Book Review: On This Foundation

8 Jan

When news that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire, Nehemiah, Jewish cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, seeks God’s guidance. After fasting and prayer, he’s given leave to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the city wall, not anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.

The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and halt the work. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.

Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is a powerful exploration of faith in the midst of oppression, and hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.


Lynn Austin is the author of many Christian fiction novels and holds the record for most Christy Awards won: eight. One of her books, Hidden Places was turned into a Hallmark Channel movie. She and her husband have three children and live in the Chicago area.


My Impressions:

On This Foundation, the third and concluding novel in Lynn Austin’s Restoration Chronicles, has been on my shelf way too long. I read the first two books, Return to Me and Keepers of The Covenant, in quick succession. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read this wonderful novel? I can only plead ignorance — ignorance to how great this thoroughly researched and beautifully constructed book is. I expect writing Biblical fiction can be a daunting task, but Austin makes it look effortless. From the opening page to the last sentence, I devoured this book. It gets a highly recommended rating from me!

On This Foundation tells the story of Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who takes on the challenge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He is heartbroken by the state of his nation and the city that houses the worship center of the Almighty One. His determination to glorify God fuels the project threatened by obstacles from without and within Jerusalem.

Because On This Foundation is a re-telling of a Biblical story, it had to be accurate. As I read, I referred to the Biblical record to ensure that Austin had her facts straight. She did! The novel also did what all great Christian fiction should do — it pointed me to what God had to say on the matter. Nehemiah is believably written. He is an heroic figure, but has flaws common to all men. That’s important to portray, since God always chooses regular people to achieve his goals. I liked that Austin had Nehemiah struggle with trusting God and focusing on His goals. There are two other storylines that added depth to the story. Austin’s use of women characters makes the novel real and relatable. Trust in God is a major theme for these characters as well. As one character puts it — “All our lives, we’ve believed that Abba’s decisions were for our own good. We have to trust our heavenly Father the same way. Everything He does is for our good and for His purposes, even if we don’t understand it.” Prayer also plays a significant role in the life of the characters, and they have the same doubts and fears as the modern-day reader. Although On This Foundation takes place in 445 BC, its message is spot-on for contemporary readers.

On This Foundation is part of a series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. I am using it in my Faith And Fiction Bible study later this month and am looking forward to its being a great compliment to our Bible study.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

One Response to “Book Review: On This Foundation”


  1. February’s Book Club Selections | By The Book - February 1, 2018

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