'A Foretaste Of Heaven' Book Review

Author: Anita Whomes

Picture: Rawpixel

'A Foretaste Of Heaven' Book Review

If you want to draw closer to Jesus, and deepen your understanding of his life and surroundings, then A Foretaste of Heaven is for you, says Anita Whomes.

Written by Brenda Ackroyd from Cheshire, A Foretaste Of Heaven contains stories which take us through major moments in Jesus’ life, from his birth until his Ascension and then beyond, as we follow Mary’s journey until she is reunited with her Son in heaven.

The writer realised that the pattern of her stories were linked with the mysteries contained within the rosary, and so she grouped them in this way. Her stories will certainly revitalise these mysteries and encourage newcomers to dip in. Characters will spring to life and emotions are sensitively presented, as the drama of Jesus life unfolds.

A New Perspective

In the first stories, based on the Joyful Mysteries, there are few major characters, but their thoughts and emotions are explored and our understanding of situations is expanded by skilful use of dialogue. We also travel into a different landscape with trees “reddened by pomegranates” and even enter into Elizabeth’s garden. There is a surprise narrator in some of these stories which gives a new perspective.

In the stories around the Luminous Mysteries stories, we find John the Baptist and the disciple John both ecstatic. John the Baptist sees the dove, the Holy Spirit, descending first as “white blazing shape” then flames. John, the disciple, seeing Jesus transformed, hears God’s voice “like a song in my heart.” There are also two very interesting stories told by characters who are barely mentioned in the Scriptures. A major event is seen from a surprising, even shocking, viewpoint.

The Sorrowful Mystery stories are deeply moving. In the first, we see Jesus alone, in Gethsemene, surrounded by watching trees and harsh rocky terrain. There is silence. The only spoken words are at the end: “The hour is at hand.” Jesus’ thoughts and pleading with his Father are explored sensitively. The emotion builds, and the last two stories again employ a narrator who is either imagined or mentioned peripherally in the Bible, again giving a unique view of these mysteries.


'You Will Not Be Unmoved'

Brenda Ackroyd tells us that the last stories grouped around the Glorious Mysteries were the most difficult to write, taking us outside all human experience. She prayed constantly and asked for assistance. She felt Our Lady coming to her aid and these remarkable stories show that she received this help. There is despair, there is drama and, finally, there is joy-both for the disciples and for Mary, reunited with Joseph and her Son in heaven.

You will not come to the end of all these stories unmoved. You will go on an emotional journey through new landscapes, meeting new people and your attitude to those you know will be enhanced. Brenda Ackroyd describes the Rosary Mysteries as the “greatest jewels” in the “box of treasures" containing the teachings and stories of the New Testament. 

This book is, in itself, a little treasure.

  • A Foretaste Of Heaven can be purchased here

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