Book Recommendation – Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett

ReignBack cover blurb:

Beyond the Drama, Her Heart Was Real

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse.

As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

Narelle: I found Reign a fascinating story to read. It was a little confronting to walk in Jezebel’s shoes as she became the princess and ultimately queen of Israel with her husband, Ahab. Her despicable and evil acts including idolatry, child sacrifices and killing the Lord’s prophets are covered in the book. We gain an insight into her hatred of the prophet, Elijah, and her unquenchable desire for power.

Ahab is stuck in the middle. He is unable to please his wife and the people who have remained faithful to the Israelite God. He allows Jezebel to encourage the Israelites to worship her foreign gods. Both Ahab and Jezebel suffer the consequences of God’s wrath and judgment.

We are given a fictional perspective on their dysfunctional marriage and family life, and plausible reasons to explain their life choices. I recommend this book to those looking for insightful and challenging Biblical fiction.

Many thanks to NetGalley and David C. Cook for providing a review copy.

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Book Recommendation: So Shines the Night by Tracy L. Higley


So Shines the Night

Back cover blurb:

In a city teetering at the brink of anarchy, Daria finds hope among people of The Way.

She escaped a past of danger and found respite in beautiful Ephesus, a trading center on the Aegean coast, serving as tutor to Lucas, the wealthy merchant who rescued her.

But the darkness she fled has caught up with her.

The high priests of Artemis once controlled the city, but a group of sorcerers are gaining power. And a strange group who call themselves followers of The Way further threaten the equilibrium. As Daria investigates Lucas’s exploits into the darker side of the city, her life is endangered, and she takes refuge in the strange group of believers. She’s drawn to Paul and his friends, even as she wrestles with their teachings.

When authorities imprison Lucas for a brutal crime, Daria wonders if even Paul’s God can save him. Then she uncovers a shocking secret that could change everything—Lucas’s fate, her position in his household, and the outcome of the tension between pagans and Christians. But only if she survives long enough to divulge what she knows.

Narelle: I loved reading this book. The first few chapters hooked me into the story and I couldn’t put it down. Daria and Lucas are intriguing and multi-layered characters. I wanted to see them triumph over their problems and achieve their seemingly impossible happily-ever-after ending.

I enjoyed seeing the city of Ephesus, with a rich cultural heritage, brought to life on the page. Paul, Timothy and other Biblical characters we learn about in the book of Acts and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians play a crucial role in the story.

The spiritual warfare element in the story is fascinating and I liked seeing the early church from the perspective of outsiders who were seeking to learn the truth. I highly recommend this book to those looking for an insightful and gripping Biblical fiction story.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing a review copy.

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Book Recommendation: A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna M. White

straydropofblood

Back Cover blurb:

Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected.

For seven years, Abigail has been a slave in the Visibullis house. With a Hebrew mistress and a Roman master, she has always been more family than servant . . . until their son returns to Jerusalem after his years in Rome. Within a few months Jason has taken her to his bed and turned her world upsidedown. Maybe, given time, she can come to love him as he says he loves her. But how does she open her heart to the man who ruined her?

Israel’s unrest finds a home in her bosom, but their rebellion tears apart her world. Death descends with Barabbas’s sword, and Abigail is determined to be there when the criminal is punished. But when she ventures to the trial, Barabbas is not the one the crowd calls to crucify. Instead, it is the teacher her master and Jason had begun to follow, the man from Nazareth that some call the Son of God . . .

Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter. Disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all, she never knows love until she receives the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

Narelle: A Stray Drop of Blood  is Roseanna M. White’s captivating debut Biblical fiction novel. The story is set in Jerusalem and Rome around the time of Jesus’ ministry.

Eight year old Hebrew girl Abigail is orphaned and sold into slavery by her stepfather. She is purchased by a Roman prefect as a companion for his Hebrew wife. Abigail is educated and raised as if she was their own daughter and her immense beauty is both a blessing and curse. Six years later her master’s son, a Roman soldier, returns home after a six year absence and claims Abigail as his own before she can be given in marriage to her fellow slave and best friend. Abigail is forced to accept her new situation and feels abandoned by her God.

Tragedy befalls her Master’s household and Abigail’s encounter with Jesus on the day he is crucified both challenges her faith and transforms her life. Her faith is tested as she loses loved ones and cannot escape being treated as a Hebrew slave despite changes in her circumstances. A powerful love story unfolds and Abigail struggles with her seemingly futile desire to be with the man she loves.

A Stray Drop of Blood is an honest story that explores the best and worst of human nature. Realistic and compelling character’s struggle with temptation and the differences between the Hebrew and Roman society create strong emotional conflict. The story is action packed, with masterful plot twists and the spiritual element flows seamlessly through the story. I recommend A Stray Drop of Blood to those looking for a challenging and exciting Biblical fiction story.

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Interview with Carole Towriss, author of In The Shadow of Sinai

Narelle here. I’m delighted to welcome Biblical fiction author Carole Towriss to our blog.



Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, writes and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her first novel, In the Shadow of Sinai, released November 1. You can find her at www.CaroleTowriss.com.

Back cover blurb:

Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.

When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful young concubine.

When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…

Narelle: What was your inspiration for writing In the Shadow of Sinai?

Carole: I was reading the Bible – I think I was in church – in Exodus 31. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.’ And I thought, ‘Now how would a slave know how to do all that?’ God could have just poof, given him all that knowledge, but that’s no fun, and generally not how God works. So I made up a story.

Narelle: What do you find most fascinating about Ancient Egypt?

Carole: Egypt was way ahead of its time and vastly different from all the nations surrounding it. Women had many rights. They could own land, have a career, choose their husbands, initiate divorce–they were basically equal. All the other nations were patriarchal. Women belonged to first their fathers, then their husbands.

Narelle: How did the Egyptians treat Hebrew slaves?

Carole: That’s hard to say, as many secular scholars say there is no evidence for Israelites at all in Egypt. Those that admit it disagree with the Ten Commandments movie portrayal of taskmasters whipping slaves all day for no reason. It seems they had villages and were reasonably well treated, more like indentured servants, except for incidents like killing the baby boys when the pharaoh thought they grew too numerous.

Narelle: The Egyptians had their own gods and religious beliefs. How did their beliefs differ to the Israelites?

Carole: The Egyptians had innumerable gods, each in control of one or more aspects of nature or life. The people had to make sacrifices to appease them. The sun god was the most important and at times the pharaoh was even considered to be a god himself.

Narelle: Do many real life Biblical characters play a role in your book?

Carole: Bezalel is the man who built the ark of the Covenant. He is mentioned three times in the Bible. The story is told through his eyes, from the year of the plagues through the first year of the Exodus, which is spent largely at the foot of Mt Sinai.

Ramses II is the pharaoh in my book, although the identity of the pharaoh of the Exodus is hotly debated. Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, and Bezalel’s grandfather Hur are also in there.

Narelle: In the Shadow of Sinai is the first book in your Journey to Canaan trilogy. Please tell us about your upcoming releases.

Carole: The sequel By the Waters of Kadesh picks up when they leave Mt Sinai, believing they will enter the Promised Land in just a few weeks. Kadesh follows the twelve spies through their journey through Canaan, and examines what happens after ten of them declare the land cannot be conquered. Almost all the characters from Book One, as well as some new ones, will be there!

Carole will be guest blogging with us tomorrow on The Sovereignty of God.

To learn more about Carole and her books, please visit her website www.CaroleTowriss.com

Book Recommendation: A Lineage of Grace (Unafraid) by Francine Rivers

Back cover blurb:

2009 Retailer’s Choice Award winner! In this compilation of the five books in the best-selling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary – even scandalous – challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

Narelle: Unafraid is the final book in Francine Rivers’ Lineage of Grace novella series and is a fictionalised account of Mary’s story. It’s hard to comprehend Mary’s life and the amazing blessings she experienced by being the woman chosen by God to give birth to Jesus, God’s son. We journey with Mary through her remarkable life as she experienced great joys, trials and heartache.

It is fascinating to consider what Jesus may have been like growing up as a boy in a normal family and to consider how he may have interacted with his parents and siblings. Angels had appeared to Mary and Joseph to reveal Jesus’ true identity. His brothers and sisters struggled to understand their older brother’s character and decisions, especially when Jesus left the family to embark on his ministry. I recommend this book to those looking for an insightful and intriguing story about one of the most famous women in history.

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Book Recommendation: Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith

Back cover blurb:

Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her devout husband away fighting the king’s wars for many months at a time, discontent and loneliness dog her steps–and make it frighteningly easy to succumb to King David’s charm and attention. Though she immediately regrets her involvement with the powerful king, the pieces are set in motion that will destroy everything she holds dear. Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God–and David–forever?

With a historian’s sharp eye for detail and a novelist’s creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David’s most famous–and infamous–wife. Smith uses her gentle hand to draw out the humanity in her characters, allowing readers to see themselves in the three-dimensional lives and minds of people who are often viewed in starkly moralistic terms. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.

Narelle: I really enjoyed Jill Eileen Smith’s fictionalised account of Bathsheba’s story. The story opens with Bathsheba’s struggle to overcome loneliness and disappointment over not providing an heir for her husband, Uriah. Uriah was one of King David’s mighty men who was often away at war, and Bathsheba didn’t have children to distract her from missing her absent warrior husband. We journey with Bathsheba as she makes choices that will ultimately have devastating and deadly consequences.

We also gain an insight into both King David and Bathsheba’s faith and relationship with God. We meet two people who, despite loving the Lord, are human and flawed like the rest of us. I recommend this book to those looking for a fascinating and insightful Biblical fiction story.

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Book Recommendation: A Lineage of Grace (Bathsheba) by Francine Rivers

Back cover blurb:

2009 Retailer’s Choice Award winner! In this compilation of the five books in the best-selling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary – even scandalous – challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

Narelle:  Francine Rivers creates a fictionalised back story for David and  Bathsheba, starting during David’s years in the wilderness before he became king, that sets off a chain of events leading to their infamous encounter at the palace. We know how the story will end and the intriguing fictional set up brings the characters alive on the page.

I loved the emotional intensity in the story as we journey with Bathsheba and gain an understanding of the decisions she made and the consequences that followed. I recommend this novella to those looking for a story about real people who make mistakes and struggle with their faith in the face of temptation.

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