I was extremely impressed with my first Jill Eileen Smith novel. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant about reading it: although I love biblical fiction, I know that the Old Testament (and therefore, books based on its' stories) can be violent and callous towards other peoples. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Smith's portrayal of the fall of Jericho and Rahab's role in it.
Rahab is the star in this biblical novel, where this amazing woman not only helps Israel triumph over Jericho, but triumphs over her own inner demons. Smith portrays the events with respectful honesty, honoring all those involved in the story. She depicts the bible story accurately, without dismissing some of the more supernatural phenomena that occurs. She subtly reminds the reader that the people of Jericho were human, and a few were even good people caught in a catastrophe but unwilling to free themselves from the mire they were stuck in.
I am working on reading the Bible this year, and I was lucky enough to be reading Rahab's story in the Bible at the same time as I read this novel. This certainly helped me to better understand the events of the Bible by making them real to me. They were presented in such an honest way that I could, at least begin, to understand the events of these harsh times.
Best of all, Smith's belief in the all-consuming, unstoppable, and unbelievable love God has for us is obvious throughout her novel. I adored the ending - perhaps the best ending in a biblical novel I've ever read.
The only reason this novel didn't get 5 stars from me is the pace; Rahab's challenges went on long enough to make me feel weary of her persecution.
Highly recommended for any biblical fiction fans - whether Jewish or Christian - or historical fiction, although nonbelievers may be a bit miffed by the inclusion of supernatural events and religious beliefs.
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