Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Revell Books
Genre: Biblical Fiction
(Received for an honest review from Revell Books)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, Indiebound
Jill Eileen Smith on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
Sarai (2012), Rebekah (2013), Rachel (2014)
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Rachel, courtesy of the author's website.
Beautiful Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister Leah to wed and move out of their household. Maybe then she would not feel so scrutinized, so managed, so judged. Plain Leah wishes her father Laban would find a good man for her, someone who would love her alone and make her his only bride. 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 and the victim of a cruel bait and switch. The man who wanted only one woman will end 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, 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.
Jill Eileen Smith brings readers the third book her Wives of the Patriarchs series, Rachel. This novel follows the Biblical account of Jacob and his two wives Leah and Rachel. It is a poignant tale of betrayal and true love. Readers who love the Old Testament stories will find this book not only retells the ageless story but provides a deeper insight in the feelings and emotions that the key players may have been coping with. It delves into jealousy and loneliness, as well as deceit and hatred. Not a book easily forgotten after the last page is turned.
What I liked:
I have read several of Jill Eileen Smiths books and have loved every single one. Up until reading Rachel, Abigail, a part of the Wives of David series was my favorite. However, Rachel was such an emotional and evocative book, that it has surpassed all of the others. Smith is able to bring the Old Testament story of Jacob and his wives to life. Her prose is almost poetic and her powers of description will leave readers breathless. She takes this time worn tale and gives it new life by getting inside the heads of the characters and letting the reader view what possibly may have been going on in their hearts and minds. It is really a very well written book.
Jill Eileen Smith is a wonderful story teller. I think that's what it takes to make good Biblical fiction work. Jacob was one of the leaders of the Israelite's, a patriarch of the Nation, but he started out much like any other boy, in the shadow of his older brother. The Bible gives Smith a great framework to work with for this book. Jacob deceives his father and receives the birthright that should have gone to his brother and he leaves in fear of his life. Going to a far off land to live and work in the house of his mother's brother, Laban. It is here that the real story begins.
Jacob falls in love with Laban's youngest daughter Rachel and makes a deal with Laban to work a certain amount of time to pay the bride price, but Jacob is deceived. Laban substitutes his elder daughter Leah and makes Jacob work more time to get the woman he truly loves, Rachel. I have often read this story in the Bible and didn't really think about how the people in the story may have felt about what was happening to them. Jill Eileen Smith's real strength is in giving these well know characters emotion and feelings.
Rachel is in love with Jacob deeply, yet she is forced to see him marry her sister. Leah wants to build a life with Jacob, she gives him many children but she knows he loves Rachel more, even though she has no sons or daughters. Jacob is torn between the two of them, loving Rachel and having a duty to Leah. Smith brings all this out in such detail that the reader will be swept up in the story and carried away to the lands of the Bible. I was truly captivated by the story in a way I had never been before. It was just a wonderfully done novel that depicts the story in such a way that enhances it rather than takes away from the Biblical account.
What I didn't like:
I liked all of it. I can't find anything that I would criticize or that I would have wanted to see done differently. Jill Eileen Smith paid close attention to the details of the story written in the Bible. It is very accurate and closely tied to the Biblical account, while still offering a possible peek into the human nature of these very real characters. I loved it.
If you are a fan of Biblical fiction you have to read this one. It is just that good. It's emotional and poignant and extremely well crafted. You can't go wrong with a novel from this author!
Available February 2014 at your favorite bookstore from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Michal, Abigail, and Bathsheba, all part of The Wives of King David series, and of Sarai and Rebekah in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. Her writing has garnered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at www.jilleileensmith.com.
Revell Books and Jones House Creative are doing a fantastic giveaway in honor of the release of Rachel, the third book in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. There are two separate prizes and two winners will be chosen. Today is the last day to enter, so make sure you get over there. This is an amazing giveaway! Click here to enter!