Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Prophetess- a great read on a rainy afternoon

Historical fiction has always been "my" genre- it seems the surest way to truly get lost in another time and place. I read almost all of Jane Kirkpatrick's Oregon trail and settling era books during my high school years. Being an Oregonian, the books based on real women tales really seemed to come to life, having visited the settings of this stories in person. In recent years, I have really enjoyed books written thru the eyes of biblical women. I grew up immersed in the bible and hearing of the heroines God chose to use in our redemptive history. The bible (being the greatest story every written) is so filled to the brim with so many inspiring characters and miraculous ventures that we only get glimpses into lives of it's heroes and heroines. It leaves much to the imagination and I used to dream away a slow afternoon pondering exactly that- who were these women in the everyday and what did their lives really look like? I have found an author that does a fantastic job of delving into that mystery is Jill Eileen Smith. A couple of years back I read her novel about Rahab, The Crimson Cord, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I was very excited to get my hands on her latest book, The Prophetess.
 This book was an intriguing read that me gripped from page one- I devoured it during just a couple rainy afternoon/little boy nap times! I really appreciate Jill's knack for being able to flesh out Deborah and make her a woman-wife, mother and servant of God-who I could relate to. Giving enough back story to build up how Deborah's marriage and family came about before God came to her with visions, making her into the prophetess and judge she is know as today was a great starting point for the story. I was endeared by the idea that she was trying to navigate the responsibilities of womanhood and seeking to please the Lord thru her life, making her a vessel the Lord could use to do mighty things for His people. I appreciated the realness brought in thru her growing as a wife and mother thru the book- watching her grow to love her husband through an arranged marriage and raise her children well, even during contentious seasons in the home. On top of that, Deborah's role as a prophetess and judge brings much more weight and adventure to her story. I also enjoyed that Jael and Barak's viewpoints on the tale are woven through out the book as well, since they are large parts of the biblical account.
 Writing biblical fiction is a somewhat delicate area to be taking much creative license in, But I feel Jill Eileen Smith does a tactful and graceful job at making our favorite Bible women into true to life characters in masterful accounts of their part in biblical history. I look forward to "getting to know" more of my favorite bible heroines thru Jill's books.
 Thanks to Revell Books for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

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