Monday, March 24, 2014

In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews

Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves?

With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings Old Testament passages to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.

I am so excited to be writing this review.  I think in my last review I mentioned that the book was not a stay-up-until-3:00-a.m. book.  This one is.  Most Definitely!!

I have talked before about how I love Biblical fiction.  I know there are a lot of naysayers, who don't like it because we don't really know what it was like in those times, but they help me so much.  I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school for Elementary, Jr. High, and High School.   I then proceeded to attend a Baptist University where I took Bible courses as part of my college education.  I have read the stories of the Old Testament all my life, but because the Bible doesn't go into the detail of a fiction author, I don't think we always get an in-depth, behind the scenes, look at these times.  For instance, I have read the Biblical account of Elijah and the battle against the Baal priests at Mt. Carmel.  I read how the priests of Baal cut themselves trying to entice Baal to consume their offering, but until I read about the scars on Princess Jehosheba received during sacrifices did this actually become real to me.

This story drew me right in and put me back in the time of Jezebel.  Mesu Andrews gave you a look behind the conniving, evil ruling of Jezebel and her daughter as well as the strength behind the Yahweh priests who struggled to maintain their country's love for Yahweh in the midst of a society that was being pushed into constant pleasure seeking by the people in power.  (Sound familiar anyone?)

In the Shadow of Jezebel takes you into Solomen's temple and allows you to see the daily life of Yahweh's high priest.  It also gives fascinating insight as to how they did small things like assign the daily chores and then turned around and used the same method to pick a new high priest.  This book made me want to go back and re-read the Old Testament accounts of Jezebel and that time period to see if there were items that I missed in previous readings.  Ms. Andrews makes everything so real it jumps off the page.

My first thought upon finishing this book was when could I read this again.  I thought about the book most of the next day, wondering what little bits of information I might have missed and could pick up on the next go-round.  

All-in-all, a masterful tale of how God is God through it all and how His Word does not return empty.  What He says will come true.  Great story!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Bethany House Publisher's  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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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