4 out of 4 stars
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Norah by Cynthia Argil is the story of one woman’s triumph of faith in the face of devastating loss. Argil came from humble beginnings. When she was 12, she lost her mother under shocking circumstances that would do a soap opera proud. The following years were difficult. At 15, she got pregnant with her first child; at 16, she got pregnant with her second. At 20, she married an alcoholic.
After her husband gave his heart to God, he tried to share his new-found joy with his wife but Argil was skeptical. It took a while, but eventually Argil gave her heart to God, too. The years that followed were marked by a growing knowledge of the Bible and an increasing joy in the Lord. The couple built a prosperous business and life was good. Then tragedy struck; not once, but twice. Argil’s faith in God and her assurance of His love were deeply shaken. Then slowly, through the agony and tears, she began to see that He had never left her but had always been with her. From her earliest memories, her loving heavenly Father had been drawing her to Him and her faith was restored, stronger than ever.
I enjoyed reading Norah. The writing was clear and direct without a lot of flowery embellishments. Argil had a tough upbringing and, as a result, it made her a very hard person. The author is very honest about her struggles and failings and makes no attempt to make excuses. She is also just as straightforward about the turning point that made the difference: her own personal conversion experience with God.
This book would appeal to anyone who appreciates uplifting conquering-over-adversity stories. It would appeal most, however, to those who share Argil’s Christian beliefs. Norah is unapologetically Argil’s personal, spiritual testimony. In the book, she shares her many personal conversations with God. She firmly believes God has spoken to her through dreams and the various events of her life, drawing her into a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. The title of the book itself is the new name Argil believes God gave her.
The book has been professionally edited and there really was nothing in the book that I particularly disliked. As a personal memoir of one woman’s spiritual walk, it is a glimpse into the pivotal moments of the author’s life. I will admit, speaking subjectively, that a fair amount of the book felt quite detached. It read almost as though it were taken out of a factual report, rather than the moving saga of one woman’s triumph over hardship. A little humor thrown in here and there would have softened the report-like feeling and helped establish a stronger emotional connection to the author and her family. However, that’s simply personal preference and not something for which I could justify subtracting a star. I am happy to give Norah four out of four stars.
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