Monday, February 17, 2014

The Hills of Refuge  -  1918
Will N. Harben
440 pages
genre  -  General Fiction (with some romance)
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

My favorite thing to do when I read a book is to look for 'words of wisdom'. By 'words of wisdom' I mean thoughts or ideas that express a truth.  This book is loaded with them. Here's a few:

1. "Was there really such a thing as a new birth in which, under stress of some rare spiritual experience, a man was completely changed?  It might really be so..."

2. "'Oh, it doesn't make any difference what you once were...It is what you are now that counts.'"

3. "It is a great thing to trample an old weakness underfoot and rise up on it."

4. "It isn't one's body that feels the greatest pain, it is the mind, the soul, the memory.  The pain comes from the futility of hoping."

The Hills of Refuge is about two brothers, William and Charles, and their struggles to overcome weakness.  The story is also about love, redemption, and learning to taking responsibility. 

One of the interesting facets about this story is that it felt like it was written as a serial.  There were several denouements towards the last 20% of the book.  I would read what seemed like the end, but then I would realize I still had a ways to go.  And then I would read another conclusion, but still had 10% left on my Kindle.  The true ending was very well written. 

I will definitely look for other books by this author.

About the author  - 

William Nathaniel Harben was born on July 5, 1858, to Myra Richardson and Nathaniel Parks Harben, in the small town of Dalton, Georgia. Harben was a bright, fun-loving youth who showed an interest in writing at an early age.

At the age of thirty, he decided to take his chances on writing as a profession. After several successful short stories, he made his first mark on the literary scene in 1889 with a melodramatic but extremely popular novel entitled White Marie.

He married the South Carolina socialite Maybelle Chandler in 1896. They had three children.

Almost Persuaded (1890), a religious novel, was so well received that Queen Victoria of England requested an autographed copy.

Harben wrote until his death in New York City on August 7, 1919, and was buried in his beloved Dalton, Georgia.

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