Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Book Review: Your Sins and Mine
I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of her before: Taylor Caldwell, an extremely popular bestselling author of mid-20th century America. And what’s more, she often wrote on Christian themes. Where have I been?
I had the opportunity to be introduced to her work when I read Your Sins and Mine, recently re-published as an e-book by Open Road Media (which I received from them in exchange for my honest review). Although the apocalyptic/dystopian genre is far from my favorite, I was impressed with how “the end of the world” was portrayed in this short novel. It was different from anything else I’ve read or seen.
“The land hated us, the violated land, the faithful land, the exploited and gentle land. The land had decided that we must die, and all innocent living things with us. The land had cursed us. Our wars and our hatred—these had finally sickened the wise earth.”
The narrator, Pete, who farms with his father, George, describes the earth’s gradual, terrifying betrayal of mankind. Various phenomena occur that match the end-times prophecy of Matthew 24 – drought, disease, disasters – punishing man for his evil. Other horrors either resemble Revelation’s prophecies or spring from Caldwell’s imagination. The weeds were particularly interesting . . . but I won’t say anything else, because the uncertainty of what will strike next keeps you turning pages.
Since Your Sins and Mine was published in 1955, it is replete with Cold War and Communist concerns. I also wonder if readers of the time saw similarities between the book’s murderous drought and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The Cold War references date the book but are interesting because they provide insight into the fears of 1950s Americans. The rest of what happens on the destructive earth, however, felt close to home to me since I believe in a coming tribulation and judgment caused by mankind’s sin. I really appreciated the message of the book: repentance.
The characters aren’t developed with any great depth, but we know them enough to sympathize and identify with them. Pete, George, and their family and friends go through heart-wrenching times; I hated some of what happened but that did make the book reach deep. They use a lot of mild expletives, so if you’re sensitive to that, be aware. I liked George the best, the sturdy, masterful man of the earth who encouraged people and never lost his faith in God.
In short, Your Sins and Mine can get depressing, but it’s a fast and thought-provoking read.
To learn more about Taylor Caldwell, visit her website: taylorcaldwell.com.
Have you ever read anything by this author?