Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: Sarai

Sarai. Jill Eileen Smith. 2012. Revell. 320 pages.

Ur, 2051 BC
Sarai glanced across the courtyard, catching Abram's gaze. His half smile and the twinkle in his eye warmed her more than the wine she had tasted at the start of the ceremony. Music drifted around them as the bridal couple--their nephew Lot and his new wife, Melah--took their seats on the bench beneath the canopy and accepted rich foods from the hands of the servants.

I really LOVED Jill Eileen Smith's first trilogy (Wives of King David). While I didn't love, love, love Sarai as much as I loved, loved, loved some of her previous books, I definitely enjoyed it! (Bathsheba and Abigail were some of the best, best, best  books in their genre--biblical fiction.)

I don't think it's a horrible thing that I didn't love and adore it. I really don't. Because I am not one of those readers that demand the same thing from each and every book I read. Some books wow, yes, but most are just satisfying and enjoyable.

Sarai spans decades. We first meet the hopeful wife in Ur many, many years (if not a decade) from Abram's first call to leave the land and his family behind him to go to a new land, a promised land. The book concludes with the long-awaited, much-hoped-for, much-prayed-for birth of the couple's son, Isaac. The book covers all the decades in between. All the highs and lows of this couple and their family. Readers are introduced to Lot, his wife, and in a very, very limited way their two daughters. Lot's wife is one of the characters that we spend quite a bit of time with. And her story parallels Sarai's in a way. Her choices--from the start--make her a very, very, very different kind of wife and mother. But both women are presented as all-too-human. Sarai is not presented as a saint, a flawless woman beyond temptation, doubt, despair, and anger.

I definitely liked the characters in this one. I liked the writing too. I think I just have always liked King David more than Abraham. So the novels about King David's wives have more appeal to me perhaps. But Sarai is a good book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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