With her trademark impeccable research and her imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel's most powerful woman in a novel that is both intriguing and inspiring.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-01-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Deborah, Old Testament judge and prophet, is the focus of the second book in prolific author Smith's (The Crimson Cord) Daughters of the Promised Land series. The story opens when Deborah, obeying her father's instruction to return home, is given in marriage to Lappidoth. In this tumultuous time, Sisera, a Canaanite, is terrorizing the Israelites. After their marriage Deborah has trouble respecting her husband because he tends the fields and works as a scribe, refusing to train as a warrior and fight Sisera. Ten years later however, after hearing a message from God, Lappidoth offers to teach Deborah how to read and write in order to fulfill her God-given role as prophetess. Smith entwines Deborah's story with the story of Barak, the leader of another clan who wants vengeance against Sisera. The telling of the two strands reads unevenly, with the formal, Biblical dialogue slowing the pace, especially in contrast ato the colloquial feel of the larger narrative. Smith, however, brings astute observation to the inner conflicts Deborah feels about Talya, her "beautiful, obstinate daughter," about her role as prophetess, and about her feelings toward Lappidoth. This is both a well-drawn love story as well as the wistful imaginings of early Israel. (Feb.)