Valley of Decision: A Novel

Valley of Decision: A Novel

by Lynne Gentry

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Overview

Every choice has a consequence in the explosive conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles as Lisbeth returns to third-century Carthage for a thrilling final adventure.

Thirteen years ago, Lisbeth made an impossible decision—leave third-century Carthage and her husband Cyprian behind for good. She knew it was to protect her daughter Maggie, so Lisbeth gathered the strength to move on with her life.

All these years, Lisbeth has thrown herself into her work and raising her headstrong daughter, all to live up to the promise she made to Cyprian. But Maggie is sick of being protected. In an act of teenage rebellion Maggie decides to do what her mother can’t—secretly returning to the third century on a quest to bring her father back, leaving Lisbeth no choice but to follow.

With Maggie’s surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. She finds her grandmother on trial for murder and attempts to save her, but instead the diversion sparks a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of the instigator.

Will Lisbeth arrive in time to save her daughter from the clutches of Rome? How can God possibly redeem such a slew of unwise decisions and deep regrets? Filled with heart-wrenching twists and riveting action, Valley of Decision brings the romantic adventure epic, The Carthage Chronicles, to an electrifying conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476746418
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 09/22/2015
Series: Carthage Chronicles Series
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,147,601
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.

Read an Excerpt

Valley of Decision


  • Dallas, Texas

    WHEN UNATTENDED WOUNDS SUCCUMB to infection”—Dr. Lisbeth Hastings advanced the slide in the PowerPoint presentation, and the raw end of a severed leg appeared on the screen—“amputation of the gangrenous extremity may be the only way to stop a deadly pathogen from progressing to the body’s core.” She was not surprised by the hand that shot up.

    The ambitious resident with thick glasses and freshly pressed scrubs was always looking for an opportunity to prove his brilliance. Debating whether to give him an excuse to derail her lecture, Lisbeth took a deep breath. “Your question, Dr. Gingrich?”

    The surgical resident pressed his glasses to his nose. “What about IV Vancomycin or Zosyn?”

    Lisbeth kept her expression neutral, but inside she was cringing. Looking at Dr. Gingrich was like looking at herself nearly twenty years ago. Self-serving. Terrified. And determined to control everyone and every outcome. What a waste of precious time and energy. Oh, the things she would tell that desperate girl if she ever got the chance to go back in time again.

    She suppressed her desire to take the kid aside and shake some sense into him. Her job was not to coddle young doctors but to make them into quick-thinking surgeons able to face anything the operating room threw at them.

    “Vigorous rounds of antibiotics are always the first line of defense. But if modern medicine fails, the ancient practice of amputation is the better decision.” Her phone vibrated in the pocket of her white coat. Lisbeth ignored the summons and kept her gaze squarely on the young surgical resident. Maybe if he’d watched his mother amputate a man’s leg with nothing more than a serrated saw and a mandrake root for pain, he too would want assurances that he’d done the right thing. “For the treating physician, the decision is never easy. Everything must be considered. Age, overall health, postsurgery quality of life.” The phone vibrations ceased, then immediately began again. She hated being interrupted during grand rounds. Seizing the opportunity to equip a surgeon with the ability to make hard choices was the best part of her job. Lisbeth fished her buzzing phone from her pocket and glanced at the caller ID. “Excuse me, I have to take this. You’re dismissed.” She exited the conference room. “Papa, everything okay?”

    “Maggie’s gone!” he blurted.

    “What?” Lisbeth hurried across the hall, ducked into her office, and closed the door.

    “That fancy art college of hers called.” Panic made his voice tremble. “She’s not been to a single class since we hauled her fanny to Rhode Island.”

    “I talked to her yesterday on her birthday.” Lisbeth’s focus shot to the framed photo of Maggie standing outside her freshman dorm. The vivacious young woman waving good-bye was beyond beautiful. Features perfect as sculpted marble. Sea-blue eyes that rippled with a restlessness that was equally becoming and unsettling. Whenever Maggie walked into a room, she commanded attention without even trying, like the aristocrat she was. Lisbeth had been such a tomboy at that age, climbing dunes and digging for buried treasure with her father until he sent her to the States for college. Maggie, on the other hand, possessed a sense of feminine confidence Lisbeth still struggled to grasp.

    Leaving her daughter in a city fifteen hundred miles away had been harder on her than it had been on Maggie. Papa had said letting go was a natural part of parenting, but nothing about telling her daughter good-bye felt natural to Lisbeth. She’d loved being a mother. Motherhood had saved her. Given her a place to deposit all the love she still had for Maggie’s father.

    “What did she say?” Papa’s anxious voice jerked Lisbeth back to the present.

    She rubbed her temple, trying to recall her conversation with Maggie. “She was excited about turning eighteen and being able to make her own decisions.”

    “What did you say?” Papa’s question held a tiny edge of accusation.

    What didn’t I say? Hairs on the back of Lisbeth’s neck bristled as the discussion replayed in her mind. It was the same fight they always had: what Maggie could and could not do; where she could and could not go; and why it was in her daughter’s best interest to leave the past in the past and move forward.

    Lisbeth’s stomach churned at her own hypocrisy. Had she not gambled on what mattered most and taken Maggie to the third century, her failure to reunite her family would not be a wound that refused to heal. Infection, yellow and foul, had seeped into her relationship with her daughter. If she could not stop the deterioration, eventually one of them would be forced to cut the other off. And she knew exactly who would wield the serrated saw. A braid of guilt, regret, and animosity thick as the blond plait that hugged Maggie’s neck squeezed Lisbeth’s heart.

    “I said”—she cleared the lump in her throat—“when you start paying your own bills, kiddo, you can go anywhere you want.” She could almost feel Maggie rolling her eyes the moment this statement came out of her mouth . . . again.

    “And she said?”

    “Whatever, Mom.” Loosely translated: I’m going to do whatever I want.

    “Could she have possibly gained access to the inheritance your grandfather left for both of you?”

    “She knew when she turned eighteen I’d set her up with an account that automatically transfers money each month.” Lisbeth could feel her heart rate increasing. “Give me a second.” A few furious clicks on the computer and Maggie’s account transactions appeared.

    $1,279.00. TunisAir. Charged at 12:02 a.m. Yesterday. The day Maggie turned eighteen.

    Lisbeth’s skin went cold. This time the future had gone in search of the past. Fear skipped up Lisbeth’s spine. She loved her daughter, but her hopes and dreams for Maggie did not include having her torn between two worlds for the rest of her life. Lisbeth’s body prepared to run. “Grab my emergency bag and passport. I’ll meet you at DFW.”

    “Where is she?”

    “Where do you think? The very place I told her never to go.”

    Tunis, Tunisia

    LISBETH’S COMMERCIAL flight made the slow descent through the clouds. She watched out the window as they circled the ancient ruins of Carthage’s harbor. On about the third pass over the stunning turquoise waters of the Mediterranean port city, the ugly terror swirling in her belly was near eruption. What if she failed again? She removed the barf bag from the seat in front of her, held it to her nose, and breathed in and out.

    “You okay?” Papa rubbed her back.

    All she could do was nod and pray, bracing herself for the moment the plane’s wheels set her down on African soil for the first time in thirteen years.

    As they taxied to the terminal, Lisbeth slid her courage back into place and powered on her phone.

    She dialed the same number she’d been trying to reach since bolting from her office. “Maybe we can find Maggie before she finds Nigel.” She threaded her arm through her father’s as they exited the plane. None of her arguments had convinced him to stay behind, and this time she was grateful. “I’m going to keep calling that Irish bush pilot until he answers me.”

    Inside the stuffy cinderblock terminal a cacophony of French, Arabic, German, and heavy British drowned out the live Berber drums, sitars, and flutes. In the gray haze of cigarette smoke, Lisbeth rotated like a weather vane, listening to her call go to Nigel’s voice mail while she sorted dialects in search of the sugary Texas twang of one strong-willed blond teenager in big trouble.

    She clicked off her phone. “You don’t think he took her to the cave, do you?”

    “Maggie can be mighty persuasive, and Nigel’s a softie.”

    “But she’s just a kid.”

    “He took you there, didn’t he?”

    “I was twenty-eight, and it was an emergency.” Lisbeth crammed the phone into the bag with the shiny new Kelly forceps she’d packed for Mama just in case they did have to go all the way back to the third century. “This would not be happening if I’d taken your advice and brought Maggie to Carthage the moment she started pressing for some answers.” Allowing the past to inform the present was a bridge she hadn’t wanted to cross. Lisbeth hefted her bag onto the customs inspection counter. “You were right. There. I said it.”

    “I’m still living with the consequences of my decisions. You won’t hear me judging yours. You’re the best mother I know.”

    “I should have walked her through the ruins. Helped her find closure. Put the past to bed once and for all.” Her inability to give Maggie what she wanted—no, what she needed—was a constant tug on her heart.

    “You can’t ask her to do something you haven’t done yourself.” Papa’s blue eyes drilled her. “It’s forgiveness that girl craves. And I don’t mean from you.”

    The impatient customs official asked for their passports. “Coming into the country for business or pleasure?”

    “Business.” Papa presented their passports for stamping. “Very delicate business.” He took Lisbeth’s elbow and led her around a group of retired Americans on vacation. Flowered shirts, straw hats, and sensible shoes gave away their plans to spend their vacation tramping the sunbaked remains of a forgotten civilization.

    The presence of so many tourists shamed her. Carthage was not the volatile hotbed she’d claimed every time Maggie broached the subject of saving her father. Truth squeezed Lisbeth’s conscience tighter than the crowds pressing in from all sides. Political unrest wasn’t the real source of her reluctance to bring her daughter here.

    She’d made a promise.

    Until the costs versus the gains of breaking that promise were settled in her mind, she kept her desire to break that promise buried in a tangled web of excuses.

    “This way.” Papa pushed past the luxury shops, cafés, and beauty salons. “I arranged our ride ahead of time.”

    Intrusive taxi drivers rushed them the moment they stepped into air thick with dust blowing in from the Sahara. The nearness of the desert choked her.

    A snaggle-toothed man leaped in front of her. “Thirty dinars to Old Carthage.”

    “Twenty to the Bardo.” Another driver hugged her left side. “Much better deal.”

    A man who smelled like a goat moved in on the right. “Fifteen and a guided tour of the Tophet.”

    “Camel rides, only ten dinar, pretty lady!” shouted a young Bedouin elbowing into the cluster, the reins of two bored-looking beasts of burden clutched in his hands.

    “How did Maggie navigate this on her own?” Lisbeth raised her scarf over her nose.

    “She’s a smart girl.” Papa squeezed her elbow tighter. “Like her mother.”

    “That’s what scares me.”

    “Doctor Hastings!” Across the parking lot Aisa, her father’s faithful camp fry cook, paced the wind-sanded hood of an old Land Rover. His cream-colored tunic stood out against the black smoke pouring from the exhaust pipe of a nearby bus. He waved his hands. “Come!”

    They hurriedly wove their way through the honking cars and heavy foot traffic. Aisa scrambled down from the vehicle with surprising agility for a man she guessed to be nearly seventy. Lisbeth threw her arms around the wiry-thin Arab. “Aisa!” The comforting scent of lamb roasted over an open fire accompanied his embrace. She reluctantly released him and allowed Papa a moment to greet one of his dearest friends before she asked, “New glasses?”

    “And new teeth.” Shiny white dentures peered out from beneath the bush of Aisa’s graying facial hair.

    “Nice.” She pointed at his shiny frames. “I kinda miss the duct tape.”

    “Nothing stays the same.”

    His statement was a defibrillating bolt to her heart. Last time she’d traveled into the third century everything had changed. Her husband had returned from exile and married her best friend. Maggie could have stumbled into . . . No, she couldn’t let her mind go there. “Please tell me you’ve got my daughter safely tucked away.”

    Aisa shook his head and took Lisbeth’s bag. “Come. We’ll get some food into your bellies and a plan into our heads for what we should do next.”

    “We?”

    “Isn’t that what friends are for?” He loaded their gear into the SUV, then hopped in and floored the gas pedal.

    The Rover shot into traffic. Lisbeth gripped the dash but still felt she was shaking apart at the seams. Their chauffeur dodged parked cars and bicycles that clogged the streets leading away from the airport. Windows down, they flew along the paved coastal road connecting Tunis and Old Carthage. The salty breeze kinked Lisbeth’s hair into knots almost as big as the ones in her stomach.

    As they neared the older part of the city, the crowded, narrow avenues forced Aisa to slow down. Street vendors hawked aromatic oils, brightly colored fabrics, and pottery in every imaginable shade of blue. Lisbeth’s mind traveled back to the days when this city was new. The days when the love of her life walked these streets. His kiss. The warmth of his touch. The strength in his resolve. She stuck her hand out the window and let the breeze slip through her fingers. How could someone be so close and yet so far away?

    Aisa laid on the horn and shook his fist. “Hang on.”

    At a huge clock tower, their aggressive cabbie abruptly turned east. He zipped through quiet residential streets lined with whitewashed houses trimmed in the same cobalt blue of the pottery. Leafy trees heavy with ripening oranges filled the yards. Here and there ancient stone columns converted into streetlamps embellished the neighborhoods only the very rich could afford. Grand estates like the one her mother’s father had left to Lisbeth when he died.

    Aisa whipped into a drive blocked by a massive wrought-iron gate. “Here we are.”

    “Here?” Lisbeth stared at the familiar gate. “This house belonged to my grandfather.” She’d sold Jiddo’s estate through a third-party transaction to finance Maggie’s steep college tuition. She had no idea the buyer had been her father’s camp cook. “You live here?”

    “Yes.” Aisa’s toothy grin showed his delight at her surprise. “The good professor is not the only one who knows how to turn sand into treasure.”

    Lisbeth shifted in her seat. “You sold recovered artifacts?”

    Aisa lifted his chin proudly. “My recipe for fried dough.”

    “To whom?”

    “An American food chain.” He pressed the remote control attached to his visor, and the gate swung open.

    In the distance, Lisbeth could see the hill where the Roman acropolis had been replaced by a huge French cathedral. All around her grandfather’s estate the palm trees had grown bigger and had acquired multiple rings of thick bark. Beside her sat a newly wealthy souk vendor who used to just barely eke out a living frying bread dough on an oil drum.

    Nothing stays the same.

    The power of time had tugged at her since the moment she’d set foot back in Tunisia. The port that had once been the spear pointed at the rest of the world was now an accusing dagger aimed at her. She’d abandoned Carthage in its hour of need. She could take no credit for its survival.

    Aisa settled Lisbeth into the room she’d stayed in the few times Papa brought her to visit on their rare supply runs to Carthage. She and Papa didn’t come often, because things were always so tense between Jiddo and her father. The two men had never had a good relationship, but after Mama’s disappearance it became even easier to beat each other up rather than themselves.

    Lisbeth showered quickly, slipped into the simple tunic she found laid out on the massive burled mahogany bed, then followed the enticing smell of roasting meat to the large, wrap-around terrace with a stunning view of the port. Laughter drew her attention to the fire pit. Aisa and Papa were one-upping each other with camp stories. But something about the scene wasn’t right. Papa was dressed in a woolen tunic that hit him midcalf. His fry cook was whacking fist-size dough balls with a tire iron and wearing Papa’s faded chambray shirt and favorite dungarees.

    “It’s like old times seeing you two together.” Lisbeth kissed both of their cheeks. “But why have you switched clothes?”

    Her father handed Aisa a dough ball. “I thought I’d better dress appropriately for our journey into the third century.”

    “Oh, no, you don’t. I let you come to Carthage, but I did not agree to let you go back in time. Plus, Maggie may still be in the twenty-first century.”

    “You haven’t been able to get Nigel on the phone. If he’s not dead, then he took Maggie to the desert. And we both know he’s not dead.” Papa eyed Lisbeth as if he could see the ripple of gooseflesh raising the hair on her arms. “I’m current on all my shots.”

    “That’s the least of my worries.”

    “Well, then. If things are as bad back there as you’ve always said, you’ll need my help. I can tell you right now, it’s going to take both of us to wrestle Maggie Hastings back down the rabbit hole.”

    “I don’t suppose your willingness to fling yourself into a time-altering waterslide has anything to do with finding my mother?”

    A sly smile lifted the corners of his lips. “I intend to bring my wife home along with the rest of my family.”

    How could she argue? Truth be known, she’d always wanted to do the same. Lisbeth held up her palms. “We’ll have to hire a jeep.”

    “I’ve checked with customs, and the borders into Egypt are closed to vehicular travel,” Papa said.

    Lisbeth studied the strange expression on her father’s face. “So as of right now, neither one of us has a way to get to that cave.”

    “The bald Irishman is not the only one with a plane.” Aisa glowed like his sparkly new teeth at her shock. “Came with the estate.”

    After a quick meal of lamb and fried dough, they prepared for Lisbeth and Papa’s entrance into the past.

    What if she couldn’t find her daughter? What if she was too late? Losing Maggie forever would be her worst fear come true. Panic, sharper and more frantic than what she’d experienced on the plane, clawed Lisbeth’s insides as she checked her medical bag one more time.

    A familiar arm, long and sinewy, wrapped around her shoulders. “You okay, Beetle Bug?”

    Lisbeth leaned into Papa and forced air into her lungs. Oxygen cleared the panic from her thinking. She turned to Aisa. “I don’t suppose you could find a local doc who’d write some antibiotic scripts and set me up with twenty to thirty typhoid blister packs?”

    Aisa’s whole body seemed to smile. “Easier than frying bread.”

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    Valley of Decision: A Novel 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Liz daughter has always wanted a father but when she finally met him she fell in love with her father but due to some unfortunate cuircumstances she has to go back to her time. Now all grown up she has decided to go back and save her father from his impending death but does she know the ramifications that her decision will bring upon her and her loved ones! Maggie is determined to save her father.
    Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
    This was a fascinating ending to a wonderful time travel series! Maggie is incredibly stubborn and impulsive, which got on my nerves a bit. She was funny, though, especially when she used phrases from the future in the past. She was also incredibly brave, as she showed over and over when she rushed headlong to save someone without thinking. It was interesting to see how people in the past reacted to her return since for them hardly any time had passed, but for her it had been thirteen years and she looked like a woman rather than a child. There was a bit of a love triangle as she had feelings for the man she used to torment while a new one entered the picture all while trying to not put herself in the same predicament as her mother because she plans to return home to the present with her family. She does not want to get her heart broken by falling for someone in the past. There were some sweet romantic moments for her and also her mother. It was touching and romantic to see Lisbeth and Cyprian reunite after thinking they wouldn't see each other again. Faith was a strong factor in the story, as the Christians choose to forgive their enemies and help ones who have gotten sick. There's plenty of action as they flee from soldiers, fight for their lives and try to save Maggie's grandmother and father. It was fascinating to see what life was like in Carthage in 258 AD. I highly recommend this book and series! I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
    mackenzie_carol More than 1 year ago
    Valley of Decision is the third and final book in Lynne Gentry’s Carthage Chronicles series, and is by far a very satisfying conclusion. I have read the previous two books (Healer of Carthage and Return to Exile), I just haven’t had the chance to write my reviews for them as of yet; hopefully those of you with equally busy schedules will understand my dilemma. Anyway, this book was so great! I loved both of the previous books (like I said I’ll post my reviews later so you can really get a feel for what I thought of them), so I was sure that this concluding novel would be something I would enjoy, although I was afraid of an unexpected twist since there were two super huge ones in Return to Exile. I am refraining from saying anything that might spoil this story for anyone, so it is super difficult to accurately describe what I loved about this book, but I will say I really enjoy the time travel aspect of it. Typically I don’t like books that are quite that unrealistic, but I really loved the way that Lynne wrote this novel and how she tied up all the ends and made it as believable as it could be under the circumstances. On top of that, her characters were just so loveable I couldn’t stand it! I had met them in the previous books so I already had a bond with them, and I really loved the chance to read more about them and their stories. I happily give this book all five bookshelves, because of how it made me laugh, cry, and become an even bigger fan of Lynne’s writing. I highly recommend it, although I would suggest reading the whole series in order so that you can really grasp the fullness of the story. This is a super sweet and wonderful novel that I am so glad that I picked up and I cannot wait to read it again! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
    TrixiO More than 1 year ago
    It’s been 13 years since Lisbeth and Maggie have returned from 3rd century Carthage. Long years separated from their beloved husband and father Cyprian , mother & grandmother Magdeline, Barek their family friend, and other Carthage citizens they have grown to love and care for through the devastating plague of typhoid. Maggie, now 18 and learning of her father’s fate, takes matters into her own hands and returns to the past to try to stop it & change history. Unbeknownst to her mother & G-pa, she leaves the college she is attending, and travels to the place where the Cave of the Swimmers exists. From there, she lands back into Carthage not knowing that her grandmother has been arrested for the murder of Aspasius (the proconsul). Will fate be on her side, or does God’s plan still stand for those she loves? This was a roller coaster of emotions for me! I was so intimately involved with each character, feeling everything they felt, seeing the things they were seeing & raging at the injustice done to their loved ones! From the very first day Maggie landed in Carthage, to the final page of this book, I was invested in this story & couldn’t put it down. I wanted desperately to know what the ending was, but at the same time, wanting to savor every last word! More than once I found myself with tears running down my face or laughing & cheering along with the characters! This book will pull you in, shred your heart, and put it back together whole and new again! But you won’t be left without a scar to remind you of this very emotional conclusion to a well written series. I strongly suggest you read the first two books “Healer of Carthage” & “Return to Exile” so that you get that depth that only comes from reading each book. You will fall in love with each character, envision ancient Carthage with its vivid details, and learn some history of this time period. Lynne doesn’t spare any detail, you will want to come along for the ride she’ll take you on! This is a highly recommend series for those who love a rich depth of character, realistic details, ancient historical places and Biblical truths played out in what feels like a very real manner! If you are a Christian, you will find your faith strengthened & God’s truths echoed in your heart. You do not want to miss this, I believe Lynne is a gifted storyteller used by the Lord to touch lives! **I was given a complimentary copy of this story for my honest opinion and review, to which I have provided here! Thank you Lynne Gentry and Howard Books (an imprint of Simon & Shuster Inc.) for a satisfying read!**
    debhgrty More than 1 year ago
    Deb's Dozen: They've come to a Valley of Decision. Choose love or choose life? Valley of Decision, the final book in Lynne Gentry’s Carthage Chronicles, is a fitting ending to this saga of time-travel to the third century. Maggie, daughter of Lisbeth (20th century) and Cyprian (3rd century), has read her history books and is determined to change history by going back to Carthage to save her father. Once Lisbeth finds out she has gone, Lisbeth and her father also travel back to third-century Carthage. They arrive only to discover that Magdalena, Lisbeth’s mother and the elder Dr. Hasting’s wife, has been imprisoned for murder in the death of Aspasius, proconsul of Carthage. Maggie finds Cyprian and connects with Barek, son of the former bishop, Caecilianus, who is trying to earn his way back into favor after selling fake documents to the Christians. Cyprian has returned from exile only to find his mansion destroyed and the hospital therein full of the slain and to the news that Magdalena is in prison. Eventually they all find each other—then their trials begin as they walk through the valley their decisions have brought them to. You will love getting to know Maggie better and watching her mature. You will empathize with Lisbeth as she tries to let her daughter grow up. You’ll learn about the dangers the Christians faced and the trials they lived through under the thumb of the Romans. You’ll want to read the whole series if you haven’t already—and get this book if you’ve read the first two. Valley of Decision: A Novel (The Carthage Chronicles) rates five stars! To quote her bio, “Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.”
    Nutz2read More than 1 year ago
    I’m going to be honest. My brain is spinning while I’m trying to gather enough words to write a review for this book that has left me emotionally rocked and asking difficult questions. I don’t even know where to begin. How do I describe this story that has me reeling, trying to avoid crying for a fictional character, and replaying sections of it endeavoring to figure out where I became so attached? What can I say that will do it justice? I should probably note that there are two other books in this series, The Healer of Carthage and Return From Exile. All three books follow the adventures of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius in third century Carthage. Each of these stories have touched me in some manner, but this one pretty much knocked the wind out of me for a few moments. I found myself so engrossed in this book that I read it in little more than a day and had to struggle to pull myself away from it. Forget about focusing on anything else, I was so entrenched in my reading that I would look up and blink a few times, trying to make sense that I wasn’t in Carthage with them. Lisbeth may have time-traveled to the third century, but I think I took that trip with her. Ms. Gentry, as usual, has outdone herself with this book. Her writing is superb and she brings Carthage to life in such a way that I would almost swear I’d be there myself. There were several times when it was as though I could almost smell the eucalyptus used in the vaporizer pots and feel the discord running through the city. I’ve loved being pulled into the journey that flows through three books and finally climaxes in an ending that made me want to pitch it across the room. Before I deter anyone with that comment, I’m going to continue by saying that my remark is more of a testament to just how wonderful a job Lynne has done with this series. I have to be deeply attached to the characters to prompt that reaction from me, so well done Lynne! Lisbeth and Cyprian have been favorites of mine from the start, but in this book we also get to know a grown-up Maggie and Barek, as well as knowing Lisbeth’s parents a bit better. I loved the new depth Lynne adds to each of her stories, expanding them and drawing more characters to the forefront until it’s not just Cyprian and Lisbeth’s story, but it’s about so many people that their lives have touched along the way.They are constantly growing and changing throughout each book, but in small ways that you’d really have to read the books to know, as my explanations wouldn’t come even close to doing them justice. I think if I had to choose one reason that I love Lynne’s books so much it would have to be this: they challenge me. They force me to ask questions and reevaluate some aspects of my life. They are so real and sometimes raw that I believe it’s almost impossible to remain unaffected. After I had turned the final page of this one, I just sat there for a few moments, trying to wrap my brain around what had just happened. It seemed hard to believe it was over, but then I feel that way about any book I fall into. They never seem long enough and I feel a bit bereft for a while afterward. I’m sure this will be one that sticks with me for quite a while as I mull the words within, the ones that have caused me to stop and think, to look to God for answers, or to simply ponder the questions Lynne’s words inspire. My thanks to the author for my copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
    Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
    What an amazing adventure! I can’t believe it’s time to say goodbye to these special characters that I’ve come to know and love! The only consolation I have is that this fantastic series has a special place on my keeper shelf, and I can revisit third-century Carthage again and again. Valley of Decision is a sensational conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles! Once again, Lynne Gentry deftly weaves past and present together and brings to life the history, drama, and romance of this extraordinary story. Full of heart-wrenching emotion and poignant truths, this story of faith and family will leave you breathless! I absolutely loved the Carthage Chronicles and can’t wait to experience this incredible author’s next adventure!
    LizD1 More than 1 year ago
    Valley Of Decision (The Carthage Chronicles #3) By: Lynne Gentry Valley Of Decision is the third book in The Carthage Chronicles series. Ms Gentry certainly knows how to weave the present and the future together to spin a fantastic time travel story with medical suspense , action, romance adventure, and still be a Christian book. Valley Of Decision captured me right from the start till the final page. The characters were so real , I felt like I was right there with them, even with tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt myself trying to read faster to find out what was going to happen next. If you like time travel books , then you will love Valley Of Decision. I was given a copy of this book by the author and Publishing company for my honest review, which I have given.
    Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
    The most hardest part of getting involved in any series, is that one day is has to come to an end. Sometimes you want to refrain from picking up the final book because if you have truly come to love the characters, you know this is the conclusion to their story. They're not just characters in a book to you. You've come to know them, to care about them and to know what motivates them and those are the earmarks of a fine novel and an exceptional writer. If you're looking for such a series, I would encourage you to pick up the Carthage Chronicles from Lynne Gentry. It's both a bit of science fiction, involving time travel and historical romance, as the characters are traveling back to ancient Carthage and find themselves so involved in that culture, they don't wish to return. In the conclusion to this series, Valley of Decision is that place where all of our beloved characters have once again been transported back to Carthage and must make some defining life choices, to stay where their hearts call them or to head back to the present day and hope they can convince those that they care about to join them, but to do that, would forever change history. Is the risk worth it in the end? This is not a series you can pick up any of the novels and jump right in, hoping there is enough of a back story to help move you forward in the novels. You must begin with the first one as any great adventure would suggest. But trust me when I share with you, it will be so worth the time to do so. For those of us, that have been reading them as they are published, the wait has been long in between, but with each novel, it simply gets better and better. In Valley of Decision, Magdalena has been arrested for the death of the proconsul Aspasius, whom she tried to save by amputating his leg, but when he succumbs to complications due to the time frame they are living in and lack of surgical sterileness. Now she must try and find a way to save her life if she is continue her fight to save the city of Carthage from the disease of typhoid and measles that threatens to destroy the city. Her granddaughter Maggie, now 18, has run away back to Carthage in hopes of not only saving Magdalena but also her father Cyprian whom she just met when accompanying her mother Lisbeth Hastings more than a decade ago. She knows her mother would never approve but she must do what she can to help in any way possible, with the time she has left if the history books are correct and her father has less than a month before he is condemned to death. I received Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation outside of a free copy of this book for my review and the opinions expressed here are my own honest and personal ones. I won't give away the ending but it is so worth reading this entire series. I am sad that the journey is over, but it was well worth the wait between all the novels to experience what is might have been like living in the third-century with the tremendous amount of research that Lynne did to enable this novel and her characters to become simply more than words on a page. In my opinion, this one easily earns all 5 out of 5 stars. There is a Reader's Discussion Guide at the conclusion as well as some great questions that Lynne Gentry takes the time to answer about this amazing series.