Enjoy these two book reviews by members of the Prayables community, Tricia Lothschultz and Jody L. Bowen. You can find out more about the book Dusk: God’s Chosen Donkey by visiting the author’s website, CarolynBuddGoertzen.com
Book Review by Tricia Lothschultz
I am always amazed when things fall into place in such a way that I know God had a hand in it. Such a Providential exchange recently resulted in the opportunity to read DUSK: God’s Chosen Donkey, by Carolyn Budd-Goertzen.
An historical fiction, inspired and given to the author in a dream, this book tells the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus from a new perspective, that of the donkeys who accompanied the Holy Family and their friends, and witnessed the miracle of the “most wonderful events on earth.” The book begins with an elder donkey passing on the family heritage, proclaiming the story of how they have been blessed to be a part of the important moments in the life of Jesus, the Promised One. As the retelling unfolds, the events which preceded and followed that most Holy Night in Bethlehem are discovered anew. Readers are invited into the intimate lives of Mary and Joseph; Abraham the stablemaster who breeds and raises the donkeys; Ezekiel a trader of goods; Abigail and Jacob, the inn owners, who so humbly offered up their stable; Anna and Simeon who awaited the Promised One in the Temple in Jerusalem; and others who were part of their lives along the way. Most importantly, the reader comes to know Dusk, the donkey chosen by God to carry Mary to Bethlehem and chosen to walk with Mary and Joseph as they bring the Son of God to the world.
Right from the beginning, I was pulled into this story. Even though I have read the story of Jesus’ birth and early years so many times, this book really made those moments come alive. The author does a wonderful job of connecting and developing the lives of all the characters. I have never really thought about whom the inn keepers were that gave the Holy Family shelter, or who might have been a part of the lives of Mary and Joseph beyond that Holy Night, but this book challenged me to think about these relationships and their part in helping bring God’s Son into the world. Seeing the Christmas story from this new, humble perspective made it very relatable. I felt as if I was truly present at the moment of Jesus’ birth, rejoicing right along with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, inn keepers, and animals, and I was deeply moved by it. I found myself becoming very fond of Dusk and not wanting the story to end.
There are parts of the story that are more speculative in nature (although nothing really that goes outside the Biblical realm of possibility), and, obviously, reading a story from the point of view of a donkey requires imagination. But, if you read with an open mind and heart, I think you will find this book delightfully inspiring. It offers insightful life lessons about faith, love, trust, forgiveness, compassion, friendship, and following God’s will in our lives.
God speaks to me in many ways: through scripture and reflection, people and events in my life, through nature, and, as I discovered while reading this book, God can even speak to me through a Donkey. I highly recommend this book as it is easy to read and enjoyable, while also being thought-provoking and inspiring. I look forward to reading book two and three of The Donkey Chronicles series when they are completed!
-Tricia Lothschultz, Guest Book Reviewer for Prayables.com
Ms. Lothschutz lives in Caldwell, NJ. She is a Missions Office Coordinator for the Passionists (www.thepassionists.org), part of which involves working with Passionist Volunteers International (www.passionistvolunteers.org). She is also currently pursing a Master of Arts in Ministry from Creighton University.
Book Review by Jody L. Bowden
I’ve often wondered how it would feel to experience the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, and author Carolyn Budd-Goertzen did a good job of placing you right at the scene during this most wonderful time. A very small donkey named Dusk was chosen to carry a very young girl, 13 yrs. old to a city where there were no available rooms available for even a pregnant lady.
Dusk will make you see that big things develop from small things. Dusk was part of a twin donkey and was the smallest of both. He developed into the larger donkey and tells you about it throughout the book.
The interesting characters like Dusk, the smallest twin donkey, Mary: a 13 yr. old virgin, Joseph: a 19 yr. old carpenter, and Night, the twin to Dusk seem as real as the neighbor next door. Here is what Night says to Dusk when they are first born, ” I am Night. I know I kept kicking you in there but I could not help it. I needed to move and every time I tried to stretch you were in my way. Sorry.”
When they arrived at the inn, Joseph had to prepare a stall for Mary. It was there that this soft light continued to get brighter. Only the animals could see the Shining One who asked them to remain quiet. It was the animals that were aware of singing and praying only after the Shining One was present.
Although this allows you to travel back in time, you will feel like it is currently happening with the vivid accounts of each character,
Let your journey begin!
-Jody Bowden, Guest Book Reviewer for Prayables.com
Jody L. Bowden is a Christian businesswoman from Longboat Key Florida. She can be contacted through her website: www.marykay.com/jbowden4
Dusk: God’s Chosen Donkey by Carolyn Budd-Goertzen is available on Amazon, Kindle, Ebooks, Barnes and Noble, Alibri and can be ordered in any bookstore worldwide. It is also available in quantities of 10 or more from Outskirts Press Bookstore for 55% off.