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This is a keeper.
Ms. Rog skillfully blends coming-of-age, social inequity and tested faith into a delightful, heart-rending tale of courage, failure and redemption. Sound exhausting? Not in the least.
Alethea's father is executed by his own father for confessing faith in Yeshua. Her mother, brother, and she move into grandfather's villa, where Alethea meets David, a house slave. She becomes attracted to David, who views her as the younger sister he failed to protect when he was forced into slavery. As Alethea and David stumble into and through adolescence, their fumbling relationship travels an equally rough road to maturity. That maturity presents its own problems, as there is no socially acceptable resolution to their blossoming love for each other.
Finally, confronted with Alethea's forced betrothal to arrogant Demetri, the plot reaches critical mass and they must act--and quickly. But what can they possibly do to resolve an impossible dilemma such as this? Hmmm.
Ms. Rog has done her homework on the physical and social environment in 1st-century Rome. The reader learns a lot about a coarse society that, while successfully imposing Pax Romana onto the known world of that day, fails to deliver inner peace to its own citizenry. More wonderful, though, is her ability to capture this world through the eyes of an naive, immature girl growing up through issues no one of her age should have to face. The result is a humorous, frustrating, painfully realistic portrayal of emotional growth and spiritual awakening. One moment you want to hug Alethea to death, the next moment you want to turn her over your knee. So does David.
Delightful also is Ms. Rog's prose. She has a gift for subtle word painting that raises the reading experience to a new level. Just read her rendering of Aletha's betrothal ceremony. If you don't chuckle aloud, you've missed something.
The Master's Wall is the first in the "Iron and the Stone" series. Looking forward to number two!