Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith

by Jill Eileen Smith

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publisher: Revell (February 2010)
Price: $10.19 (Kindle: $9.99) 

What I Liked:
After reading Jill Eileen Smith's first book in the Wives of King David series (Michal), I was chomping at the bit to read the second book. And now that I've read Abigail, I'm chomping at the bit to read what I hope will be a book about Bathsheba. I appreciated about Abigail that it felt like more of a coherent story than Michal. And I liked Abigail as a character much better than I liked Michal. I think I had a lot more compassion for her because she felt so real to me.

Once again, David was not as great a hero as I expected him to be. I do appreciate that Smith made him round, as a character--that he had both flaws and strengths. But perhaps I'm too westernized in my thinking... I just have a hard time finding a polygamist hero sympathetic. Then again, perhaps that was not the purpose of the book.

And of course, the historical and theological detail in this book was just excellent. Not only does her eye for historicity shine as an author, but she makes the history so real, and so believable. The details of what they would have eaten, how their lives would have been structured, how they would have lived... absolutely fantastic. Definitely the highlight of the book for me.

What I would say, all-in-all, is that if you are a fan of historical fiction, you will probably like this book. If you are a historical romance die-hard fanatic, this might not be a good book for you. It does not have the kind of ending that you will be used to. It does, however, have a satisfying ending. If only I didn't know what happens next, I would be able to just be secure in that ending... but there are more women for King David than just Michal and Abigail. And there is one woman still who will capture his heart in a powerful way.

Book Blurb:
"Her days marked by turmoil and faded dreams, Abigail has resigned herself to a life with a man she does not love. But when circumstances offer her a second chance at happiness with the handsome David, she takes a leap of faith to join his wandering tribe. Still, her struggles are far from over. How can she share his love with the other women he insists on marrying?

Abigail follows the bestselling Michal and continues Jill Eileen Smith's rich story of David's wives." (Book Blurb from the back cover of the book.)


Kimber An said...

I think I'd like to read this one. I kinda embarressed my Sunday School class once when I answered a question about Abigail and David. I said something like, "Well, she was probably sold to an old fart when she was a young teenager. He croaks and all of a sudden this hot studmuffin shows up and wants to marry her. Hello? Whattaya think she's gonna do?" I always liked that David loved her for her intelligence. At least, that's the way it came across in the Bible I read.

Rebecca Lynn said...

I really liked this book. I think it was more of a love story than the first one was, and it had a much more satisfying ending.

The thing I like the most about it is that she really tries to stick not only to the Biblical evidence, but also the likely historical difficulties of their relationship.

It's interesting to me that we always think David is this hot guy... I wonder if he really was. Of course, in this book, he's beautifulllll. :-) But I wonder, was David really a hottie? And Solomon? They seem like they would be hot, but I wonder if they were.

Great book, though.

Kimber An said...

"But I wonder, was David really a hottie?"

Uh, yeah, that's what the Bible says. It says he was handsome, well-formed, and ruddy, and that the girls all sang of his courage and battle, and King Saul was jealous of their adulation. In modern terms, that's a hottie.

Rebecca Lynn said...

Yeah, but I think they had to say that... like who's gonna write in a history of the Kings "Dude, David... seriously, not a hot guy. Couldn't get a dog to lick him if you covered him in gravy."

More like, there's a soldier guarding the door while the Scribe writes, and he knows if he doesn't say King David is a hottie... Off With His Head! :-)

At least, if I were writing a history of writing the Bible, that would be my fictional scene of how that explanation got in there.

Kimber An said...

Definitely the case in Egypt. Even the old, ugly pharoahs were depicted as young and handsome.

However, the Bible doesn't say the same thing about other kings. The closest it comes is saything that Saul, when he was first made king, was head and shoulders taller than the other men. In fact, the only prominent Biblical character I can remember being called handsome was Joseph. Remember when he was sold into slavery and his master's wife tried to have her way with him?

Rebecca Lynn said...

Most of David's sons are described as either handsome or pleasing. And of course, in Song of Solomon, the shepherd and the king are both portrayed as handsome. It's not uncommon for leaders to be described as impressive or handsome in the Bible. I just think we always assume that the royalty was handsome as we would consider them to be.

Of course, we don't know what David really looked like. But it just makes me suspicious when the King is described as the most handsome. Plus, I think David had qualities that would have made him a good lover/husband that had nothing to do with what he looked like. And I guess I'm the kind of reader who would prefer to focus on that. Being "the most handsome" is sort of a cliche, maybe.

But it didn't affect the fact that I liked the book. And it was very well-written and historically accurate, which I appreciate (including making David good-looking, haha). :-)

Rebecca Lynn said...

Look at us having a theological discussion over a book review! I'll bet Jill Eileen Smith would be happy about that. :-) I'm sure a lot of Christian writers hope that's what happens because of their writing. :-)

Kimber An said...

I'd be thrilled outta my mind! She's blessed with beautiful cover art too.

Nayuleska said...

Sounds like a great book to read! I like historicals, so might put this on my wishlist.

(Discussions about books = brilliant!)