The title of this novel alone intrigued me. It warned of danger, hinting of a dark, mysterious story embedded within. And there was, but fortunately the story beneath the beautiful cover also carried an abundance of reassuring hope and strength within the lives of these Biblical characters, some of which you might just be introduced to for the first time. I know I “met” a lot of them for the first time through these pages. Their journey to learn how to trust and love again instantly drew me in.
The author’s depth of research and passion for this story was evident through the book and made me truly care for the characters, even some of the “evil” ones on a page or two. 😉 Each one was brought to life in such a way I felt like I was standing in the room with them. My stomach was in nervous knots as I stood with the heroine, Jehosheba, before the evil Queen Jezebel. My heart broke with Yahweh’s high priest, Jehoiada, as he took on the sins of the people during the sacrifice in the Temple. And I celebrated when the Lord gave them strength to stand for the truth against all odds. There is hope amidst the pain and the Lord’s unconditional love for His people is beautifully transparent throughout.
The only thing that really tripped me up while reading was getting familiarized with all the names in the beginning. Fortunately, there is a family tree and and character index at the front to introduce everyone. Without that, I would have been lost for the first half of the book. Many of the names are long and sound so much alike that I struggled at first to remember who was who and had to keep turning back to check. I’m still a little new to Biblical fiction, can you tell? 😉
This story is not exactly what I would call a “light read” where you just pick it up for a chapter or two in the evening to relax. There is a lot of drama amidst the families, politics, temple worship, and kingdoms from this era, so I warn you it is an emotional roller-coaster. However, despite all that, I still enjoyed it and felt like I learned from it.
If you like reading Biblical fiction and getting to know the people behind the names we can barely pronounce, you will enjoy this book. 😉 Each chapter is accompanied by an introductory verse from Scripture that helps ground the fictional side with the real, which I loved as well. This was my first time reading one of Mesu Andrews’ stories and I’m definitely going to be checking out her other novels in the future.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers at Revell for my copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In a kingdom controlled by cruel and manipulative women, one princess will discover the power of truth and love. Trained as a priestess in the temple of Baal, Princess Jehosheba strives to please the demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach far beyond the realm of earthly governments. Forced to marry Yahweh’s high priest in order to further Athaliah and Jezebel’s power plays, Jehosheba enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh’s Temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family–and the nation–she loves?
Mesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love’s Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel. Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington. Learn more at www.mesuandrews.com.