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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Romance.
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...
Published on April 27, 2004 by tvtv3

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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre historical fiction
I was looking for historical detail, for more of a feeling for the particular period described in the book, and fewer religious overtones, so this book was a disappointment for me. I also found the author's writing style too simplistic, and her characters mostly one-dimensional. It was an interesting idea, just not a well-executed one.
Published on January 26, 2006 by B. Taylor


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Romance., April 27, 2004
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tvtv3 "tvtv3" (Sorento, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (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.
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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
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (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.
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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
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, well researched story!, November 8, 2004
By 
Debbie (Harrison, AR United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (Paperback)
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.
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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 (Grand Rapids, Michigan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the heavens before, December 5, 2006
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (Paperback)
"...Annah lowered her head, crying silently. But even in her sorrow, she felt reassured. For beneath these new heavens and on this new earth, only the presence of the Most High had not changed. She could actually sense Him; He was as she remembered Him from the earth before..."

Excerpt from The Heavens Before

It is a time of violence and hatred, lust and greed, justice and destruction. However, one man has found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and Annah longs to be a part of his family. God has chosen to take Annah out of the violent environment in which she lives and count her as one of the few that find refuge on the ark.

Is it true what Noah says? Will the Most High really destroy all the earth with a great flood? Annah chooses to believe and thus becomes part of the lineage of Christ. The Heavens Before is the retelling of the story of Noah and his ark. Read this book and learn of God's nature of utmost love and complete intolerance for wickedness and sin.

You'll be inspired to know Him more personally and you'll come to love Annah with all her faults. Kacy Barnett-Gramckow vividly depicts how life must have been before the Great Flood. She has stayed true to the Scriptural account of the story and at the same time, brought it to life for her readers.

The Heavens Before is a beautiful story of redemption and one that should be read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story, February 11, 2006
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (Paperback)
Annah was only a child when she saw her older brother Yerakh kill their father. Yerakh threatened Annah, warning her not to talk. Afraid she would be killed if she said anything, she remained silent for twenty-five years. After a while her family and the villagers think she can't talk, that she is mindless, less than an animal, a nothing.

Then one day Annah met Seth, middle son of Noakh and realized the language of love doesn't require words.

Noakh and his family believe in the Most High and for years have been building a huge ark. They also believe one day the Most High will send a flood that will destroy every living thing on earth. The villagers think they are insane.

When Shem offers 500 of his finest animals and half of his grain, already threshed, for Annah, Yerakh thinks it is good to be rid of the worthless one. Safe in the lodge of Noakh, cared for by her new family and the beloved of her new husband, Annah speaks again. The old Annah, the worthless one, doesnt exist any more. She is now Annah-who-is-not-Annah in the eyes of her family. They plan to kill her, but before Yerakh can carry out his murderous plan, the earth breaks open, the waters rush in to cover the earth and everything and everyone not in the ark is destroyed, just as the Most High promised. Only Noakh, his wife, his three sons and their wives survive.

The Heavens Before is an intriguing story of the way the world was before the Geat Flood. The strongly developed characters come alive on the page and Annah will capture your heart. I finished this book hungry for more and immediately went searching for He Who Lifts the Skies and A Crown in the Stars, books two and three of the Genesis Trilogy.

It's a red letter day when I discover a new author and Kacy Barnett Gramckow ranks right up there as one of my favorites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healing Rain, December 5, 2012
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The Heaven's before is one of my favorite books. Barnett-Gramkow weaves a masterful tapestry in her first book in the Genesis Trilogy. The story of Annah is gripping and her journey to loving God is heartfelt. A human! ... a woman! ... a nothing! That was how Annah saw herself before she found God, before she joined the family of Noakh by marrying Shem. Accordingly nearly the first 1/3 of the story involves Annah's struggles to realize she is more than just a human, a woman, a nothing. To learn that to God she is everything and dearly beloved.

Annah's family, and the village in which she is a part was small, however even in this small snippet of the world before the flood, we see God's rationale for the Ark. Barnett-Gramckow creates a colorful cast of characters to surround Annah, from the loving Naomi, Noakh, Khawm, Shem, and Yapheth to the harsh and cruel Yerakh, Haburah, Ayalah, and Naham. In my eyes, a good Biblical Fiction novel is defined by the characters that breathe life into the story. There is no shortage of characters in the Heaven's Before upon which to gave perspective to the period before the flood. The characters, interactions, and settings within "The Heaven's Before" have turned a short story in the Bible into a wonderfully alive tale.

I am more than happy to give this novel 5/5 stars. I have read this book several times and it never grows old, I always seem to catch something new. If you've not read this, I highly urge you to read The Heaven's Before as well as He who Lifts the Skies and A Crown in the Stars, the remaining two books in the Genesis Trilogy, you will not regret it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author writes well and tells a good story!, September 6, 2004
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (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.

--- reviewed by Ginny Sutton for Christian Bookshelf
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The story will linger in your mind, November 28, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) (Paperback)
Kacy Barnett-Gramkow brings earth in the days of Noakh to mesmerizing life in The Heavens Before, first in the Genesis Trilogy. It's a story so compelling it continues to linger in my mind even now, days after I finished reading it.

After witnessing her father's brutal death at the hands of her greedy older brother almost twenty-five years before, Annah has lived in silence. She is afraid to speak because of the retaliation it might bring. Instead, she hides behind a veil she has woven, protecting herself from other people, most who think she is mad. The horror and evil of a society where there is no accountability for right and wrong, that considers the Most High only a myth, is revealed with powerful poignancy through Annah's eyes.

Annah has no love or human kindness in her life--until the day when she is tempted to throw herself into the river and end her pain. However, when she hears the splash of a pebble, the hypnotic hold of the river is broken and she looks up to see a young man on the other side, his face full of love and concern. She knows without words that this man would give his life for her, a total stranger to him. This first meeting with Shem, Noakh's second son, will change Annah's life forever.

This book reveals deeper truths the more it is pondered. Through the captivating love story between Annah and Shem, we also see a beautiful foreshadowing of Christ's love for his bride.

I read so much fiction that I normally pass on books to friends who are readers once I have finished them. However, while I will most certainly buy extra copies of this book to give away as gifts, I am keeping my copy. It is one of those rare books that can be read over and over, enjoyed even more each time.

The remaining two books in the series are He Who Lifts the Skies and A Crown in the Stars, both of which I plan to read very soon!

Armchair Interviews says: A book well worth your time!
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The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy)
The Heavens Before (Genesis Trilogy) by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow (Paperback - January 1, 2004)
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