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Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite
I really enjoyed this book. I was attracted to Children of Covenant by Fred Howard by the brief description of the story, but I was still surprised at the depth of the contents. A Muslim man, Ismael Hagarson, is refused permission to buy a building for conversion into a mosque in a small American town in the Bible Belt. The owner of the building is found hanged and Ismael is suspected of the murder and arrested. There are further doubts about him from the downloads on his computer - accessing terrorists sites he’d researched for his lectures in political science which he teaches at the local college. Ike Benheart is the pastor who runs the Unitarian Church, having broken away from his earlier congregation due to his beliefs that homosexuals should be granted the same rights as heterosexuals within the church. As a result of his more modern way of thinking, he has become an outcast in the town. He befriends Ismael, although their beliefs are radically different, or so they think. The end of the book reveals a surprise which explains the deep friendship that develops between them.
It’s too easy to think that a book centred on religious beliefs would champion one side or the other, especially in the current world climate. So, in Children of Covenant by Fred Howard, it was a delightful surprise to read and learn about both religious factions. A great deal of research has gone into this book, and the author knows what he is talking about. I was really impressed at how evenly both religions are explained, how both have their place in the world. At no point is one said to be better than the other, and the fairness the author shows made for a very good book. I like books which introduce facts I’d not known before and as it explains that the Christian churches have many different sects, so too does the Muslim faith. It’s quite difficult to write a review for this book without giving away any spoilers, but it was a great read; it reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. It made me think and I’m more than happy to give it five stars.