Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
“Love is a gift. You can give and receive it, but you cannot repay it.”
In The Crimson Cord, author Jill Eileen Smith tells the story of Rahab, a woman of the ancient city of Jericho well-known for her brave assistance to Israelite spies and for her deference toward the God of the people who would conquer her city.
Smith paints a human picture of the lives of people in a civilization and tribal culture far removed from many of us. Even with this removal, it’s not difficult to understand the shame, fear, resentment, and despair felt by Rahab, who, despite her intelligence, compassionate heart, and beauty, finds herself living with the unbeautiful stigma that accompanies the occupation she’s been pushed into: prostitution. It’s not difficult to see why Rahab would struggle with the concept of God’s mercy, with the thought of the gift of love, and though she lives in a time and place where marriage and childbearing are the chief means for women to “make it” in life, Smith does a wonderful job of showing why Rahab would shy away from remarriage.
While for the most part, Rahab’s conversion of faith and her adoption of Israel’s ways are well-developed, her initial declaration to the Israelite spies about their God comes suddenly for her character; I would’ve liked to see more preceding contemplation that would lead her to such strong, personal belief and confident words. Also, there are parts in the middle of the novel where Rahab’s thoughts and feelings are rehashed as if to stretch out her time in the book while other events in Israel’s history take place. On a similar but perhaps more minor note, though the “but I’m a prostitute” or “but she’s a prostitute” sentiments and arguments may be repeated often to drive the idea home, the redundancy actually lessens the idea’s effectiveness.
Yet, overall, this novel gives quite an illustration of the oftentimes arduous journey to self-acceptance and of the redemptive power of love.