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. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Young Ishma’s name means “desolation,” but when the prophet Isaiah eventually adopts her, he changes her name to Hephzibah: “delight of the Lord.” The adoption makes her eligible to marry her close, longtime friend, Prince Hezekiah, who’ll have to work at rebuilding the kingdom of Judah, which has nearly gone to ruin under his father’s rule. But loving Hezekiah will entail more than Hephzibah could have prepared for in Isaiah’s Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings by author Mesu Andrews.
I must start off by saying I’ve enjoyed Biblical Fiction novels by this author before, and I’ve little doubt that other fans of the genre will enjoy this one.
I tried getting into this novel three different times and got more than a third of the way through. I just didn’t connect with the characters, and in a way, it didn’t seem like they were fully “owning” the whole story. Certain things had to happen to match the biblical narrative, of course. But it would sometimes feel like the biblical plot was dictating how the characters would think or act, instead of the characters feeling more natural and making more sense of the plot.
Also, as historical and cultural as it may be, it’s been getting harder for me to read things like men giving and receiving women in marriage, where women don’t have real authority to make and carry out those important life decisions for themselves, since it’s not a part of their culture or religious law. And though I like a dense read now and then, I wasn’t finding the story and characters here compelling enough to keep working through this one.
Still, I think my struggle with the book is more reflective of a changing reader than of the quality of the story. I wouldn’t discourage other ChristFic readers from checking this novel out.