I happened to see one of this author’s books up for giveaway on Goodreads and I was intrigued by the sound of her ‘signature style’ which seems to be women in the Bible. I didn’t win the giveaway but I did pick up one of her books the next time I was at my library.
This book stood out because of the beautiful cover and I know next to nothing about the Maccabee rebellion so I thought—-why not?
Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.
Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?
The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice (summary from Goodreads).
This book was difficult to categorize for me—-was it Christian fiction? Yes, in a way. Was it historical fiction? Yes, but with serious religious themes. Was it Jewish fiction? Yes, ish. For me, I would call this more Biblical fiction. There were obvious religious themes in this book with a heavy emphasis on Jewish traditions and issues in the land of Israel. I didn’t think that this book was preachy at all, was it heavy on the religious history and having faith—-yes but I didn’t feel like it was overly preachy if you look at it from a historian stand point.
I loved how the author incorporated the untold story of Leah, Judah’s wife in this book. It provided an interesting angle and balanced the religious history and teaching nicely. For me, I struggle with the Bible some times—-not because of the message etc but because of the duplicate or strange names and complicated familial ties (this from the woman who is currently reading the history of the Targaryens—and not struggling with all the weird names and familial ties). For me I think I focus so much on the message of the Bible, rather than following the stories in the Bible.
That’s why this book appealed to me so much. Here was a Biblical story with lots of people and family members and enemies but it was condensed and modernized to help readers find excitement and interest in a story that many people would just disregard.
I loved watching the story of Judah and Leah unfold. I wasn’t really a fan of Leah, she was stubborn, ungrateful, and refused to see anything from someone else’s perspective. It bordered on irritating. But I liked how she eventually got on board with the whole revolt situation.
This book was a fairly quick read and I enjoyed reading something completely out of my comfort zone. This is an author I would probably have not picked up a few years ago but lately I’ve been really into books that focus on strong women and what better place to start than in the Bible. I confess—I bought her latest book and am eager to read all of her others. This book was part of a series but absolutely could be read as a standalone and in fact, it’s meant to be more of a stand alone book. There are two others that focus on the same period in the Bible but are about different women.
I am glad that I stumbled upon this author and look forward to reading more interesting bad ass women!
Book: Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees (The Silent Years #2) by Angela Elwell Hunt
- Review copy provided by: Personal collection, all opinions are my own
- Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5
- Genre: Biblical fiction, historical fiction, Christian fiction
- Memorable lines/quotes