No Greater Love (Extreme Devotion Series)
By Kathi Macias
Sometimes I just want a good story. One that draws me in, keeps me turning pages, makes me forget my own crazy life for a few hours, and especially one that takes me far, far away . . . to a place I’ve never been, but care about.
Kathi Macias delivered all of the above in her just-released novel, No Greater Love. She also plucked one of my heartstrings in her story of the clash of cultures in South Africa and the fight to end apartheid. Ever since reading James Michener’s The Covenant, I’ve been drawn to stories centered on that theme.
No Greater Love’s cover promises a story of “forbidden romance” and an “unlikely martyr.” For me, the setting in South Africa offered that plot on a silver platter. As soon as we meet Andrew, the son of the Afrikaner landowner, and Chioma, the coloured (sic) teenage housemaid, the die is cast. Knowing how hot and high tempers and tensions can run in these situations, I wasn’t surprised by the way the story unfolded in the first half of the book. What I didn’t see coming, however, was how the prejudices and evils surrounding the ideology of apartheid would be redeemed. Actually, I was rooting for a different ending, but Kathi gives us the only one that really makes sense—the one that works. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I found myself completely caught up in the powerful scenes featuring Themba and his band of rebels. Lots of great conflict going on there—power struggles between good and evil, love and hate, survival and sacrifice. I also really appreciated the natural way Kathi included a strong faith message. Some Christian fiction feels like the gospel is just thrown in—but in this story, it is a part of the lives of the characters. As their trials increase, they grow in their faith. Redemption comes through revelation, just as it does for the reader.
I would especially recommend this book to home schooling families as an introduction to the genre of historical fiction and the subject of apartheid. It is certainly appropriate for middle-grade and YA readers. Although promoted as a romance, the romantic elements are tasteful, and in reality, the story goes much deeper than what one would expect in that genre.