Thursday, August 23, 2012
This Scarlet Cord
Thomas Nelson, 2012
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.