I recently read the book Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard and loved it! This is a book report I did on it.
Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard, is the sequel to the allegory Hindsʼ Feet on High Places. With her new “hindsʼ feet,” Grace and Glory leaps easily from the Valley below to the High Places, where the Shepherd teaches her about the different mountain spices and fruits of the Spirit.
The story takes place in the Valley of Humiliation, where Grace and Glory (formerly Much-Afraid), has recently returned from her journey to the High Places. Over the course of the book, the Shepherd takes her to nine different mountains that are parts of the High Places. They include the Mountain of Pomegranates (love), the Mountain of Camphire (joy), the Mountain of Spikenard (peace), the Mountain of Saffron (longsuffering), the Mountain of Calamus (gentleness), the Mountain of Cinnamon (goodness), the Mountain of Frankincense (faith), the Mountain of Myrrh (meekness), and the Mountain of Aloes (self-control). Each mountain offers a different view of the Valley down below and each has a different lesson for Grace and Glory to learn.
The Fearing relatives are living terrible, destructive lives, and the Shepherd along with Grace and Glory, want desperately to help them. Grace and Glory promises to help show her miserable family the Shepherdʼs love, because as He said to her “for they will not come to me on their own.” After each lesson in the High Places, Grace and Glory leap back down to the Valley below to minister to her family. At first, they are not welcoming of the thought of the Shepherd being King over their lives, but they can tell that Grace and Glory had been forever changed. She persists with her kind actions and good example, and one by one, many of the inhabitants of the Valley of Humiliation enter into the Shepherdʼs service. He gives them new names to represent their change in character and attitude.
Grace and Glory: The main character, is the one who influences her Fearing relatives for Christ. She uses her new-found “hindsʼ feet” to leap from the Valley below to the High Places where the Shepherd teaches her about the different mountain spices and the fruits of the Spirit.
The Shepherd: The kind, loving man who rescues the Fearing relatives from themselves.
Mrs. Valiant: Is the courageous friend of so many in the Valley. She is a strong Christian, very motherly and very kind.
Mercy: Is Mrs. Valiantʼs daughter. She is a nurse, and like her mother, want so very much for everyone to experience the Shepherdʼs love for themselves.
Joy and Peace: Are Grace-and-Gloryʼs two companions changed from Sorrow and Suffering. They go everywhere Grace-and-Glory goes.
Gloomy: The daughter of Mrs. Dismal Forebodings marries Sir Coward Fearing only to be left a short while afterwards. While confined to the attic, the Shepherd knocks on the door and asks to come in.
Spiteful: Is Mrs. Dismal Forebodings daughter, and married to Moody. She is given the new name Compassion.
Mrs. Dismal Forebodings: The poor, miserable old lady, who spent all of her time shut up in her cottage, renamed Mrs. Thanksgiving upon entering the Shepherdʼs service.
Old Lord Fearing: Is the cruel, head of the Fearing clan. He lived his entire life only pleasing himself, and sadly, died without knowing the Shepherd.
Pride: Is the husband of Superiority, and is still crippled from the Shepherd throwing him off the cliff. He and his wife lose everything when the bank in the City of Destruction collapses. It is in that moment of terror that they turn to the Shepherd for help.
Superiority: True to her name, she always liked to be superior to everyone else. She married Pride.
Bitterness: Is the husband of Murmuring and they are the proprietors of the village inn in the Valley of Humiliation. He secretly visited with the Shepherd when he came to see Spiteful. He leaves with Him and later on hears that the village inn was destroyed by a fire.
Murmuring: Is the wife of Bitterness and the mom of their three kids. She is disgusted to hear that her husband has been talking with the Shepherd and is worried it will ruin their reputation.
Self-Pity: Is married to Helpless and they have a little boy called “Little Doldrums.” When he is very sick, he asks someone to bring the Shepherd to him so he can talk to Him.
Moody: is married to Spiteful. He was sentenced to a term in prison shortly before Grace-and-Glory returned to the Valley. With Craven Fearʼs help, he enters into the Shepherdʼs service.
Umbrage: Her attitude caused the young Shepherd, Stedfast, to marry her sister instead of her. She marries Resentment, and they live unhappily with their little girl for many years until the Shepherd intervenes. She is renamed Forgiveness.
Resentment: The Fearing relative who marries Umbrage and makes the poor girlʼs life miserable. He decides to let the Shepherd help them begin again.
Craven Fear: The bully who was to marry Grace and Glory, renamed Fearless Witness by the Shepherd.
I loved this book! Probably even more than Hindsʼ Feet on High Places (which is saying a lot). It personified unhappy hearts, minds and temperaments, which was very neat. I really enjoyed thinking over what everything represented, and how it can apply to life today. I wanted to hurry and see what the Shepherd was doing in the lives of the Fearings, but at the same time I didnʼt want it to end! I think it also proves that one person, with the help of God, can change a whole town. I would definitely recommend this book to someone.
Two excerpts from the book:
“ My Lord and King,” said Grace and Glory, “what is true love? How can it be recognized?” “I am love,” said the King very clearly. “If you want to see the pattern of true love, look at me, for I am the expression of the law of love on which the universe is founded.”
“You know, Grace and Glory, ʻIt is enough for the disciple to be as his Lord,ʼ and to learn also to overcome evil with good. There is absolutely no experience, however terrible, or heartbreaking, or unjust, or cruel, or evil, which you can meet in the course of your earthly life, that can harm you if you will but let me teach you how to accept it with joy; and to react to it triumphantly as I did myself, with love and forgiveness and with willingness to bear the results of wrong done by others. Every trial, every test, every difficult and seemingly wrong experience through which you may have to pass, is only another opportunity granted to you of conquering an evil thing and bringing out of it something to the lasting praise and glory of God. You sons and daughters of Adam, in all your suffering and sorrow, are the most privileged of all beings, for you are to be perfected through suffering and to become the sons and daughters of God with His power to overcome evil with good. If only you realized your destiny, how you would rejoice at every experience of trial and tribulation, and even in the persecution which comes your way. You would ʻcount it all joy.ʼ You would take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions and distresses for Christʼs sake ʻfor when you are weak, then you learn how to be made strong.ʼ ”