I would give this book more stars for the actual writing as it was well-written. But my lower rating is due to some of the liberties I think the author took in the unknown background information of biblical characters. Each chapter tells the story of a different woman in the Bible, but adds potential details and information that isn’t clear from the biblical text but might be possible for the culture and time period when the woman lived. It helps to bring the stories of these women alive, imagining their everyday life and what the circumstances might have been like for them.
However, I think in some cases the author went too far in her implying things that aren’t specifically mentioned in the text but perhaps could have happened due to the culture of the time. For instance, she implies that Ruth and Boaz most likely slept together during the night when Ruth went out to the threshing floor. Though it is possible in that culture, it doesn’t seem likely from the Bible’s depiction of Boaz and Ruth’s character. I felt that was an unfair implication.
The author also seems to be biased a bit against men and that bled through in some of the stories with comments made that seemed out of place. For instance, in the story of Esther, the author makes note and complains that Esther is never described as great in this book, but rather Mordecai is given honors and elevated in the king’s palace. That is how God inspired Scripture to be written. If the author has a problem with that, then the problem is with God!
There were also some facts or comments made in the stories that were actually not at all what the Bible says. It’s one thing to embellish and speculate about details not in Scripture to help bring the characters to life and make the story real. But when actual details are given in the Bible, we are not free to change those details. For example, in the story on Elizabeth (Zacharias’s wife and the mother of John the Baptist), in talking about Zacharias returning from his temple duties unable to speak and trying to communicate with his wife what happened, the author says: “If he could have responded, he would have told her that he lost his voice because he had irked the angel. All he had done was to ask Gabriel how he could be sure all this would happen since he and his wife are so old. But not liking the question, Gabriel struck him mute.”
Um, no, that’s not why he was struck mute. Luke 1:20 states, “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (emphasis mine)
Overall, the book has stories that make you think and ponder some of the characters portrayed in the Bible and what their lives were like that we don’t have specific details about. But in several of the stories, I felt the author’s speculations went too far. Some of the tone of the book seemed to be negative toward men which also made me dislike the book. So, while the book does make one think, I would not recommend it for others to read. Thus the low rating.
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.