Autobiographies are one of a few genres of books with which I struggle. I usually bail out before the 10% sample is finished. So it was with hesitation that I submitted my request to review Stranger No More but I had to know more about Annahita’s journey, her country but mostly her conversion to Christianity. I am so grateful I did, this book is powerful and moving! I didn’t notice the first 30% fly past and I read the entire book in one afternoon, I just had to find out what happened to everyone…the good people and the bad alike!
Annahita has endured more than can be summarised in a review…it really does take a book. From the horrors of Iran to prison in Turkey to more violence in Denmark and Sweden, Annahita survives a barrage that seems to never cease! In the midst of the pain and confusion, a ray of hope appears in the form of Christianity. The last part of the book explains more about the faith and its ability to draw others in just from the way in which we live. It’s a great reminder to live out my faith! Annahita refers to Ruth, Joseph and Job as biblical people from which we can draw the strength to endure knowing good will come. Her framing of the suffering she experienced in this way is inspiring as is her sheer will to go on. The sensitive reader (a.k.a. me!) will be reassured to know that whilst what Annahita went through is severe and traumatic, it isn’t described in horrific terms. She keeps to the outline and leaves the reader empathetic but not destroyed. A five out of five for this extraordinary book!
From the back cover:
Annahita Parsan was born into a Muslim family in Iran and grew up with the simple hope of one day finding a good husband, having children, and doing some good in the world. Married and a mother before she turned eighteen, Annahita found herself unexpectedly widowed and trapped for years in an abusive second marriage that she later fled—discovering instead a God who might love her.
Stranger No More is the remarkable true story of Annahita’s path from oppression to the life-changing hope of Jesus. Fleeing Iran across the mountains into Turkey, she spent months in the terrifying Agri prison before a miraculous release and flight to Europe, where she and her two children knelt in a church and prayed, “God, from this day on we are Christians.”
Filled with unthinkable circumstances, miraculous rescues, and the quietly constant voice of Jesus, Stranger No More leads readers deep into the heart of God and draws them toward the same call that Annahita heeds today: using her past to save others from theirs. As the leader of two congregations in Sweden, Annahita has baptized hundreds of former Muslims since her own conversion, has seen firsthand the powerful ways God is at work among those who have left Islam behind, and is reminded every day that saying yes to God is always worth the risk.
With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the advanced copy