Thursday, August 23, 2012

This Scarlet Cord

This Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf
2/5 stars
Thomas Nelson, 2012
303 pages
Inspirational Historical Romance

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

After enjoying Wolf's retelling of the story of Esther in A Reluctant Queen, I eagerly anticipated her next book especially as I've read some other retellings of Rahab and enjoyed them. I really do love reading about the women who are listed in the genealogy of Jesus.

BUT. I really struggled with the first part, which is titled "First Meeting" and introduces Rahab and Sala (Salmon being a name that has unfortunate connotations for most modern readers as Wolf explains) as young people. I was not sure why this was included as it is never shown that the two had met before their story is told in Joshua and it seemed like a weird padding to the story. I also found it very slow-going, which meant it took me longer than usual to finish this book.

However despite my misgivings, I decided to plunge ahead only to dislike more and more. Now obviously there are going to be changes when taking a short story and expanding it to novel-length, adding elements to appeal to a contemporary audience. But I didn't like that Rahab and Sala already knew each other from childhood and basically had insta-love; I also didn't like that Rahab was not a prostitution but merely considered one due to her culture by the Hebrews. The other ding against this novel is how much I loved Pearl in the Sand, a different retelling of the story of Rahab. Because of the strong impression it left on me, I constantly compared this book and whenever something was different, thought it was "wrong."

I don't want to sound completely negative because there were some things I liked. First was the political maneuvering of Jericho's royal family and the presentation of their belief in Baal, deeply entwined. I found this fascinating to learn about. Second was that I really liked Rahab's sister-in-law whose longing for a child and pain over her barrenness sends her into the arms of Yahweh.

Overall: Shaky beginning and my mental comparison to a different retelling left me decidedly not in love with this book.


  1. Sorry you didn't care for this all that much.. Great review though. Thank you for stopping by earlier..

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. Nice review. Sad that it wasn't that good. its hard not to compare two retellings of the same story.

  3. Oh, I missed this one! I didn't realize this book was out or out soon. Thank you for pointing it out!

    I love reading about the women of the Bible. I've found that some of these retellings stray a little bit but I try, try hard, to just read them as stories and take what I can from them. I've read similar concerns from other bloggers about A Reluctant Queen and I started it once, but put it down for some reason and have yet to finish it.

    Thanks for the honest thoughts on this one and for putting it on my radar. :)


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