Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sarai, the last child of her aged father, is beautiful, spoiled, and used to getting her own way. Even as a young girl, she is aware of the way men look at her, including her half brother Abram. When Abram finally requests Sarai's hand, she asks one thing--that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even her father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if Sarai makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.
But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain--lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last?
Jill Eileen Smith thrilled readers with The Wives of King David series. Now she brings to life the strong and celebrated wives of the patriarchs, beginning with the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai.
I haven't read Jill Eileen Smith before, but I enjoy fictionalized accounts of biblical events. There is, of necessity, such a high degree of subjectivness to these stories, because the accounts in the Bible are brief and scholarly research can only take you so far. I think the author did a terrific job with her research and portrayal of Sarah and Abraham. Their relationship was a love story and one that, despite their grief at not conceiving children according to their own time frame, lasted through the ages.
The secondary characters of Lot and Melah serve to compare the faith of each family. Sarai strives to believe in Abram's God and Melah worships the gods of idols. Ultimately, one woman has her faith affirmed and the other loses not only her faith, but her life.
Abram's strength and unwavering faith were amazing. I also thought that the portrayal of Sarai's grief and regret over Hagar was well done. She seems to forget that it was at her own request that Hagar became pregnant with Abram's son. I loved Eliezer and Lila's and wish there was more to their stories.
Ultimately though, this was a story that had all the right parts and while fascinating and well written, it just isn't going to become one of my favorites. Fans of Jill Eileen Smith will enjoy it as will those who love stories about biblical women.
Available March 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jill Eileen Smith here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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