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Jo Ann Pevoto, Professor Emeritus, College of the Mainland; former co-editor Poetry Texas, the Sidewinder, and Hurakan:
Fallen, the prequel to Melinda Inman’s novel Refuge, goes back to the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. In the garden, Adam names the living creatures and finds delight when his companion Eve is made from his rib. Joy rings through each passage, each word. Inman also brings alive Lucifer and shows his rage that the earth is not his to rule. Observing God’s love for the “insignificant humans,” Lucifer determines he will attack God by destroying them. After their fall and loss of Eden, the tone of the book changes when Adam and Eve must fight their own sinful natures while they work to survive. The reader feels the truth in their emotional, physical, and mental struggles as they learn to cope in their new environment. To their surprise, Yahweh is present when they approach Him in prayers and still demonstrates His love for them.
This book blends what we learn from the Bible with all the details that Inman imagines about the couple’s daily existence. It concludes with the fulfillment of the promise that sustains them in this new environment. The book is a triumph both in scholarship (It is well researched) and in its demonstration of God’s grace for those who choose to turn to Him after they realize their fallen state.
Katie Andraski, Writer, Retired Professor, former Publicist:
Melinda Inman tackled a quite a challenge when she wrote Fallen: A Biblical Story of Good and Evil. She has taken her place alongside John Milton with his Paradise Lost and C.S. Lewis’ with his Perelandra.
Inman has written her vision of Paradise in such a way her reader is able to imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve to live in the Garden, in perfect communion with God, animals, and the world. She depicts how lonely Adam was until he met the woman God made for him, and she shows us what joy looks like. The Garden itself becomes a character we enjoy imagining. We also get a glimpse into how deeply Lucifer hates people and God.
Inman has managed to take a too familiar story and make it fresh. Fallen invites the reader to think about what life might have been like before the fall and right afterwards. She vividly shows the heartbreak of losing Eden and close relationship with God right after eating that fruit. The first humans’ shame runs deep and awful, but so does God’s kindness. We see how this first couple struggles to grow their own food, pulling thistles without gloves. Even though Adam and Eve betray God and each other, the novel leaves the reader hoping for mankind. Not only did Fallen make me think, I also looked forward to reading it every evening. I highly recommend Fallen as a great, entertaining read.
“After reading Refuge last year I was anxiously awaiting Melinda’s next fiction release. Fallen did not disappoint. Melinda has a fabulous ability to take you “on location” with her writing, even with this story that most know well. Clearly she spends time researching and studying before just tossing words on paper. Fallen became reality. The epiphanies, the struggle, the communication trials between the characters were perfectly on point. Fallen is not another ‘old story’ retold, it’s a new way of viewing details we now pass over in haste.”
“Fallen is a poignant love story of the first two humans, woven alongside the glorious story of love and hope that is offered to all humans by their Creator. The perfection of creation in the Garden of Eden is starkly contrasted with the world outside the Garden after the fall. The author took a story that was very familiar to me, and added new depth and meaning, allowing me to understand my own fallen and sinful nature more clearly. Also highlighted is the immense love God has for us, and the lengths to which He is prepared to go to show us His love.”
Barb Best, Avid Reader, Lover of Words:
“After reading Melinda Inman’s first novel, Refuge, I anxiously awaited the release of Fallen. I was anxious as in anticipation and anxious as in fearful. I’d enjoyed Refuge so much I was afraid I’d be disappointed with Fallen. I need not have worried. Though a ‘prequel’ of sorts, Fallen continues what Refuge began – encouraging readers in their relationship with God by displaying historical characters in their personal cycle of sin, repentance and reconciliation with their faithful and loving God. I approach speculative Christian fiction with caution; concerned readers might mix fact and fiction, leading them on an unbiblical tangent. Inman’s plot carefully navigates this. She keeps her storyline close to the biblical account, generally limiting speculation to characters’ thoughts and feelings about events rather than adding, subtracting or embellishing biblical history. At times I found the dialogue stilted and overly formal. However, considering the characters are the first to ever engage in conversation, the newness of speaking would be awkward. I don’t know if this was deliberate on the author’s part or if it is a weakness in her writing, but it did not affect my enjoyment of her work. Her descriptions of Eden are lush and sensual, deftly capturing the newness and wonder of experiencing all of creation through the eyes of the first human beings. And from personal experience, I can attest Inman accurately describes the dark, raw emptiness of separation from our Creator. As was the case with Fallen, Refuge is more than entertainment; this novel will stimulate readers spiritually, giving them insight in to the character of God, His justice and love for His people.”
Diane Prieur, Writer:
“Captivating! Fallen is the epic and tragic tale of two young lovers who literally have everything they could ever want or imagine but yearn for more and lose it all. Melinda’s masterful story-telling weaves a fluid narrative of the first man and woman that provides creative insight about what it means to be broken and brought back to peace with themselves, one another and God. The characters are portrayed with vivid detail striking at the core of who we are as human beings and the image bearers of God. It’s a powerful and heart-warming glimpse of two individuals who enjoy intimacy with the Creator, yet must confront the driving force behind their struggles to overcome anger, pride and hard-hearted selfishness. And the battle still rages!
“Fallen compels the reader to explore the creativity of God and the wonderful depths of His love and compassion. Thought- provoking discussion questions at the back of the book provide inspiration for group interaction. Fallen offers a fascinating peak at the corruption in the Garden. Familiar characters are crafted from a fresh and insightful perspective. Page by page, the portrayal invites you in – with incredible spiritual impact.”
“Fallen is a stunning depiction of the enduring story of Earth’s first inhabitants. Powerfully evocative, it stirs the emotions and captivates the mind while filling in the details of what Adam and Eve may have experienced from Creation through the Fall and beyond. Fact and carefully woven fiction intermingle in this story of God’s redemptive plan for mankind that has been at work since the beginning.”
“What in the world is wrong with people? Why do we act the way we do? Fallen is an unusual book because it answers so many questions about human behavior. Melinda Inman’s book is a beautiful story based upon the Bible, the most authenticated book in existence. It brings to life and fleshes out those few verses in Genesis and gives us such an amazing glimpse of Eden that we long for the New Heaven and the New Earth when God restores what was lost. What an enjoyable read about those two people who are the ancestors of everyone on the face of the earth!”
Stacey Thureen, Published Writer and Speaker:
“Fallen is a well-researched fictional account based on the scriptures, and it includes an in-depth Bible study. Just like its sequel, Refuge, this novel presents many foundational truths regarding salvation and redemption. It contains descriptive storytelling, with great character development. Fallen, just like Refuge, will challenge the reader to think authentically about their faith.”
Kim Fisch, Writer:
“I love the author’s fresh perspective on humanity’s first family and how she kept weaving in the truth of God’s unconditional love for all of us, even in our fallen state. Her sparkling description gives us insight into the beauty of our unsullied world at the dawn of Creation.
“In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve destroyed their perfect harmony with God when they believed the lie that God’s goodness couldn’t possibly be true. We still believe the same lie today and quickly discard, or at the very least, don’t pursue God’s unconditional love for us.
“The author showed that God’s love is a force that is larger than we could ever understand, and she drives home the point that God’s ‘love would cover the mistakes they (Adam and Eve and all mankind) would make in the future as well.’”
Dawn Kinzer, Published Author:
“Many of us have read or heard the story about creation told in the Bible. We know that God created Adam and Eve, that they lived in the Garden of Eden, and that they fell to Satan’s temptation to go against God’s command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“But have you ever thought about what it would actually be like to live as Adam and Eve? What would it feel like to awaken as the first human created? To be told to be fruitful and multiply without any knowledge of how to accomplish that?
“Through story and thoughtful descriptions, Melinda V. Inman takes us into Adam’s and Eve’s minds, hearts, and bodies as they explore the garden, their relationship to God’s creations, their relationship to each other, and even how their bodies function. With beauty and sensitivity, we experience them discovering how wonderful it is to have physical intimacy as God intended.
“We also get a glimpse of how Lucifer’s (Satan’s) ego could have contributed to his rebellion against God, his jealousy of the humans, and his consuming desire to take revenge by enticing man and woman to fall from God’s grace.
“I love it when a book gives me new insight into stories I’ve heard countless times before, and Fallen has done just that. Melinda Inman has brought this story to life for me and made it more real than anything I’ve encountered before. I’m now able to look at Adam and Eve with a different perspective.
“If you enjoy reading biblical fiction, I highly recommend this book.”
Kristin Robinson, Life Coach:
“I loved this book. There were so many things about it that made me go, ‘Of course! That makes sense with everything being brand new,’ or, ‘Wow! I never thought of it like that before!’ It challenged my own responses to God’s care of me and to the guidelines He gives to protect me and make me more like Him. Do I run to Him alone or do I seek to solve things in my own wisdom or out of a heart of fear and distrust? It also reassured me of His perfect plan in light of my broken nature. I cannot surprise Him or screw up too much for Him to withhold His grace, mercy, and love from me. Adam and Eve looked forward in hope for the promise as I look back on God’s promise kept. Your perspective will be blown, your heart will be challenged, and your hope in God’s faithfulness to pursue relationship with lost sinners will grow immensely. I cannot wait to share it with friends and family!”
Patricia Durgin, The Christian Message Coach:
“It seemed slow until…I realized that Creation itself was one of the five main characters. In fact, Melinda Inman writes more words, collectively, about Creation than any of the other four characters: God, Lucifer, Adam and Eve. Her imaginative word-pictures illustrate God’s creativity in action, as she describes what the Garden of Eden might have looked like in exquisite detail.
“Don’t be confused; this is not a first-person account. The author never implies she received special knowledge from God to write this book. It’s drawn from her imagination—a gift God bestows to each of us. Melinda has allowed Him to refine hers, and we are the beneficiaries.
“Neither is it a theological textbook, written as the definitive answer to questions no human can answer. It’s a fictional tale that we know the ending to before we begin; yet it draws us in, anyway. The author takes us further back than time itself, to when Lucifer was a beautiful angel, and before God created this sphere called earth.
“She reveals God’s passionate love for humanity (meaning you and me). His warmth wafts up from the pages. His ability to see into the future and plan ahead of time for our provision—no matter our circumstances, no matter our needs—thrills.
“She exposes Lucifer’s motives for humanity. He is not a poor imitation of God; instead, he seeks to annihilate us, one by one or in a group. We must be ever watchful.
“Her interpretation of marriage between two perfect people makes me yearn for what could have been—and I have a solid, wonderful marriage. If you’ve never experienced healthy love, you’ll gain valuable insights into what such a relationship can look like.
“You will appreciate God more, and be more cognizant of your spiritual enemy, after reading this book. It’s much more than a work of fiction.
“You can’t skim this one!”
Edina Mann, Writer:
“Wow! Add this one to your list of books to read for 2016! The Bible contains the history of man and creation…no pictures included. Fallen feeds the imagination bringing to life the words of the Bible and the story of creation and man’s fall that we know so well! The author’s words painted pictures in my mind that truly moved me. As a parent, I understand the love one has for their child. The heart-swelling, gut-wrenching emotions that come into play with my son’s obedience and disobedience. As I read Fallen, I felt an invigorating warmth from the knowledge that God’s love for His children, for me, is no different. He set the example for me. God is the epitome of the perfect parent balancing love, mercy, and discipline. Fallen reminds us that disobedience produces consequences and obedience brings a peace and security only the paternal love of God can provide.”