We have only sketchy information about most women in the Bible. Jill Eileen Smith does an awesome job of fleshing out these women in her stories. While fiction, this story is a plausible exploration into the life of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac.
Rebekah leaves her brother's home to marry a man she's never met. She knows about him, of course. Isaac's fame has spread far and wide. He is the chosen offspring of Abraham. Imagine the emotions that batter her from all sides as she makes that journey. They meet, they marry, but how much do they really know about each other? As a couple, they face infertility, tense family relationships, and then finally the birth of their twins. The long-awaited children that will eventually drive a wedge between Rebekah and her husband.
Jill Eileen Smith crafts a compelling story that colors in the spaces between the verses. There is plenty of emotional punch to keep the reader engaged. The story also transports the reader back in time to experience the smells, tastes, and textures of a time long, long ago.
A rich, dramatic weaving of the biblical account of the Patriarch Jacobs two wives, beloved Rachel and her rival Leah, blends historic details, known facts, and vivid imagination. This sensitive retelling makes the women half-sisters, which certainly could have been possible in that culture. Trickery abounds among the characters peopling the familiar story, where love and jealousy battle for control. The events spring to life from the pen of noted author Jill Eileen Smith, who has crafted another novel well worth your time. People of all faiths should enjoy this novel.
Im a cover girl by nature by which I mean the packaging matters to me. I wouldve read Jills newest book regardless, but I found the portrayal of Rachel particularly striking because the models entire look rings so true. Shes beautiful but with an earthy quality to remind us immediately of Rachel's shepherdess days. Thus beginning the journey before the books even been opened. Ive read my share of Rachel/Jacob/Leah stories, & in most of them Ive been able to tell which sister the author favored. Being a second wife who didnt have children with the love of her life, I admit to being more of a Rachel devotee. However, I did have my eyes opened to Leahs suffering when I read another fictional retelling several years ago. Then Jill Eileen Smith, a tremendously hard-working & talented Biblical fiction author, gifts us with this wonderfully balanced portrayal of both sisters, Jacob, the maid servants, & the children. With a sigh of contentment, my love for Rachel returned without eradicating any compassion Id gained for Leah. Jill does a marvelous job of bringing each character to life through glimpses of each sister's personal struggles (and Jacob's) in a uniquely complicated situation. Rachel & Leah seemed more authentic in their flaws & strengths than in any of the other stories Ive read, endearing Jill to this reader's heart yet again. One additional aspect I thoroughly enjoyed was the picture of the intimacy between Rachel & Joseph which Id never given much thought. Certainly she would have greatly influenced Josephs character & perhaps given him the foundation to endure & succeed in Egypt. If you want a fresh look at a timeless love story, I highly recommend Rachel.
Jill Eileen Smith excels at penning interesting, well-written, and moving historical fiction. "Rachel" is a solid addition to her growing repertoire, providing a new look at the well loved story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. She does a fantastic job at getting into the minds and hearts of the Biblical characters, giving us readers a new insight into why they may have acted the way they did. I absolutely loved how she described Jacob's encounters with God, especially the scene where Jacob wrestles with God by the river. It provided me with a fresh appreciation for how Jacob must have felt to go through such an incredible experience. Smith gives a lot of insight into the conflict Rachel and Leah must have had, as Leah marries her husband on Rachel's wedding night. The author helps us peer into Rachel and Leah's minds as they struggle with loving the same husband, and Smith also captures Jacob's desperate love for Rachel, exploring how he must have felt like a pawn in their father Laban's hands. I loved how in this story Rachel and Leah do experience a level of reconciliation that I like to imagine occurred in real life. Smith follows the biblical account as accurately as could be possible, while doing a beautiful job of fleshing out the story, and I enjoyed this book from start to finish!
"Rachel" is another winning read from an author who continues to give me a fresh appreciation for many of my favourite characters from the Bible. I award this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
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.
Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister Leah to wed and move out of their household. Leah wishes her father would find a good man who would love her alone. Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob is making his way to their home, trying to escape a past laced with deceit and find the future God has promised him.
But the past comes back to haunt Jacob when he finds himself on the receiving end of treachery. The man who wanted only one woman ends up with sisters who have never gotten along and now must spend the rest of their lives sharing a husband. In the power struggles that follow, only one woman will triumph . . . or will she?
Combining meticulous research with her own imaginings, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith not only tells one of the most famous love stories of all time but will manage to surprise even those who think they know the story inside and out.
-- I knew a little about Rachel/Jacob/Leah but this book really made me think. Rachel and Jacob were in love. They thought Rachel's father had promised to give Rachel to Jacob after working seven years for him. But Laban is sneaky and he makes Jacob seal the deal with his older unmarried daughter, so Jacob has to keep Leah too. So now he has to work seven more years for Laban to give him Rachel too.
This story is fascinating. I really enjoyed it, for the most part. It seemed in areas to drag for me, so that is why I gave it four stars instead of five. I did enjoy it though, but sometimes, I wondered if it had a modern touch, rather than what they really did and thought? That put me off a bit as well. Team Leah here though. I thought that Rachel used her wild ways a bit too much!
I received a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest opinion.