HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Concept
Author: Carolyn Erman
Publisher: Zayin Publishing, 2007
Related website: http://blueravenbooks.com/11360002-carolyn-erman.html
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level:
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Erman, Carolyn. The Concept (published in 2007 by Zayin Publishing, P. O. Box 571, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703). As this fourth novel in “A Time for Every Purpose” series opens, Hope Jenson, whose husband David had been killed in a horse accident some two years before, is with all her friends and family from previous novels. These include her widowed mother Betty Phillips; her younger sister and brother-in-law Shelley and Steven Farr and their children Matthew and Mark; her brother-in-law and his wife Daniel and Kathy Jenson and their children Luke, Samuel, and Beth; her aunt and new uncle Evelyn and Noah Stanfield; Steven Farr’s parents; friends Don and Annette Tennyson and baby Rachael; David and Daniel’s father and his new wife Martin and Grace Jenson; friends Dean and Carla Irwin and baby Rebekkah; Dean’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Irwin; Carla’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Young; and the Phillips’s ranch hand Kevin Thompson, who had fallen in love with Hope before she married David and still loves her. Her friends Adam and Laura Barnett and their little Nathaniel had visited a month before from California.
Some other characters are introduced. Jack Nelson, whose wife Ann had been killed by a car, and his daughter Summer, who was so traumatized by the accident that she doesn’t talk, come to the Phillips’s ranch for Summer to learn horseback riding; Hope wants to help Summer, and Jack is attracted to Hope. Timothy McConner, a relative of Grace Jenson’s, is doing work for the Browns; Mrs. Brown’s daughter Belle is trying to flirt with him, but he is drawn to another daughter Naomi. And a friend of Hope’s, Susan Cranston, develops feelings for Paul Williams, the blind owner of a piano store, much to the chagrin of Susan’s mother. How will these romances turn out? And will Kevin ever realize his dream of Hope’s returning his affection? In addition, half of the volume is devoted to the ongoing story of Hope and her loved ones while the other half gives detail accounts of two betrothals and weddings—the author’s own after five years as a widow, and that of one of her daughters. The sections of nonfiction and fiction alternate, but do not “mix.”
As with the other novels in the series, I do appreciate the emphasis on maintaining purity prior to marriage, although many even very conservative Bible believers may think that some of the decisions made in this regard are a bit extreme. Homeschooling is mentioned several times in a positive light. However, one instance of dancing publicly at a class reunion occurs. And again, there are many references to claims that God speaks directly to people, that the Holy Spirit exercises an immediate influence in folks’ lives, and that one cannot understand the Bible unless the Lord specifically opens his eyes to do so. Furthermore, a great deal of time is spent on the teaching that we must obey certain portions of the Old Testament law today, such as Sabbath keeping, observing various Jewish festivals, and following the Mosaic dietary regulations. In fact, one whole chapter is devoted to the supposed proofs that Carolyn provides on these subjects to Jim, the man to whom she becomes betrothed. Very simply, a lot of Christians will not agree with much of the theology in the book, and I have a hard time giving a really good rating to something which I believe teaches such obvious doctrinal error. Following the author’s death, the former website for Carolyn’s novels no longer seems operative, but there is a website to download the books.