About the Book
Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees is the second book in The Silent Years series. I’ve enjoyed previous books by Angela Hunt and was excited to have an opportunity to read more. The Silent Years series are not connected to each other, so you don’t need to read the first one prior to Judah's Wife, though I recommend it as Ms. Hunt writes excellent Biblical Fiction.
Ms. Hunt brings the story of Judah and his wife Leah to life in a well researched and well-written book that anyone who wants to learn more about the Maccabean Revolt will appreciate.
Judah’s Wife alternates first person point of view between Leah and Judah and that can be difficult to pull off, but Ms. Hunt manages it deftly. Leah’s and Judah’s voices are very distinct from each other and it is easy to feel the differences in their characters.
The title character is Leah, who is raised in an abusive household. She has an encounter with Judah where he saves her from harm and is intrigued, as he is so different from her own father. Judah is also intrigued by her and their fathers arrange a marriage. Judah is twenty-four and Leah fourteen when the marriage takes place.
Based on her childhood, Leah’s desire for a safe, pleasant, untroubled life is understandable. Judah’s lack of interest in violence makes her happy and they begin to fall in love. Yet when the Maccabean Revolt begins and Judah believes he is called to fight, she begins to fear he is violent like her father and draws away from him. However, it takes longer than I would have liked for Judah and Leah to talk with each other about this.
Judah struggles with what he feels God is calling him to do (leading the Revolt) and his love for Leah. His characterization is not as deep as Leah’s but I understood his emotions and feelings, and was pleased with this character development. Judah’s chapters spend a lot of time recounting battles and at times they read like a textbook, but Ms. Hunt writes so well that the chapters are enjoyable and propel the story forward.
The themes that Ms. Hunt develops include listening for God’s voice instead of our own. Both both Leah and Judah struggle with their callings and their own ideas about what they want out of life. Ms. Hunt also touches on the conflict between following God and submitting to governments if they are demanding we do not follow God.
One of the things that Leah struggles with regarding her faith is not understanding who God is. She also doesn’t think she is special enough for God to speak to her. That is a point a lot of Christians struggle with.
Judah’s Wife is a well-written, well researched work of Biblical Fiction. Leah and Judah are both great characters and the journeys they undertake together and separately are worth the read. The other characters aren’t fleshed out as well, though none feel superfluous or unimportant to the story.
I will definitely read more books by Ms. Hunt and the other books in this series. I give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it for anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
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About the Book
Jealous of her quiet success as she learns the dye business, he’s especially befuddled by what he considers to be Lydia’s obsession with the Jewish religion. When their father dies, Cassius inherits the family’s home; Lydia inherits the business, and unbeknownst to her brother, a small villa in the city of Philippi.
Lydia flees with her mother and daughter to Philippi where she sets up shop. At the mercy of a patriarchal society, Lydia needs a man to serve as the public face for her business. She discovers the right person in the handsome face of Greek man she’d hired — an employee with whom she develops a close friendship. The plot thickens as Lydia meets a strange man named Paul the apostle who is stirring up crowds in town. When Lydia’s brother shows up in Philippi, determined to force her to sell the business, he discovers plenty of fuel to accomplish his goals.
Lydia, Woman of Philippi, is the first book I’ve read by Diana Wallis Taylor. I'm happy I got a chance to read it, as Ms. Wallis Taylor has written an excellent book. In fact, I hardly stopped to take notes for this review because I was so engrossed in the story!
The book is well-written and the description of the environment enables the reader to completely immerse themselves. It is not overwhelming and the descriptions never become boring. On a side note, as a historian I appreciated that the characters had difficulty getting information to and from people in other cities. This is accurate to the time but rarely mentioned in fiction!
Lydia is calm but not a doormat, though she is a more submissive at the beginning of the book. She becomes stronger as the story unfolds and watching her journey as she becomes the woman God meant her to be is one of the best parts of this book.
Nikolas is more mysterious and less developed as the story is told from Lydia’s point of view, but he is a kind, dependable, and emotionally strong man. For me, it is easy to see how Lydia could fall for him and how he could fall for her in return.
With one point of view it is often difficult to make the secondary characters seem like real people. Yet I understood their emotions, feelings, and thoughts through the writing. A single point of view can also make romances unbelievable but Ms. Wallis Taylor does an excellent job here with Lydia and Nikolas.
The story itself moves slowly, though there are a few time jumps. The story begins with Lydia as a fourteen-year-old and ends when she’s in her thirties. The transition between younger Lydia and twenty-four-year-old Lydia as the second act of the story begins felt rushed. I wanted more information about those ten years and was disappointed the story skipped over them.
The Christian messages, especially about learning to trust in God no matter the circumstance, appears on almost every page. This makes sense as Lydia is a woman who was an early convert to Christianity. If you like your Christian messages and themes a little less prominent, this book may not be your style.
Lydia is a calm book in which events happen and the characters remain serene and poised, though there are a few moments where the tension ramps up. At a couple of points in the story I wanted more emotion from the characters, and the lack of it did hamper my enjoyment of this book.
I recommend Lydia, Woman of Philippi, to readers who enjoy well-written and well-researched Biblical Fiction with a compelling main character and a sweet romance and give it 4/5 stars. I took away one star for quibbles involving the lack of tension and wanting more emotions from the characters at certain points.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
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In honor of her tour, Diana is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, “Give Thanks” painting on plate by Donna White for The Hearthside Collection, Inc., commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem pillar candle, cassia scented, commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
2nd Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem Spikenard candle tin with lid!
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c173
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.