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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith (Book Review)

Title: Sarai
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell


About the Book: Sarai, the last child of her aged father, is beautiful, spoiled, and used to getting her own way. Even as a young girl, she is aware of the way men look at her, including her half-brother Abram. When Abram finally requests Sarai's hand, she asks one thing--that he promises never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even her father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if Sarai makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.


But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain--lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last?

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Michal, Abigail and Bathsheba, all part of The Wives of King David series. She has more than twenty years of writing experience, and 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.

Available March 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

My thoughts: I really enjoy Biblical fiction books and this one was no exception.  While there is no replacement for reading the true story from the Bible, for me, it is a lot of fun to read the stories with all the added dimensions that the authors bring to them. It is fun to imagine along with the author what the characters may have been thinking, and learning more about the times in which the people lived. 

This is the story of Sarai, wife (and half-sister) of Abram.  The prologue starts out with the wedding of Lot (Sarai and Abram's nephew) to his wife Melah - then it jumps 15 years into the future.  Melah is trying to get Sarai to make a sacrifice to her (Melah's god) to try to help her conceive a child.  Sarai gets as far as the temple steps and then turns and runs.  She cannot be unfaithful to Abram's God, Adonai.  

The theme running through the story is about Abram and Sarai's vows - that Sarai would give Abram a son and that if she did, then Abram would never take another wife.  Abram had also received a promise from Adonai that he would have a son and his descendants would be great, but that he needed to leave his father's household and go to a land that He would tell him to go to. Sarai and Abram go through many many years waiting for the promise of a son.  They travel through many lands, including Egypt, where Abram almost loses Sarai to the Pharoah because he claims Sarai is his sister, not his wife.  He thought he could protect her better that way -- but Adonai sends an illness to the wives and children of the Pharaoh and the truth comes out.  Sarai and Abram are sent on their way, unharmed.

I don't think that I would be spoiling this for anyone if I tell them that Sarai does eventually bear a son, Isaac, in her old age, just as God had promised.  This is where the book comes to a satisfying conclusion.  I hope that I get to read more of the Wives of the Patriarch books in the future. 

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Donna at and Revell Blog Tours in exchange for my review.~

Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3429-9
320 pages

2 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I enjoy Biblical fiction too this one sounds really good!

Emily said...

If you enjoyed other books by Jill Eileen Smith, you'll love her latest novel in the Wives of the Patriarchs series: Rachel. Jill is hosting a terrific giveaway in celebration of the book's release. Details available here. The giveaway ends February 15th so enter soon for your chance to win!

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