Happy Friday – and Happy February! Today, we’re looking at an emotional and inspiring read from Elizabeth Musser that spotlights the courage of Iranian refugees and the people who aid them. The Long Highway Home is a feast for the senses, the emotions, and the soul. It will break your heart and soothe it again, but it will not leave you the same person you were when you began reading.
About the Book
When the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.
Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss.
Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger.
Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost?
Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.
“… how costly it was to follow Isa [Jesus]. Costly, yes, but worth it.”
The Long Highway Home is set in 2005, at the height of the riots in France, but its theme is oh-so-timely today. The story follows several main characters – Bobbie, Tracie, Stephen, Hamid, Amir, and Rasa – as well as the secondary characters these six encounter on their respective journeys. The text shifts from first person to third person, depending on which character’s perspective we are reading, but the transitions are clearly indicated and easy to follow.
Seven-year-old Rasa has the beautiful faith of a child – after hearing New Testament stories of Isa (Jesus) she comes to believe in Him and trusts Him to help her family. This is not an easy decision, even for such a young child. In her world, in her country, belief in Jesus is a death sentence. And yet… she believes. Wholly and without doubt.
Hamid is a gentle soul who must flee Iran along the treacherous ‘Refugee Highway’ after Rasa is caught with a New Testament. Knowing his family is in grave danger, hoping they are safe where he has hidden them (they aren’t), he escapes to find help and freedom. Along the way, he meets Jesus too. Yet the journey may be no safer than remaining behind in Iran. The terrain is unforgiving and the dangers are many.
Hamid and Rasa’s stories are incredibly moving and emotional – heartbreaking and deeply inspiring. Even in great darkness, when their lives are on the line, Jesus is there in their story, wrapping them with grace. The best part (to me) of Hamid & Rasa’s story is that they are based on real-life refugees and their own stories that captured the author’s heart. As Musser herself said, “The Long Highway Home is fiction, but it is based on many, many true stories of refugees finding hope in the midst of the horror as Jesus reveals Himself to them in the most surprising ways.”
The Long Highway Home is, at its heart, a bringing together of the plot lines of a refugee’s story. It’s not a political statement. It’s not a religious statement. It’s a beautiful picture of how Isa [Jesus] redeems and rescues, with plot lines simultaneously playing out in Turkey, in the Netherlands, in Iran, in Atlanta, and in Austria. No matter where you stand on the refugee debate, this story and its people are for you. It’s an inspiring portrait of the selfless individuals who work behind the scenes in many cases to help refugees find hope as well as freedom. And it’s a heart-clenching reminder that, while following Jesus is very costly to so much of the world’s population, He is very worth it. “Not everyone had made it safely out of Iran. But everyone has made it safely Home.”
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.
Portions of this review were originally posted on Reading Is My SuperPower.
About the Author
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years. All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages. The Long Highway Home has been a bestseller in Europe.
For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who all live way too far away in America. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. See photos from scenes in The Long Highway Home on Pinterest.
What about you? Have you ever met a refugee and listened to his/her story?