Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by Angela Hunt

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. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by Angela Elwell Hunt

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Leah never felt safe in the home she grew up in. So when she marries a kind man named Judah, she believes she can finally experience a life of peace. But when Judah is challenged to fight for his people’s sacred way of life, Leah’s hopes for peace are threatened in Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by author Angela Hunt.

I was intrigued by The Silent Years series from the get-go, as I’d never read Biblical Fiction that addresses the four hundred years of (apparent) “silence” between the biblical books of Malachi and Matthew. I liked the first novel in this series, and have either liked or loved every novel I’ve read by Hunt, so I started anticipating this book way before its publication.

I was quickly drawn into the place, the period, and the setup of dual first-person narrators, which I’ve seen in other novels by this author. Although I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book at a different time, I only got a fifth of the way through before I decided not to continue. I’ve heard of the Maccabees and was most interested in reading about their revolt, but I’ll admit there are some aspects of Biblical Fiction I find much harder to read now than I used to.

As I recently said about another novel in the genre, my struggle with this book is reflective of a changing reader, not the quality of the story. While this likely means I’ll have to take a personal step back from the genre for now, I wouldn’t discourage other ChristFic readers from checking this novel out.

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Here’s my review of the first book in The Silent Years series, Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra.

 

The Note (2007)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films 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.

The Note (2007) from Faith & Values Media
Not Rated. Drama, Christmas, Romance
My rating: ★★★1/2

Description (from the film case): Following a tragic plane crash, Peyton MacGruder [Genie Francis], a newspaper columnist, discovers a note written by one of the passengers on board during their final moments. She sets on a quest to find the person the note was intended for. As she searches to heal the heart of a stranger, she discovers the life that’s changed most profoundly is her own. Based on a novel by best-selling author Angela Hunt…

My thoughts: Yes, I’ve enjoyed books by Angela Hunt. No, I’ve not read the novel this movie is based on. Yes, I enjoyed the movie anyway.

This is some heartwarming stuff. I guess in the few years between the time I first saw it on television and the time I got the DVD, I forgot this is a Christmas flick. So I unintentionally treated myself to a little extra Christmas the second time around.

I’ve said it before: as a writer, I dig stories about writers. Now, there is some slowness to the pacing and a kind of flatness to some aspects. But the movie surely gets better as it goes along.

This one has now been added to my annual holiday movie queue. And although the following two movies aren’t Christmas ones (The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love and The Note III: Notes from the Heart Healer), they’re both good as well and are now also in my queue.

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Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra by Angela Hunt

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. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Elwell Hunt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

As the Jewish daughter of a royal tutor, Chava grows up close to palace life in Alexandria. She’s sure that she’ll not be parted from her girlhood friend, the princess Urbi, not even when Urbi ascends to the throne and becomes Queen Cleopatra. But when a crushing betrayal lands Chava in slavery, she wonders what will become of her life and a promise God once spoke to her in Egypt’s Sister, a novel by author Angela Hunt.

I’ve enjoyed Biblical Fiction by this author before and was intrigued to hear that she’d be writing a series about the biblical “Silent Years.” My favorite aspect of this novel is the fact that Chava hears God during this period when He’s supposedly silent. (Yeah—I don’t believe God goes mute so much as we go deaf, but I won’t get into that.)

Now, there were some things in the novel that didn’t make complete sense to me. The process of Chava’s enslavement, for one, didn’t seem to make logical business sense. Aside from that, while this book is called A Novel of Cleopatra, the queen is off screen for most of it. She’s out there living her (now notorious) life, while Chava is left to pine and obsess over her. Eventually, Chava herself alludes to “obsessing over Urbi” for years.

I also found the extent of Chava’s naiveté to be unbelievable at times. Although she’s done some growing by the later chapters, it’s hard for me to be super-enthused about a story when I only feel so-so about the main character.

Still, the ending of the novel has put me in anticipation of the next one in The Silent Years series.

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A little interesting experience with me and the next book in The Silent Years series, Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees.

 

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

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.

Delilah Treacherous BeautyDelilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Perhaps it was his use of the word half-breed, but in that shadowy chamber I realized why Achish hated me. I was not a mistress, not a slave. Not a Philistine, an Israelite, or even a Canaanite. Not a Cushite, not an Egyptian. Not worthy of any kind of respect or recognition.
I was an other.

I wondered what kind of angle author Angela Hunt would take on such a notorious woman from the Bible in Delilah: Treacherous Beauty. And I respect the angle.

I’ll admit I had a hard time deciding whether or not I would read this book. Though I’ve read and enjoyed many novels from this ChristFic publisher, it’s not hard to see they don’t put out many books with brown faces on the covers, especially books unrelated to slavery/the American Civil War. I wasn’t exactly thrilled when, finally seeing a new release with a brown face, it was there to portray a figure widely regarded as nothing more than a seductress: a woman who must appear in the Scriptures only to warn people of the dangers of unfaithfulness, manipulation, and sexual indiscretion. Because there is a wider problem in the arts world concerning women of color being relegated to sex symbol roles—yeah. I wasn’t sure if I’d read this novel.

Yet, considering this is an author whose work I trust, I eventually figured there had to be something deeper she’d be doing with this character. And the author does indeed humanize Delilah. She’s not depicted as a perfect person, of course, but she’s fully human. As is Samson. They’re both outcasts, in different ways. And their artfully woven story is a human story.

Now, I do feel that in a couple places, Delilah and Samson don’t make total sense. It seems their characterizations and the story’s timing isn’t always the most natural, as if the flow of the novel has an awkward time meshing with some of its necessary biblical points. Still, I accept that ancient stories won’t always make complete 21st Century sense, and the way the author ultimately brings it all together in the last few chapters is what tipped me over into five stars. In tears.

It’s a tragic story in so many ways, but its illustration of the impact of faith and love in imperfect people’s lives gives this novel its power.

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Delilah is the third of the Dangerous Beauty novels. See my review of Esther: Royal Beauty.

Esther: Royal Beauty (Dangerous Beauty, #1)  Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty (Dangerous Beauty, #2)