Book Review: Rahab and Joshua – A Biblical Love Story

Title: Rahab and Joshua: A Biblical Love Story
Author: Rivka Gonen
Genre: Biblical, Religious Fiction, Romance
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

An ancient riddle waiting to be solved

The story of Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, and the Israelite spies she hid in her home is well-known to readers of the Bible. Nevertheless, readers are left not knowing who Rahab really was and why did she betray her own people.

Rahab, the harlot of Jericho: A tale of survival, courage, and loveRahab and Joshua – A Love Story

follows the story of Rahab, who was raped when she was a young girl and had to spend her life as a concubine and a prostitute. Growing up among a clan of Hebrew shepherds near Jericho she had always felt a connection to her religious heritage. A dramatic encounter with Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies sent by Moses to Canaan, challenges this special bond. Will this primordial cord help create an allegiance between Rahab and her clan of shepherds and their fellow Israelites?

A dangerous promise and an epic love story

When Rahab and her father, on a pilgrimage to their ancestral tomb of Abraham at the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, meet Joshua and Caleb, the old Hebrew bond rekindles. Rahab’s father makes a promise that will jeopardize the safety of his entire family. Against all odds, Joshua and Rahab fall in love during the encounter in the cave. In the face of the risks of hiding in Jericho and during the bloody conquest of the city, will the promise be kept? Will their love endure? In Rahab and Joshua – A Love Story, the Biblical story comes to life in a beautifully written and lucid prose.

In Rahab and Joshua: A Biblical Love Story, as the title suggest, we get a retelling of the story of Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, and the Israelite spies she hid in her home. I’ve only read this bible story once or twice, and I didn’t remember much of it, but I liked that this book dove deeper into the story and expanded it, turning Rahab into a genuine person with a background story, ambitions and desires.

Rahab was raped as a young girl, and since then, spent her life as a concubine and prostitute. She’s always felt a connection to her religious heritage, a bond that is severely challenged when she meets Joshua and Caleb, two spies sent by Moses to Canaan. Rahab’s father pormises something to the spies that could jeapordize the safety of Rahab’s entire family. Rahab and Joshua fall for each other… But is their love strong enough to withstand the conquest of Jericho?

The story is well-written, multi-layered and complex. The only part I wasn’t convinced about was the love story. I’m not a fan of insta-love, and don’t really find it very credible, so I wasn’t too convinced about it here either. The editing could also be a little tighter throughout the book.

Nevertheless, it offered an interesting background story for one of the most unique characters mentioned in the Bible, with a solid historical setting and decent writing.

Book Review: The Kingdom by Amir Or

Title: The Kingdom
Author: Amir Or
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Encounter King David – a man of many secrets who wishes to reveal all…
David’s official history already appears in the Bible, but he wishes the “true story” of his life to be known. The Kingdom portrays King David as a real flesh and blood man: ambitious renegade and strategist, boundless lover, tormented father, politician, poet, and despot.
Power, passion, love, and adventure in a remarkable rendering of the biblical story
It’s the 11th century BC, and David struggles to establish a Hebrew empire in what had been the Canaanite lands. Gods, men, kings, women, and heroes are thrown into a whirlpool of passion, adventure, and the struggle for power.
Search your soul through this biting satire on contemporary reality
Not only a historical novel, The Kingdom is also a satire on contemporary reality with a critical view of the Jewish national story. It offers a stinging inditement of modern Israeli politics.

Most of us know the story of King David from the Bible but author Amir Or gives the story an original spin in this book, The Kingdom,  by portraying David as a flesh and blood man, with far more flaws than the biblical version has. He’s ambitious, he struggles as a father, he writes poetry, he’s ruthless in politics. He’s a man who appears as real as any other. You don’t want to stick to the bible version too much though, or you might be offended by the liberties the book takes.

However, if you get past that, it’s really an interesting story with a critical element in the form of satire on contemporary reality of modern Israeli politics. I also liked that element, how the history part of the book tied in with the contemporary, which proves that we keep on making the same mistakes as we did in the past (we as the entire human race) and that maybe we haven’t learned as much as we thought we had in the past two millennia.

I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction with a thick skin who don’t mind the author having taking certain liberties with this biblical character.