Tag Archives: Biblical fiction

Book Review: Miriam

15 Mar

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 
 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
 
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

Mesu Andrews grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available — children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell) — the story of Job and the women who loved him — won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah — a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

 

My Impressions:

I chose Miriam by Mesu Andrews as a complimentary resource for my Bible study group, Faith And Fiction. A fictionalized account of a particular Bible story or figure is a great way to see the cultural context and to foster a more in-depth reading of scripture.  My group looked at all three accounts of Miriam in the Bible — her childhood encounter with Pharaoh’s daughter, her song of deliverance following the crossing of the Red Sea, and her grumbling against Moses’ leadership. The novel Miriam covers less than Biblical narrative — the time of Moses’ return to Egypt following 40 years of self-imposed exile, the plagues imposed by God on the Egyptians, and the deliverance of the Hebrew nation from the Egyptians. It was an interesting what-if that made our group think about what life was really like for the enslaved Hebrews and the impact the plagues had on their lives. Also included in the book are the interactions between Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. Andrews sets the stage of Miriam’s jealousy documented in the book of Numbers. There are also a number of characters, some mentioned in scripture and others purely fictional, that add color and depth to the narrative. While the book is not my favorite from Andrews, it does have wonderful spiritual messages which resonated with me — the urgency of telling people about God, the need to trust even when we don’t understand, and the powerful work of God through His people and nature.

I had a slow start with Miriam, but as the story unfolded (especially during the plagues) I became much more engaged. It definitely is an intriguing look at a well-known Bible story that will make you look at scripture a little closer.

Recommended for fans of Biblical fiction.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased Miriam from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Traveling Back In Time

26 Feb

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday. This week we were charged with sharing the various book locations we would love to visit. I decided to share places I have journeyed to recently that are best suited for book travel. Each well-researched book brought a new perspective to a time and place in history. And while a time machine would be required to visit the places I have listed, it is my affection for flush toilets, antibiotics, and the safety of my own home, that prompts a book-only adventure! 😉

For more bookish travel, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Locations I Liked Visiting (But Only In A Book! 😉 )

 

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon (early 1800 Florida)

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson (WWII Austria)

The Liberty Bride by Marylu Tyndall (War of 1812)

The Patriot Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse (Revolutionary War)

Prince Edward’s Warrant by Mel Starr (14th century England)

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (early 1800s Tennessee)

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman (French Revolution)

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund (1850s orphan trains)

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette (OT Israel)

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma (WWII Poland)

 

Where would you like to travel?

February Book Club Picks!

1 Feb

I am excited about my book clubs’ selections this month. By The Book is reading favorite author Eva Marie Everson‘s Five Brides, a book perfect for our Valentine’s Day meeting. (And for those who think Valentine’s Day is all wrong for a book club to meet,  we are inviting our spouses/special someone for a dinner before we kick them out and discuss the book! LOL!) Page Turners will join my Faith And Fiction Bible Study in a discussion of Miriam by Mesu Andrews. I am looking forward to discovering more about Moses’ sister and what God has to share with us.

Have you read either one of these books? What did you think?

Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

One dress, five women, a lifetime of memories.

Five single, fiercely independent women live together in a Chicago apartment in the early 1950s but rarely see one another. One Saturday afternoon, as they are serendipitously together downtown, they spy a wedding dress in a storefront window at the famous Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. After trying it on—much to the dismay of the salesclerk and without a single boyfriend or date between the five of them—they decide to pool their money to purchase it. Can one dress forever connect five women who live together only a short time before taking their own journeys to love and whatever comes happily ever after?

Miriam: A Treasures of The Nile Novel by Mesu Andrews

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 
 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
 
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Had All Intentions of Reading in 2018. Epic Fail!

22 Jan

I have the best intentions when it comes to reading. But alas my eyes are larger than my time constraints. So some really good books are left unread. Determined to read from books I got last year, I did whittle the list down by 2 this month. A weak start, but I will take it. The books on my list are in my possession and desperately need reading. Maybe I will be more successful in 2019. What about you? Did your pile grow much in 2018?

Find out other bloggers’ failed attempts at reading their TBR piles at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books I Didn’t Read in 2018

 

All That Glitters by Les Cowan

Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

Death Beat by Fiona Veitch Smith

Death of A Jester by Deb Richardson-Moore

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

 

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Local Artist by Paul Trembling

Minding The Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

 

Which book would you read first?

By The Book’s 2019 Selections

1 Jan

Happy New Year! On the first of the month I usually share my book club’s selection. But since today is the first day of a brand new year, I thought it fitting to share all the books we are reading in 2019. There is a mix of genres — romance, suspense, Biblical, historical — something for everyone. We would love for you to join us. Check out our FB page.

 

January — Chosen People by Robert Whitlow
February — Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson 
March — Delayed Justice by Cara Putman
April — The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin
May — Mind Games by Nancy Mehl
June — Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse
July — The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright
August — The Memory House by Rachel Hauck
September — The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson/Lynette Eason/Dani Pettrey
October — Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt 
November — Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore
December — Christmas book

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018

1 Jan

I am bowled over by the number of excellent books I read in 2018! It was very, very, very hard to come up with a list of the best, let alone trying to limit it to just 10! So I cheated (of course) and made two Top 10 Lists — one contemporary and one historical. And before you say but, but . . . I know that three of the books on the historical list are dual timelines, but without the historical component, the book would not have existed. There is also plenty of suspense and romance — really something for everyone on this list. Those with an asterisk were book club books that got unanimous thumbs up! I hope you find one or two (or all) that will pique your interest.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ best of the best lists.

 

Top 10 Contemporary Novels of 2018

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

*The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Top 10 Historical Novels of 2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

*The House of Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

*Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

What book was your favorite in 2018?

Top 10 Tuesday — Christmas Edition

25 Dec

Merry Christmas! Did Santa treat you right with a pile of books under the tree? I rarely get books for Christmas. My family and friends operate under the false assumption that I already own all the books there are. LOL! But that’s okay, because Santa and I have a deal — I am good all year and get to order the books I want from Amazon! 😉 This week Top 10 Tuesday lists feature books found under the tree, or in my case on the Wishlist. All of the books on my list have not released yet, but that’s okay because pre-order!

Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for all the wonderful bookish goodness that arrived in Santa’s sleigh.

 

Top Books on My Christmas Wishlist

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

The Heart of A King by Jill Eileen Smith

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells