“Burnt Offering” is the third book in Mary Mueller’s “Ryersen Trilogy.” In many ways this series illustrates the altering of the course of an entire family for generations to come. Like a mighty ship changing the course of a life takes time and careful maneuvering and affects what is ahead in not only that life, but those that come after.
The first book, “The Redemption of Matthew Ryersen” shows a man walking away from the material goods of past generations. Matthew is completely on his own, his parents and grandparents are now dead, all their possessions are forfeit. It is time to go forward with a clean slate, but imprinted on his spirit is the history of alcoholism, abuse and neglect through the generations of his family. Their ghosts haunt him and he is doomed to repeat this cycle. In fact, contrary to what he might think, we see that he has already begun to perpetuate these patterns when his drug addicted ex-girlfriend dumps the son he never wanted on his doorstep. Through the love of a family that not only hired Matthew to work on their farm, but also took him in as one of their own, Matthew eventually took to his parental role and grew to love his son, Will, as a father should. The trials the boy had suffered from not being wanted for a significant part of his childhood took its toll. We see this in the second book, “Mirror Images.”
Fair warning, these trials faced in “Mirror Images” result in a very dark story. Reminiscent of a John Steinbeck book, it is well written and flows very well, but leaves you with a sense of futility. Read “Mirror Images,” as it is necessary to understand and fully appreciate book three, “Burnt Offering,” and trust me, you do not want to miss this book. In “Burnt Offering” Mary Mueller pays off the entire series in a most satisfying manner. Through these books, Mueller shows how God can turn the destiny of not just one life, but an entire family line around in one generation, if you are willing to let him.
My advice, read all three books, but be sure to have book three in hand before you finish book two, because you will not want to leave the series hanging there even for a little while.