Last night was my first speaking engagement for Twelve Smooth Stones at our local library. Several commented that after hearing what I said, it made them want to read my book! So… I thought I’d try to tantalize some of you as well!
I’d like to give you three different perspectives about the book; but first, just a little background:
Twelve Smooth Stones is a modern–day Esther story. Esther Ruth Raul faces some of the same trials that Esther of the Bible had to face: She’s brutally taken from her home, and because of her beauty, placed in a situation she would not choose. But God is leading and she comes to realize that she too is being “brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
Excerpt from Twelve Smooth Stones, Chapter Four:
Monday morning, August 14th, dawned dreary. The sun would not shine today. Esther looked out her window as the trees dripped from the evening’s thunderstorm. The air felt fresh and clean, and the colors in Mother’s garden glistened vibrantly even without the sun. But in spite of all this, there was heaviness in the air. All seemed strangely quiet.
Esther would often look back and wonder if nature had a premonition about the day’s agenda. Even the birds were not singing their usual morning canticle of praise to their Creator. She dressed quickly, putting the degrading yellow star on her sleeve. Today it seemed to mock her, as if to say, “Here I am, come and kill me!” Last, as always, the locket was placed around her neck and tucked underneath her blouse. As she descended the stairs, the sweet aroma of Mother’s morning scones tantalized her stomach. She was hungry.
When everyone was assembled, Father bowed his head for prayer, and Mother poured the rich brown coffee. Scones and coffee were Esther’s favorite. It was a usual morning— the usual amount of banter, the usual clinking of silver and china, the usual sweet fellowship, the usual tasty morsels. All that was missing were the beautiful splashes of color that would adorn their table as the sun’s rays washed in through the stained glass window. Esther instinctively looked up at the window to admire its glowing translucent colors when suddenly, every shred of normalcy was shattered by a rock crashing through the colored glass. Mother screamed.
“What—” was all Father had time to say before the pounding of the front door brought him to his feet. Ad and Daan were close behind their father as he went to the door. The sense of foreboding seemed to blanket Esther’s world. They were here— shouting and pushing into their privacy, their sweet, tranquil home. At first she thought that they only wanted the men, but two soldiers were heading for her and Mother, shouting, pushing, and cursing.
Before she knew what was happening, Esther was outside on the front sidewalk, and Mother was behind her. Her precious father and brothers could only watch as their women were herded like cattle out into the street. It was then that she heard her mother’s voice speak such angry forbidden words.
“How dare you come into our home like this?” her mother shrieked. “Who do you think you are? You are no better than us! In fact, you are less than the lowest of God’s creation. Snakes! All of you— snakes! Barbarians! Murderers!”
As if signaled by the last insult, with half a sneer and half an air of total indifference, the soldier standing behind her pulled his revolver from its holster and shot her in the back. Mother seemed to stand there for a moment— frozen in time and forever etched in Esther’s memory— before she crumpled into a heap on the front steps.
The soldier simply stepped over her and pushed Esther ahead. “No!” Esther screamed, but Father was there pulling her away to join what seemed to be the entire neighborhood. They all looked shocked, stunned beyond comprehension. What could they do? Nothing but survive…
Twelve Smooth Stones is a love story as well as an historical fiction; but mostly, it’s a quest for the truth! Next blog: Love story!!! 🙂