Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hidden Rainbow by Christmas Carol Kaufman

Originally published in 1957, this book could easily be counted as a classic. Christmas Carol Kaufman (yes, that was her real name) was a prolific Christian author in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, and I think Hidden Rainbow is her best work.

The story is set in the beautiful Yugoslavian countryside, about 1900. John and Anna Olesh, a newly married peasant couple, have lived their whole lives in the little village of Miletinac under the authority of the Roman Catholic church. Hoping to get some economic opportunity elsewhere, John takes a trip to America despite the villagers' disapproval. When he returns, no wealthier than before he left, the little family is struck by trouble. John and Anna's three-year-old daughter, Mary, falls and splits her kneecap, and no one in the village (not even the witch doctor) can help her. In the middle of all this, a traveling Protestant minister, Mr. Lutz, visits the village. John and Anna are not sure whether to be friendly to this seemingly harmless man, or to remember the Catholic church's warnings against Protestant heresies. They hesistantly give Mr. Lutz a meal, but refuse to accept one of his New Testaments--that is going too far.

Hoping to find a cure for Mary's knee, John sets off for America again. While he is gone, Anna succumbs to curiosity and the need for some answers, and she accepts a New Testament from Mr. Lutz. But the Catholic church at that time forbade the common people to read or even handle God's Word. Should Anna and John keep the book hidden and read it secretly, hoping to discover the truth, or should she burn it? Will the priest find out? And is the mysterious little book worth going against everything John and Anna have been taught?

Hidden Rainbow is a thought-provoking, sad, joyful, exciting, and poignant look at the power of God in two people's lives. Best of all, the story is based on the lives of real people. I would give it ten stars out of ten!

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