A Book to Capture Your Soul
By: Jerry Proudlock

"It was all so crazy, how lives could be upset by the change of one man's heart." (Excerpt from People of the Book)

Books captivate me. They always have. Occasionally a book becomes more than a way to be entertained, to pass time, or to be informed. Some books creep into your soul and make you see a part of yourself you long to bring out and make better. These books make you want to reach up to the heavens, capture a piece of divinity, and make it all your own. They are the kind of books that help you to explore your own soul and beliefs at the same time the characters are exploring theirs.

Marlena Muchnick's new novel, People of the Book (ISBN 1-4033-0584-6), falls into this category. Muchnick's work begins with the simple life of a Jewish bookseller named Yesod Chai Eleazar.

We are introduced into a world that seemed mysterious to me, that of a Jewish Man. I was not familiar with the practices and culture of Jewish life, but Muchnick takes the reader by the hand with welcomed footnotes, a complete glossary, and the simple restating of Jewish terms in easy to understand English. For the avid history buff, scripture reader, and religious student, Muchnick's straight forward dive into common Jewish life is as refreshing, and informative as any scholarly work on the subject. But her work does not stop there.

The real draw of this book is the soul-riveting story itself. Yesod stumbles upon a painting of Jesus who is praying in Gethsemane. Unbeknownst to him that this picture is of Jesus, Yesod is pulled to it by its simple spiritual message, that of a man praying with full intent and desire. It is when Yesod discovers that this picture is of Jesus that his world begins to turn upside down.

How can a Jewish man even begin to think that Jesus is the promised Messiah?

This and more life changing questions lead Yesod down a path to becoming a Christian. How can he explain his newfound faith to his betrothed, his mother, and his lifelong friend? And how can he describe to them a miracle beyond words that he has experienced?

Yesod comes alive within the pages of Muchnick's book. The author's descriptions of Yesod's innermost feelings are what opens the door to your own soul. Even for the strongest of Christians today this book will make you explore again your own commitment and faith.

People of the Book made me cry and pray along side Yesod. If you are looking for a soul stirring drama this is the book for you.