Saturday, December 26, 2015

REVIEW: Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
by Angela Hunt

Publisher: Bethany House
Page Count: 368
Release Date: August 1, 2015
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: won from GoodReads giveaway

First attention getter: that beautiful cover!!!


From GoodReads:

After sending his army to besiege another king's capital, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier's wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king's household.

Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, Angela Hunt paints a realistic portrait of the beautiful woman who struggled to survive the dire results of divine judgment on a king with a divided heart.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 2

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! READ @ OWN PERIL IF WANT TO REMAIN SPOILER FREE! But then anyone familiar with the Bible story knows what happens....

I was given this book for free via the GoodReads FirstReads program in exchange for an honest review. And I'll be giving it. Unfortunately, I can't finish this book. I stopped reading @ page 153 as I couldn't take the overabundance of religiosity and preaching anymore.

Now, I know people are saying, "Well, Sarah, this is a book based on the Bible, ya know?! There's going to be a ton of Christian stuff with THAT as a source material." And I'd have to agree with most people, there has to be some expectations of very religious themes and dialogue with a novel based on the Bible. However, there comes a point when a dramatization crosses over into being hit over the head with a proverbial sermonizing 2x4 that the novel stops being a dramatization and turns into pure religiosity.

The author tries to give her story a historical background, and this is the one area where she succeeds greatly. The reader gets a real sense for the ancient world of Judea and its varied peoples. It's a seething world of warring city-states and tribes, all co-existing and co-worshiping while at the same time warring with each other. So, points there.

However, the author lets her religious themes and message get in the way of the actual story and characters. The story is told through the POVs of prophet Nathan and Bathsheba herself. Nathan has a personality, at least: humble, a caring father and husband, and a great dedication to his Adonai.

Bathsheba, however, is a total mess. There is nothing to this girl. She's a complete doormat that lets the universe and other people direct her life: her father, husband, grandfather, Elisheba, David, and God himself. Not once does she have a thought produced from her own personality; she's just a reflection of everyone else in the story and their values.

Now the Christian themes. There's a heavy emphasis on surrendering your life to God, to his message, teachings, and voice talking to you. There's also a very strong message of forgiveness and the power of God's love. I can live with those teachings, no problem. It's just that their SO prevalent in the story that they almost drown out everything else. Like I mentioned though, I expected this a bit with the source material being a Bible story.

It's the whole way that the book was dealing with the rape aspect and Bathsheba's reaction to it that made me see red and just have to drop this book. Throughout, various people in her life are stressing to her that she wasn't to blame, that the blame was completely on David's doorstep. Yet, NOT ONCE, does Bathsheba ever take this message in.

She's constantly saying that she "enticed" David's reaction to her and that she was completely to blame for the rape. I've never been raped nor met a rape victim, so maybe this is a normal thought process for such an individual. I don't know.

But to me, it seems like the book was stressing that because Bathsheba was so beautiful, David couldn't help himself so his actions were excusable. There's even a scene between Nathan and David that this comes up with David saying she was so beautiful, he HAD to have her. Like that excuses anything?!?!

I don't know. Maybe I'm reading more into this than is really there. Other readers probably won't have this reaction. But because of all this harping on Bathsheba believing herself to be to blame for the rape and her doormat personality has made have to stop reading this.

Maybe another reader will get enjoyment out of this, I don't know. A heavily religious Christian reader would probably get more out of this than I. I enjoyed the author's attempt to give the story a firm historical background. I also liked her attempt at brining the Bible to life; she succeeds to a certain degree. But I just couldn't finish this for the reasons I stated. Sorry, Angela, just NOT for me.

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