Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith's newest book The Prophetess takes the familiar story of Deborah and adds a fictional twist,

"Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she'll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai--and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan's armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God's calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped?"

The Biblical account of Deborah can be found in Judges 4 and 5. The details the Bible gives of Deborah's life are pretty slim. The story is one that has always interested me though. One can't help but wonder about Deborah, the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. What was she like and how did she end up with that role?

Jill takes the Biblical account and creates a fictional retelling of the details surrounding her life. Obviously, to make a full book out of such a small piece of scripture is going to involve a lot of speculation. I think the author does a good job of staying true to the story while providing a retelling that was both interesting and mostly realistic.  You get  a sense for how Deborah might have been as a wife, mother and woman in general. It's fascinating to think about what such an important woman might have been like fulfilling those roles.

 It is obvious that Jill took a lot of time research the period in which the story is told. She brings to life the culture and location in which the story takes place. You really get a sense for how tense and terrible the time of oppression was. Reading the story and imagining the setting really gave it a lot of richness for me.

While I really liked a lot about the book, I found myself just not interested in it at times. I had a hard time finishing this one. While it is entertaining, it didn't hold my attention. I found myself easily putting it down and eventually picking it up just so I could finish it. The book spans such a long period of time I think it's hard to connect with the characters, especially initially.

The book is an interesting retelling of an imperfect woman that God uses during troubled times. While it wasn't exactly my favorite, I can appreciate a lot about the book. If you are a fan of Biblical Fiction, you might enjoy this one.

I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

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