In their novel, Against the Wind, Bodie and Brock Thoene focus on Elisa Murphy’s plight to survive the Nazi purge of Jews. A Jew by nationality but a Christian by choice, Elisa is met with an evil determined to destroy her. Despite these attempts, she chooses to seek God’s faithfulness as her source of hope and strength.
Elisa Lindheim Murphy introduces herself by writing her last will and testament. Her ship to America has been torpedoed by German U-boats. Now she and several other passengers must survive the next several weeks on a lifeboat. Elisa reflects on the events that have brought her to this point. She is a survivor of both the Nazi campaign to exterminate Jews and the German air raids in London. Now faced with another life threatening ordeal, Elisa must continue to wait on the Lord’s goodness amongst fear, pain, and chaos.
Elisa’s story is revealed through flashbacks from her journal in 1937 and her time in London. Her relationship with loved ones is the center of Elisa’s story. Her world revolves around her husband, children, relatives, and friends. The authors especially highlight the relationship between Elisa and her husband John. He forever remains her guardian and comforter despite her doubts and fears.
Elisa is a woman of “strong tea,” as her husband puts it. Because of her faith and genealogy, her will is constantly put to the test. Instead of cursing God, she searches for his goodness amidst trauma. When Elisa’s boat to America begins to sink, she goes to help the other passengers who are injured or trapped. This scene is an excellent testament to Elisa’s character. Instead of falling to fear, she relies on the promises of scripture as her strength. Elisa is a mother at heart. After the boat sinks, she spends her time nurturing the children on the raft. Elisa is portrayed as a woman whose love and dedication outshine all circumstances.
Though Elisa is not perfect, she sets the example of what it looks like to trust the Lord through all seasons. The authors’ portrayal of Elisa is a reflection of how Christians should react during hardships. Despite the darkness that closes in, Elisa’s story testifies to God’s faithfulness. One Scripture verse Elisa reflects on is Isaiah 43:2. It states “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” This verse portrays the heart of her story and her assurance of a God who cares.
I recommend this book to women who are young adults or older. – Amanda Push, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
As Nazi forces tighten their net of evil over Europe in 1940, famed Jewish concert violist Elisa Lindheim Murphy escapes from Vienna to England. But both Elisa and her American newsman husband, John Murphy, are convinced that nowhere in Europe is safe from Hitler’s seemingly unstoppable forces.
As Nazi U-boats patrol and sink Allied vessels in the North Atlantic, Elisa makes a desperate but brave decision—to accompany Jewish refugee children on a civilian transport through treacherous seas to seek asylum in America. At least there, in the land of freedom, the ragged remnant of the Jewish people can live on in peace and safety—or so she hopes. But as German torpedoes streak toward the refugee ship, Elisa will face the greatest trial of her life….