In the Shadow of Jezebel
An intricate look into the history of Judah
This was the first book I read by Mesu Andrews, and I'm telling you, the title alone was intriguing! If you know anything about the Jezebel written about in the Bible, you know she wasn't good news. I actually hadn't planned to request another book to review, but when I saw this one I couldn't resist. I love Biblical fiction, and this time period of the Bible especially intrigues me.
So let's start with the characters. Jehosheba is our protagonist. She is the daughter of King Johoram of Israel, and the step daughter of his wife, Athaliah, as she was born to one of his other wives. She was adopted by Athaliah because of her lack of daughters. Jehosheba is an interesting character. At the start we are tempted to dislike her because of her unkind treatment of her maids, but as we read we learn of Sheba's fears and insecurities and discover that there is more to her than a shallow princess who worships a false god. I think the author did a fantastic job in starting and finishing Jehosheba's character arc. There's also Jehoiada the High Priest, an "angry old goat" according to many in the book. It was neat to see the story from his perspective as well, and God's plan for him revealed. Each member of the supporting cast was well-written, and held something deeper. For a while, I was even wishing for Sheba's half-brother, Ahaziah, to find the truth... even though I already knew the ending to that thanks to the word of God. Yes, I enjoyed all of the characters, but want to give special mention to the author's portrayal of Jezebel and her daughter, Athaliah. They were portrayed in such a creepy, different way. It was well done, and made me afraid to meet up with them anywhere. The downright evil seen in their souls was chilling.
Now the plot. It was very interesting. It covered a pretty big stretch of time... but all added to the story. It was eerie learning about all the practices of worshiping the god Baal, and goddess Astarte, and uplifting to hear about worship in the temple of Yaweh. It's not often that an author can transport you back to the times of high priests, and the ark, so flawlessly, but Mrs. Andrews made me feel like it was all real. Even though I may have read the Biblical account of this many times, it is so interesting to see it written out as a story. I even enjoyed reading about Israel, in all of its depravity, and all the court intrigue kept me reading late.
I really liked this book. It was thorough, and you could tell the author did her research. I enjoyed each small thing that was included, like the special attention to description of the High Priest's garments, etc. This book was happy, but also sad, in a way, because it reveals the depravities of a land that forsakes God, almost in the same way our country seems to want to head. At any rate, I appreciated the author's attention to detail, and her attempt to keep it Biblically accurate. I loved this story, and I recommend this for readers 15 and up.
~ a rambling author
April 8, 2014
Beautifully written biblical fiction
"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? With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings the Old Testament to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love." (Publisher's Description)
Another wonderfully woven biblical tale written by Ms. Andrews. The heroine, Jehosheba is due to become the next high priestess of Baal until a plan concocted by her mother and her grandmother Jezebel sees her married to the High Priest of the Jewish Temple. Having been used all her life by an unloving mother and a demanding false god, she struggles to believe in the loving Yahweh and her new husband Jehoiada. At 432 pages, this book is full of rich biblically history. I highly recommend this book to people who like biblical fiction. It is well researched and full of wonderful tidbits and pictures.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
April 1, 2014
In The Shadow of Jezebel there were several characters that really touched me but I think the one that really stood out had to be Jehosheba also known as Sheba. She grew up in conditions that were less than ideal, with a mother figure that was anything but kind. Sheba was such a complex character and we learn this right along with her husband Jehoida. Speaking of him, he really wasn't the typical suitor, he was older than Sheba, and was a bit set in his ways. I really enjoyed watching their story unfold. I found the worship of Baal to be quite fascinating, because I have been reading quite a bit about it lately in my Bible studies. As I read this story it was obvious that Mesu Andrews certainly did plenty of research, and the way that she opens each chapter with scripture verse really makes it easy to turn to the Bible and read the "true" story.
I have become a huge fan of Biblical fiction because the characters really come to life. Sure it's fiction but it certainly makes me understand better not only the time period, but also the author also allows me to better understand what the characters might have been feeling, but the best thing about this genre is that it always makes me go back and read the original story in the Bible and normally has me paying attention to the finer details. Mesu Andrews unique telling brings the Bible to life, providing rich historical fiction that weaves together fact and fiction to make for a compelling story.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.
March 31, 2014
Mesu Brings This to Life!
Contrary to what you may assume from a precursory glance at the title, this story is not focused on Jezebel (though she is certainly a player in the grand scheme of things). Rather, this book concentrates on her grand-daughter, Jehosheba. As you may have noticed, itÃ¢ÂÂs got over 400 pages, and each page has a lot of words Ã¢ÂÂ definitely full. Despite this, itÃ¢ÂÂs never boring! Mesu managed to absolutely pack this book with Biblically accurate information, events, and people. She brings to life characters and stories that may otherwise seem stuffy Ã¢ÂÂ but truly arenÃ¢ÂÂt! The whole book has a realistic feel and a gripping story. I could definitely identify with what Jehosheba felt. ItÃ¢ÂÂs absolutely worth reading! I highly recommend it for those of you who love Biblical fiction, or anyone looking for a creative and unique story set in Bible times.
**Revell sent me a free copy of this book for review. I wasnÃ¢ÂÂt required to post positively or paid in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. **
March 22, 2014