Book Review: In the Beginning By Abby L. Vandiver

18144641***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

In 1997, Biblical Archaeologist Justin Dickerson is unhappy with her life in general and has decided to run away from her problems. Intervening, her mentor asks that she go with him to the Fifty Year Jubilee commemorating the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. There she finds that in 1949 Jerusalem some of the 2,000 year old manuscripts, hidden in clay pots in the caves of Qumran, may have been destroyed.

Justin, obsessed with this revelation, is determined to get to the bottom of the deceit. Uncontrollable emotion takes hold of her, and family and faith help guide her as she unfolds the truth of Earth’s ancient mysteries discovering what really happened In the Beginning…

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to follow because each chapter was labelled with a place and date. The story switched from the 1940’s to the 1990’s often. It was written through Archaeologist Justin’s first person point-of-view. She was depressed but stayed focused on her job. I admired that she kept moving–some people completely shut down emotionally. Her family was a trip. I loved their back and forth with teasing each other.

Dr. Sabir had interpreted some manuscripts that described creation of man on Earth by man himself. Since the editor-in-chief Samuel Yeoman wanted to hide the book’s secrets, he did whatever necessary. Flash forward to the 1990’s. Justin and her team attended a conference to talk about those manuscripts.

My favorite lines: 1) “Mase,” he continued, “do you know your wife is strange? I mean like borderline mental?” 2) “I’m so sad. I hate my life and I don’t know why.”

I loved the plot. Justin’s boss told her to stop obsessing over the manuscripts, so she asked her brothers and sisters to help her discover the secret. They embarked on a journey to find the hidden manuscripts, then she had the task of having to re-interpret them. It helped that Justin had a photogenic memory. Her life was in danger because an organization went through great lengths to keep the secret hidden. As a reader, I’m all for strong females. I loved that Justin fought for the truth. That she wasn’t swayed to keep her curiosity at bay. I also loved that she was the ringleader in the adventures of solving the mystery.

I wish the story could’ve played out instead of everything being explained to the readers. It could have had more tension and suspense that way.

I have an idiosyncratic personality, so my favorite part of the book was the epilogue. I’m all for conspiracy theories. They’re always fun to dwell over. As a reader, I got a sense that Justin was based off the author’s real life. I wondered if those manuscripts were really real or just an exaggerated version of the truth for entertainment purposes. Either way, it was a great book.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


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