Talented award winning storyweaver Mesu Andrews paints a vivid picture with words of ancient life, choosing a handful of the major players in a story from Second Kings, a book in the Old Testament, and puts faces to them, gives them a voice, and personalities we grow to love or dislike, whichever is appropriate at the moment. It is then that we discover how very alike we are in spite of cultures that are nearly three thousand years apart. Our faith journeys are the same.
Ms. Andrews honestly portraying the horrors of living in fear of marauding neighboring nations, man-made customs created to appease non-existent gods, the consequences of falling away from the Torah (Scriptures we know of today as the Bible), and the rewards of trusting the real God of creation.
One of my favorite features of this book is the love story between young Prince Hezekiah and a resident of Isaiah’s household, Ishma. Because Isaiah was a cousin to the king, they lived near the palace and saw each other often. Prince Hezekiah lived in the shadow of his wicked father, King Ahaz. The prophet Isaiah was the royal household’s tutor. He made sure they were instructed in the Lord’s ways in hopes of restoring the nation to the days when David was king. Eventually, Isaiah and the prince realized how sharp Ishma was, so they broke tradition and included her in their tutoring sessions. She became Hezekiah’s intellectual companion; they challenged each other continually. All the while, Isaiah was preparing Hezekiah to become the nation’s next king. Would Hezekiah follow his father, or go back to the ways of King David?
A second feature I loved is how the author portrays the biblical characters as human, flawed, sometimes faced with the enormity of the responsibility they faced for so many human lives. Decision were sweated over. Hezekiah sometimes second guessed his decisions. He made mistakes in judgment. He allowed others to sway his decisions. Even Isaiah, as God’s prophet, admitted he did not always understand what God told him.
There is a good lesson in this for us. Because even now as we look back on prophecy, we have a greater context to look back upon than King Hezekiah and Isaiah had, so when something applied to Jesus’ day, we can see that. They were unable to. But even though we have a larger context to draw from, we still do not understand it all because not all prophecy has been fulfilled. Some applies to the future yet to come. Believing in God’s Word is all part of our faith journey. Sometimes we have to trust in God without completely understanding it all first.
Overall, this was an exciting, action-packed historical fiction that sought to balance out the fiction and the facts of a familiar to some Bible story. I admire the author’s hard work and ability to bring together this story spread out over several books of the Old Testament. She did a remarkable amount of research and to a reader who enjoys biblical historical fiction as well as other types of historical fiction, the story rings true. I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Book on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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