Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: Miriam by Mesu Andrews

 Miriam by Mesu Andrews
(Treasures of the Nile #2)
Waterbrook Multnomah

My Rating

❤ Official Synopsis ❤

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

❤ My Thoughts ❤

It's refreshing to read a novel where the heroine is over 80-years-old. You just don't find that anymore.

Miriam is my first attempt at reading a Mesu Andrews novel and I must say that I'm impressed with the quality of her writing style. Solid prose, tight technique, perhaps a little long and wandering on the plot at times, but otherwise a very stable novelist in the realm of biblical fiction. It is a little bit of a struggle to follow the honorifics of the era: abba and ima, saba and savta, doda and dohd. One person will call Amram Abba while another will call him Saba, and that simply means one person calls him father and the other calls him grandfather. It took some getting used to and there were times when I almost, very nearly, got confused, just as an FYI to future readers.

The character development was mostly tight and concise. I loved Miriam from the very beginning, although I did feel as thought perhaps she had a little more power than she would have held in reality? Especially when it came to pushing and prodding Moses, who I also liked. Her take on Aaron was interesting, that he was something of a submissive husband whose strong-willed wife Elishiba ran roughshod over him. That was different. Loved Hoshea, the son of Nun. If you know your Scripture, you know who he becomes, christened a different name by Moses. Eleazer, Miriam's nephew and one of the leading characters (the slave commander to Price Ram, Ramesses' second Firstborn) intrigued me, more so because I hadn't read the first book in the series so I didn't know his backstory of belief to unbelief and then back again. He's a solid, male character who I rather wish had been respected more by the females in his life.

Speaking of which . . . the female characters. I don't like it, but I know that a lot of readers don't seem to mind the lack of feminine gentility in heroines nowadays. Taliah, one of the lead female characters who eventually marries Eleazer, is just such a woman. I highly doubt that a female would have been entrusted with the education of male students, on the one hand. And on the other, it irked me how Miriam was always correcting Eleazer for upsetting Taliah but never, ever corrected or chastised Taliah for her bad manners and distasteful temper. She was little better than a spoiled child and everyone was remarking things like, "Awwwww, how high-spirited she is, how intellectual and smart." And the miscommunication between Eleazer and Taliah was too much, far too much. Make of it what you will, Miriam has one of those heroines that is becoming painfully more prevalent in Christian fiction. This isn't even a romance novel and there she is.

However, Taliah aside, I'm still rating Miriam 5 stars because I appreciate the quality of her writing, the obvious depths of research that went into the novel, and her ability to transport the reader to the time of the Israelites in Egypt. Her dialogue fit, the setting fit, everything mixed together well. It hardly mattered that I found the romance, both romances actually, to be of little importance and no furtherance to the plot because the story itself, otherwise, was so good.

Now I would love to see a novel about Hoshea the way that Mesu Andrews has written him, new name and all, because I think that would be a story definitely worth reading.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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