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The Heavens Before [Paperback]

Kacy Barnett-Gramckow
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2004 Genesis Trilogy (Book 1)
Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she's never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah's courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence -- a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that held me mesmerized Feb. 29 2012
By christianfictionaddiction TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Annah is a young women who lives in the time of Noah, residing among a people who are violent, selfish, having no thoughts for anyone but their own pleasure. She is held in contempt by all, believed to be mindless as she has not spoken since she observed the death of her own father many years before. While down at the riverside, she has a chance encounter with Shem, son of Noah. After she is nearly beaten to death by her brother, Shem rescues her through marriage and brings her to his family. At the prompting of the Most High, Noah brings warning of the coming great flood. The people must choose between evil and good as the day of judgment draws near.

Kacy Barnett-Gramckow has written a powerful novel in The Heavens Before, one that held me completely mesmerized with it's depiction of life before the flood. The details are rich and beautifully fleshed out, the characters larger than life. Annah's story left me breathless with her rise from the ashes of where she suffered so much wrong. It takes a talented author, indeed, who can take a story where everyone knows the ending, and create a novel that holds you in it's grip and takes you on a journey with unexpected twists and turns. God's light shines through this story, and you will leave the pages with a deeper understanding of his love and his grace and the marvel of his ways.

I highly recommend this book and give it a full 5 out of 5 stars. If you have never read this book, you are missing out. This book should be a must for any library.

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Format:Paperback
It is always an exciting thing for me to find a new author that writes well and can tell a good story. That is exactly what I have found in Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, author of "THE GENESIS TRILOGY - THE HEAVENS BEFORE".
This story is about Noah's flood as seen through the eyes of one of his daughters-in-law, Shem's wife, Annah.
The story begins with Annah amoungst her own people, in her own village on this side of the river. Her people are violent, self-centered, hateful people who are filled with greed, envy and strife.
Annah is hated and mocked by all of them who consider her to be the village idiot because she has not spoken for nearly 25 years; ever since she witnessed the murder of her father when she was but 12 years old. She has found that the only way she can cope with her grief, fear and anger is to let them believe what they will. She avoids the company of everyone as much as possible and spends most of her time down by the riverside where she is soothed by the beauty and tranquility of creation.
Finally, though, after years of pent up grief over the loss of her father and the misery inflicted upon her by her people, she decides to fall into the river and allow it to end the futility of her life. But someone on the other side of the river sees her, understands what she is contemplating and is able to wordlessly convince her not to end her own life. This person becomes a point of light in her world of darkness and gives her hope again.
One night, as she secretly follows her sister-in-law through the forest to the hovel of the Nachash and her Whisperers (evil, witchy, serpent worshipers), Annah discovers that the Nachash fears only the Most High, convincing her that the legends of the Most High are true after all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Romance. April 27 2004
By tvtv3
Format:Paperback
I admit that I haven't read a lot of fictional romance books. In fact, I can only think of about three truly fictional romances that I have ever read in my entire life: one was secular, one was a Christian romance, and the other one falls somewhere inbetween. I read those books more out of duty and as a way of at least exposing myself to that type of writing. I really have had no intention of reading another fictional romance again, but when I had the opportunity to read THE HEAVENS BEFORE, I figured, "why not". Surprisingly, I was quite impressed with what I read.
The story is a retelling of Noah's Ark, told from the perspective of a young woman named Annah. Annah has not spoken since the murder of her father by her brother several years ago. Since she does not speak, everyone in her village assumes that she is an imbecile and they treat her as such. Annah's life seems miserable and one day she contemplates ending it all by drowing herself in the river. However, she is stopped from doing so by a handsome young man who lives on the other side of the river. From that moment on Annah's life changes forever.
I was struck by the careful use of visual imagery that Barnett-Gramckow uses throughout the book. She uses words to paint colorful pictures that evoke the mood of each scene in the book; for example warm descriptions for joyful places; jagged and harsh descriptions for violent people, places, and events. This is a somewhat unique style of writing and one that I really haven't come across before.
I also enjoyed reading about the story of the flood told from a different perspective. Noah's Ark was always one of my favorite Bible stories growing up (and it still is really) and I thought the author brought an interesting take to the tale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Romance. April 27 2004
By tvtv3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I admit that I haven't read a lot of fictional romance books. In fact, I can only think of about three truly fictional romances that I have ever read in my entire life: one was secular, one was a Christian romance, and the other one falls somewhere inbetween. I read those books more out of duty and as a way of at least exposing myself to that type of writing. I really have had no intention of reading another fictional romance again, but when I had the opportunity to read THE HEAVENS BEFORE, I figured, "why not". Surprisingly, I was quite impressed with what I read.
The story is a retelling of Noah's Ark, told from the perspective of a young woman named Annah. Annah has not spoken since the murder of her father by her brother several years ago. Since she does not speak, everyone in her village assumes that she is an imbecile and they treat her as such. Annah's life seems miserable and one day she contemplates ending it all by drowing herself in the river. However, she is stopped from doing so by a handsome young man who lives on the other side of the river. From that moment on Annah's life changes forever.
I was struck by the careful use of visual imagery that Barnett-Gramckow uses throughout the book. She uses words to paint colorful pictures that evoke the mood of each scene in the book; for example warm descriptions for joyful places; jagged and harsh descriptions for violent people, places, and events. This is a somewhat unique style of writing and one that I really haven't come across before.
I also enjoyed reading about the story of the flood told from a different perspective. Noah's Ark was always one of my favorite Bible stories growing up (and it still is really) and I thought the author brought an interesting take to the tale. People who might not have ever seriously thought about Noah's Ark might actually learn a thing or two by reading this book.
As much as I enjoyed reading THE HEAVENS BEFORE, it still is a fictional romance. Despite the fact that the writing is better than the few romances I have read in the past and that the author brings something original to a very old story, it's still a romance and I'm just not much of a romance reader.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She was a human, a woman, a nothing... July 10 2005
By Rebekah Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Annah was once happy, but everything changed after her father was murdered. She watched as her brother, Yerakh, killed him in anger. Now to keep Yerakh from killing her as well, Annah must shroud herself in silence and assumed mindlessness, doing as she is told by a family that hates her.

However, in a chance encounter, Annah meets Shem, the son of Noahk, and finds his family is completely different from her own. Instead of the hate and treachery she has known, Shem's family loves each other. When Shem asks for her hand in marriage, she believes she has finally found a safe haven.

The Heavens Before was an excellent Flood novel. The believability of the whole story was fascinating. Thoughts on how a preFlood world would be like showed time spent in research of theories and the author's own creativity. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Genesis Trilogy.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting new perspective on an old story. May 27 2004
By Ginny Sutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is always an exciting thing for me to find a new author that writes well and can tell a good story. That is exactly what I have found in Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, author of "THE GENESIS TRILOGY - THE HEAVENS BEFORE".
This story is about Noah's flood as seen through the eyes of one of his daughters-in-law, Shem's wife, Annah.
The story begins with Annah amoungst her own people, in her own village on this side of the river. Her people are violent, self-centered, hateful people who are filled with greed, envy and strife.
Annah is hated and mocked by all of them who consider her to be the village idiot because she has not spoken for nearly 25 years; ever since she witnessed the murder of her father when she was but 12 years old. She has found that the only way she can cope with her grief, fear and anger is to let them believe what they will. She avoids the company of everyone as much as possible and spends most of her time down by the riverside where she is soothed by the beauty and tranquility of creation.
Finally, though, after years of pent up grief over the loss of her father and the misery inflicted upon her by her people, she decides to fall into the river and allow it to end the futility of her life. But someone on the other side of the river sees her, understands what she is contemplating and is able to wordlessly convince her not to end her own life. This person becomes a point of light in her world of darkness and gives her hope again.
One night, as she secretly follows her sister-in-law through the forest to the hovel of the Nachash and her Whisperers (evil, witchy, serpent worshipers), Annah discovers that the Nachash fears only the Most High, convincing her that the legends of the Most High are true after all. She decides that if the Most High is the enemy of the Nachash, then she will believe in and follow Him. As she is discovered and threatened by death, she cries out to the Most High who delivers her from harm and destroys the one out to kill her.
Great evil and violence takes the life of her mother and middle brother and she is beaten, nearly to death, by her father's murderer. As soon as she is able, she runs back to the river to find the one who has been so kind to her. When he sees her condition and the danger she is in, he sets out to free her from her abusers and take her to safety. Thus begins her new life on the other side of the river with Noah and his family.
Ms. Barnett-Gramckow has a wonder talent for painting marvelous imagery with her words. She captivates you with her literary skill right from the start and never disappoints. She brings life and new perspective to one of the Bible's most famous events and makes you long to read more by the time you are done. I can't wait for the 2nd in this series to come out; I am confident it will be equally as uplifting, insightful and entertaining as this wonderful tale has been. I hope you read this book and enjoy it as much as I have.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, well researched story! Nov. 8 2004
By Debbie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have almost given up on fiction retellings of Biblical history as very rarely does an author actually stick to what the Bible states on the subject. Therefore, I was tremendously pleased to read a wonderfully written story about Annah's life (pre-Flood and during the Flood) which also faithfully stuck to the Biblically provided information. This author not only is a talented writer, but she put a lot of time, research, and thought into what the pre-Flood world and the ark would have been like. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...An amazing journey... May 19 2005
By Jack W. Regan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Heavens Before", the first book in the Genesis Trilogy, is the absorbing tale of the world as it existed before the Great Flood of Noakh. Author Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, does an amazing job of portraying the condition of a human race without God.

Events are seen through the eyes of Annah, future wife Shem, son of Noakh. Annah witnesses the violent murder of her father by her brother Yerakh, who threatens her with her life if she ever speaks of it to anyone. So terrified is she of the threat, that she ceases speaking altogether. Her hatred for her brother is so deep that she will not even look him in the eye, for fear he will recognize the hatred and kill her for it.

At last, tired of the continual beatings and abuse, Annah flees to the river, where she contemplates taking her own life. Before she can take the final plunge, she is distracted by a dark-haired young man, who turns out to be Noakh's son, Shem. Eventually, Shem gives Yerakh a dowry for the custody of Annah.

"The Heavens Before" is an amazing journey for any fan of inspirational fiction, taking the reader through the world's most cataclysmic disaster. Kacy Barnett-Gramckow is an engaging writer with a knack for enticing the reader to turn "just one more page." This reviewer gives "The Heavens Before" four out of five stars.
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