I always enjoy Jill Eileen Smith’s Biblical fiction. Each story transports us to ancient times, allowing us to see and experience history through the eyes of characters from the Bible. Her newest release from Revell is unique in that portions of the story were previously published as novella-style e-books, but have now for the first time been reworked and included together in a single, interwoven novel. “The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon” tells the stories of King Solomon and four of his wives: Naamah, Abishag, Siti, and Nicaula. As we are swept away by the powerful story, we inevitably are challenged to answer the question of “whether this king’s storied wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved . . . or betrayed them.” Continue reading
As someone who has always enjoyed the biblical book of Ruth, I was delighted when I discovered a fictional retelling of the story by renowned author Tessa Afshar. Published by Moody’s River North Fiction in 2014, the book is aptly entitled “In the Field of Grace”. If you enjoy biblical fiction of any kind, this book will be a welcome addition to your library for many reasons, including:
- The story is masterfully told, flowing easily and smoothly.
- The characters, both primary and secondary, are convincing and compelling, (which is not always the case with biblical fiction).
- Including an accurate portrayal of the narrative from Scripture, the story also contains numerous little details that bring it to life in a believable and relatable way. Interestingly, the additional information takes care not to detract from the facts.
- Although several scenes and conversations border on inappropriate, I admire the author’s careful avoidance of stepping over the sometimes-obscure boundaries of morality in Christian Historical Fiction.
- Although the language of the characters occasionally feels a bit too “modern” for the time period, the author explains this in her notes when she says, “I want to create a world that feels like the biblical era and yet connects emotionally to my reader. You might say my language resembles more of a New Living Translation vibe than the literal accuracy of a translation such as the English Standard Version.”
Overall, this story is a sweet and enjoyable retelling of a timeless tale from Scripture. Although it was the first book I’ve read by Tessa Afshar, it certainly won’t be the last! If you enjoy the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz, and don’t mind a bit of fiction combined with facts to create a compelling novel, don’t miss “In the Fields of Grace”.
I received this book courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.