things her station required because of her role and position as Diocletian's daughter.
I grieved with Valeria more than once. She was a true martyr, in my opinion, for having to do so many things that she resisted at first, yet eventually conceded to. While women had some influence, they clearly had no power during that generation. Her suffering paid off, though, several times and she did experience joy in her life despite the heartache that preceded it.
It fascinated me how the sign of the cross and ashes on the forehead were used by the early church as a way Christians showed their allegiance to Christ when they were forced to participate in pagan ceremonies, or die. Valeria was a compassionate and likable character whose doubts and feelings rang true to me. Her life exemplified true forgiveness and she had a powerful testimony.
What I loved best about Valeria was that she was portrayed as very human. She suffered from many temptations that are rarely shown in Christian fiction, which impressed me all the more. This sweeping romance was powerfully written, and emotionally evocative. Bottom line...I was enthralled with this story. It's definitely making my best fiction of 2010 list!
To also enter for a chance to win this awesome Biblical gold coin shown above, simply click on this link and go to Kathi Macias's blog for further information and directions. Best wishes to you!