Literary/ Historical Fiction
Paperback / 5.5″ x 8.5″ / 192 pp.
The bent-over woman, according to Luke 13, could not look upward at all. A “spirit of infirmity” had kept her bound for eighteen long years, looking downward. Yet Jesus called this unnamed woman a “daughter of Abraham,” indicating her faith. How could this broken woman have such circumstance-defying faith?
In this fictional rendering of the story, the young wife and mother Joakima, experiences tragedy, loss, and shame. Her suffering is intensified by the crushing weight of religious regulations and the chafing yoke of Roman occupation.
But during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a seed of hope is planted deep within Joakima’s heart through the compassion of an extraordinary youth. Gradually, the words of the prophet Isaiah come alive to her. The eyes of compassion and the words of deliverance even visit her dreams until, in an encounter that changes her life forever, she comes face to face with Love himself.
In this novel, Catherine Lawton delves into the pathos of the era between the Old and New Testaments. She explores the psychological, spiritual, and relational conflicts suggested in chapter 13 of Luke. The threads woven throughout the story—of longings, conflicts, false promises and real hopes—come together in the climax in surprising ways.
“Very impressive and easily readable … compelling from its opening passage.” –The Boox Review
“I recommend this gripping story to anyone who loves the Bible and enjoys having its stories come alive. The characters are portrayed in a very believable way. Having lived in Israel for over 30 years, I can attest to the accuracy of the author’s descriptions in terms of geography, customs, etc. I hope that Lawton will write more books along this line.” −Judith Galblum Pex, author of Walk the Land and Come, Stay, Celebrate!
“I was fascinated.” −Eva Marie Everson, author of Reflections of God’s Holy Land and Slow Moon Rising
“Wow! What a great book. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t put it down. The next time I read about this miracle in the Gospels, I will think of this women through the eyes of Lawton’s novel. I am a Jewish believer and as amazed at how accurately she portrayed our Jewish customs and Israel! Nice job. Great book.” −Shirley Silver
“Building upon the Biblical narrative, Catherine weaves a riveting fictional account of Joakima, a contented young wife in a town near the Jordan River. Joakima’s world revolves around her God, her husband, and her infant son. Suddenly, in the very shadow of the Temple, disaster strikes. Joakima’s simple, happy life is tragically shattered. Grief-stricken and grotesquely crippled, she is left alone to care for her infant son. Throughout the bitter nightmare of pain-filled days and sleepless nights, Joakima clings to a slender thread of hope … the stirring words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.’ And then one day, Joakima comes face to face with Jesus, and is forever changed. Face to Face is a story that will stay with you long after the last page is read.” − Anne M. Faidley, Hope Chest Magazine
“Well-written—pulls you in … I felt as if I was in the mind of Joakima. I devoured each word.” –Bridgette Moore, E-pinions.com
“I have been accustomed to getting ‘into’ the minds of Bible characters, but I was completely overwhelmed at the story of Joakima. Lawton gently opens up the mind and heart of this woman who had lost almost everything…. By the time she finally and quite dramatically met Jesus the Christ, and rose up before Him, face to face, I found myself unable to hold back the tears of joy. In my quiet living room, thousands of years after that day and far from the crowd of people gathered in the synagogue, I praised God … and was immediately drawn into a time of meeting Him face to face myself.” −Susan Elaine Jenkins, author of Scandalon