The description on the back cover doesn’t do justice to Jana Kelley’s “Side By Side”. When I first signed up for the book tour, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it. However, one page in and I was hooked. Mia, an American Christian wife and mom to three small children, moves to North Sudan with her husband. Halimah is a young girl who becomes a Christian in a country where an Islam who becomes a Christian can be put to death.
Mia struggles to live in the Sudanese culture. She is frustrated with the language and the culture. She gets homesick and begs to go home. Although she struggles with cultural differences and trying to find her place in a country where she feels lost and alone, Mia desires to follow God and submit to her husband.
When Halimah’s family discovers her secret and goes into hiding at Mia’s, Mia discovers her purpose and that she can find joy in her circumstances.
“Side By Side” is an excellent fictional account of how many Christians are living in Sudan. Muslims who convert to Christianity many times have to keep it a secret from their family and live with the knowledge that if found they will be disowned or worse. Mia was frustrated because she missed her freedom in the United States but after meeting Halimah she realized that there are some things worse than missing the comfort and security of home.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”