A Cord of Three Strands

Christian - Historical Fiction
440 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

For as long as she can remember, Christy Distler has dreamed her most vivid dreams with her eyes wide open. Names became people-people who didn't exist in this time and place but couldn't have been more real in her heart and mind. So she did the only rational thing: gave them a voice by writing fiction.

Christy's novels, whether historical or contemporary, delve into betrayal and reconciliation, faith and grace, and always involve the intertwining of cultures. When not writing, she works as an editor for publishing houses and independent authors.

Obsession with words (and history) aside, she lives with her husband, children, and dogs in Pennsylvania, less than two miles from where her Lukens ancestors settled more than three hundred years ago.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

A Cord of Three Strands is a work of fiction in the historical, dramatic, and Christian sub-genres, and was penned by author Christy Distler. In this deeply emotional historical drama, we meet Isaac Lukens and Elisabeth Alden, two figures who both have very difficult decisions to make and burdens to bear in the year 1756. As Isaac struggles with his identity between his life with Lenape people and his white roots from his birth parents, his childhood friend Elisabeth is burdened with the care of her young siblings and the pressure to marry or lose the children for good. What follows is a powerful drama about duty, passion, and finding the right path in life.

Author Christy Distler has crafted a highly engaging historical novel that takes the realistic struggles and wider political and social conflicts of its period and weaves them firmly into the plot of the story. With this commitment to accuracy and realistic atmosphere underpinning the tale, it lends even more credence to the emotional realism and the feelings of the central characters. It was wonderful to see issues of identity, race, family duty, and women’s rights interwoven into the tale in a realistic and relevant way, and the strong narrative voice of the author gives us a close insight into the characters’ struggles and inner turmoil. I also felt that the dialogue was historically on point and delivers its moral messages well. Overall, A Cord of Three Strands is a highly recommended read for fans of historical fiction with Christian themes and realistic emotional drama.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Isaac and Elisabeth are close friends. The two grew up together in a Quaker community, the Friends, in the mid-1700s, during the French-Indian wars. As children, they create an unbreakable bond, like the cord Elisabeth weaves with strands from their own hair. Isaac was an adopted child, having been born to a Lenape mother. As a young man, Isaac decides he must seek his Lenape family. He leaves the Friends community and becomes disturbed with the rising tensions between his two peoples, the Lenape and the white settlers. When he returns to the Friends a few years later, he must face a difficult decision; whether to stay as a Friend or continue his quest to find his family. Or, has he already found his family?

Christy Distler’s historical fiction novel, A Cord of Three Strands, explores a difficult time in American history, one that doesn’t receive as much attention as the War of Independence, but did just as much damage to the people and their livelihoods. The story is told in the first-person narrative, from either Isaac’s or Elisabeth’s point of view, each chapter headed with whose point of view is being spoken. It’s a clever way to develop a compelling plot of quests, love, and the bond of family from two completely different perspectives. The author obviously knows her history and she has woven a fantastic adventure and romance around a gentle group of people who helped establish colonial life in North America. The dialogue is realistic, using words characteristic of the time period, as well as being unique to the Quakers. She provides a glossary of terms used at the beginning to help the reader catch on quickly. A vibrant tale told with vivacious attention to detail.

Rabia Tanveer

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler is set in 1756 where the tussle between Pennsylvania and its Indian tribes is at its peak. Isaac has roots with the Lenape people and he is trying to find his parents there. However, after two years, he is left with nothing but disappointment. The Lenape are thwarting all of his advances to form peace and he accepts his defeat. But going back is not easy at all. He has to face the consequences of leaving everything behind. His friend Elisabeth is finding it hard to cope after her father died. She has to get married quickly before she loses custody of her siblings. Now, Isaac has to find a way to protect her and end this discord between Pennsylvania and Indian tribes. But how can he do it when his personal battles are not ending anytime soon?

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler is such a beautiful and historically accurate story. There is a certain charm to the narrative that drew me in the moment I picked up the novel. The details are vivid and descriptive, which made it easier for me to picture what was happening in the story. Every new direction was a surprise, the subplots were well-written, and the main plot was interesting. I loved the dynamic between Isaac and Elisabeth and I loved their little family. Isaac’s dilemma was properly highlighted to give him the background on which to base his development. This is a detailed and well-written page-turner, one that you will not want to put down even after finishing it.

Romuald Dzemo

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler is a historical novel that follows a compelling character torn between different worlds. Isaac Lukens has always wanted to know more about his roots and get to meet his family. Born to a French trader and a Lenape woman, he travels to the Lenape tribe in the wilderness in search of the families of his parents, but the place is riddled with conflict. When he returns to the Quaker community where he grew up, he faces Elisabeth Alden, his childhood friend, who has to raise her siblings alone after the death of her father. She has her issues with Isaac who abandoned her after promising to be there for her and her siblings. There is pressure on her to get married so as to gain guardianship of her siblings and there is also a potential suitor. But her mind isn’t on marriage. Her choice is going to have a life-changing effect on Isaac. What will it be?

The historical setting of the novel is in 1756 and Christy Distler does a wonderful job of exploring the characters. I enjoyed the way the author writes about the relationship between Isaac and Elisabeth and how fond Isaac is of her siblings. Christy Distler has a gift for storytelling and the characters, as well as the world in which they evolve, feel so real. I loved how the author writes about the conflict between the Indian tribes and Pennsylvania. Isaac is a character who is driven by his love to bring peace, but he also feels a strong need to stay with Elisabeth and her siblings. There is suspense and the reader is curious to know if Isaac finds the families of his parents. A Cord of Three Strands is a wonderful story with interesting and well-developed characters.

Gobi Jane

A Cord of Three Strands: A Novel by Christy Distler is a compelling historical novel with strong Christian themes. It is set in 1756. Isaac Lukens spends two years with the Lenape people on a quest to uncover his roots. Born to a French trader and a Lenape woman, Isaac has never known the family of his parents. Instead of uncovering his family, he finds himself in the middle of conflict: the tribe is tearing apart as it engages in a violent battle with the frontier settlers. When he comes back to the Quaker community, things aren’t smooth for him and Elisabeth Alden, his childhood friend. Isaac has promised to take care of her and her siblings after the death of her father, but now she is being courted by a powerful Philadelphia man. To remain the guardian of her young siblings, Elisabeth must get married, and this is a huge threat to the faint hope of Isaac and her being together.

Christy Distler has written a beautiful and heartwarming story and I was pulled in by the way she explores the worlds of the characters. The relationships between the characters are intelligently written, allowing their humanity to come out clearly in the narrative. Isaac is an elaborately developed character and I was keen to follow him through the dilemmas he finds himself in. He is torn between two worlds, pursuing his quest to reconnect with his family and building a life with Elisabeth. A Cord of Three Strands explores themes of love, faith, family, and the historical conflict between Pennsylvanians and the Native American tribes. The writing is strong and the plot so skillfully handled that it feels real; emotions are well captured, conflict deftly written at all levels, and the characters so richly developed that readers can easily relate to them. A compelling story with unforgettable characters.