Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith

I’ve read the other books in The Wives of King David series and knew I couldn’t pass this one up.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her devout husband away fighting the king's wars for many months at a time, discontent and loneliness dog her steps--and make it frighteningly easy to succumb to King David's charm and attention. Though she immediately regrets her involvement with the powerful king, the pieces are set in motion that will destroy everything she holds dear. Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God--and David--forever?

With a historian's sharp eye for detail and a novelist's creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David's most famous--and infamous--wife. Smith uses her gentle hand to draw out the humanity in her characters, allowing readers to see themselves in the three-dimensional lives and minds of people who are often viewed in starkly moralistic terms. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.

And now, my review:

There are many ways to approach the infamous story of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba and how he then plotted to kill her husband so he could marry her when it was discovered she was pregnant. Jill Eileen Smith’s approach was wise, tasteful, tactful. Readers who are familiar with the biblical account will anticipate the plot’s destination, but with remorse. We’ve come to care for the characters this much. You’ll want Uriah to live, for his marriage to Bathsheba to continue so they can work out their problems. Smith is especially adept at showing the possible motivations of the biblical characters. You’ll see and consider how her imaginative retelling could fit the story. I appreciated how she filled in the gaps, making the characters human. She has obviously done her research. She helped me consider new angles on the old story, making sense of how things possibly played out.

Overall, through the entire series, Smith displays an amazing understanding of the heart of David, his bearing and his wisdom. Through gifted storytelling, she makes him breathe on the page. The Bible stories come to life, teaching more about biblical times and the various settings. Smith’s biblical fiction is not to be missed. She has set a new standard in this genre.

Highly recommended.

Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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