5 Stars Out Of 5
An intricate look into the history of Judah
April 8, 2014
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