The story of Naaman which is told in second Kings chapter five of the Bible is very short, but interesting.
The Heart Changer, written by Jarm (pronounced Yarm) Del Boccio takes this Bible story and fleshes it out as a novel. I was given the digital version of this book to review.
I really have always enjoyed books in which the author takes the minimal facts of an actual historical event, and with some imagination brings it alive in a novel.
In this novel, we see someone growing and learning to hold onto faith, even in the middle of very difficult circumstances. This happens to be something I am currently struggling with, making this the perfect time for me to be reading and reviewing this book.
Jarm Del Boccio
has written this as her debut book, and it’s good enough that I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with next! Del Boccio is also a teacher on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a favorite homeschooling resource for many parents, including me.
Here is the video trailer for this book:
Miriam is the name given by the author to the “little maid” who in verse 2 of second Kings has been taken captive from Israel to become the servant (slave) of the wife of Naaman. In the Bible, she is not named. Given that the novel focuses on “the little maid’s” point of view, it was important that she be given a name.
In the beginning of The Heart Changer, Miriam’s village is being invaded by Syrians, and many captives are taken to be slaves. Miriam though, does not go to be auctioned off. She is brought to the captain of those who invaded her village, and after questioning her, he chooses her to be the new servant of his wife.
Miriam must now, in her anger at her situation, learn to live with Gentile traditions instead of her own. When her mistress proves to be kind as opposed to harsh, she also begins to soften somewhat.
As the story is written in second Kings chapter five, we learn that Naaman has leprosy. Miriam remembers that there is a prophet back where she came from in Israel named Elisha. She believes that her mistress’ husband can be healed by Elisha. They do go there, and Miriam is hopeful of discovering whether her family is still safe.
Naaman is told what he must do to be healed, but he feels that what he is instructed to do is beneath him. He finally listens to reason and does as Elisha has instructed, which of course, heals the leprosy. This changes is heart, and he acknowledges the One True God.
This story shows also a changed heart in Miriam, who begins the story in the novel as a bitter, angry girl over what has happened to her. Throughout the story, she grows and learns to accept that God has His own plans, and Miriam is where she is for an important, specific purpose.
There is a study guide for The Heart Changer available on The Heart Changer page. Simply scroll down to the white square which says The Heart Changer, and click.
After getting to Know the author on the first few pages, the guide goes into Miriam and her story:
QUESTIONS ABOUT MIRIAM’S STORY TO PONDER:
• Who do you think the “Heart Changer” is? Why do our hearts need changing?
• Our friends and family can see our actions and hear our words. But many times
we are able to hide our true feelings. Can anyone see deep down in your heart?
If so, what would He find there?
• Why did Miriam have a hard heart?
• If you were taken from your home, what would you miss the most?
• Is it okay to question God?
• When could you see Miriam’s heart beginning to change?
• Why was Rana’s heart jealous of Miriam? Have you ever felt jealous? Of whom?
• Have you ever felt like turning your back from God because of difficult
• Do you think it was wrong of Miriam to light the candles to Adara’s god?
• What circumstance in your life seems like a tangled tapestry? How can God
make it beautiful? Can you see it happening right now?
• Which character did you relate to the most? Why?
• What is another way Miriam’s story could have ended?
• Would Miriam have influenced Naaman for good if she would have shown hate
instead of forgiveness?
And there is much more to help learn about, and ponder, the time and place of Miriam’s life.
I really enjoyed reading this book.
It is targeted to middle grade student, but it is suitable for adults as well. I enjoyed it, and I’m an adult!
44 other Crew Members reviewed this book, both digital and physical copies. To read what they all thought about it, please click the banner just below!
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