Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book review: "Abigail" by Jill Eileen Smith

Abigail's hopes and dreams for the future are wrapped up in her handsome, dark-eyed betrothed, Nabal. But when the long-awaited wedding day arrives, her drunken groom behaves shamefully. Nevertheless, Abigail tries to honor and respect her husband despite his abuse of her. Meanwhile, Abigail's family has joined David's wandering tribe as he and his people keep traveling to avoid the dangerous Saul. When Nabal suddenly dies, Abigail is free to move on with her life, and thanks to her brother, her new life includes a new husband--David. The dangers of tribal life on the run are serious, but there are other dangers in young Abigail's mind. How can David lead his people effectively when he goes against God? And how can Abigail share David's love with the other wives he insists on marrying?

This is going to sound REALLY weird when I admit this but there is a specific reason why I remember Abigail from reading the Bible. It's because when she first meets David, she has loads of food in her possession to give to him due to her husband's rudeness. Now I know this because every time I read that passage, I tend to get hungry. I know, weird right? Either way, I've always wanted to know more about this woman who had an evil husband who is struck dead and then becomes part of King David's harem.

I really liked Abigail's character. She's humble and she wants to please her husband but because he's cruel to her she's in a dilemma. It's really sad how women at the time were treated because there's nothing for her to do but stay in a marriage that is horrible until one of them dies. Still she manages to hold her own and stay strong even when she becomes one of David's wives. It's not a pleasant situation for her but she loves her husband even if she has to share him with other women. She's not a passive character however, she does let him know her mind even when this makes him angry.

After reading the first book in the series, I started to dislike David, after years of thinking he was such a good king. This book only solidifies my dislike for him. Personally I have found him to be very haughty. He seems to keep thinking that only his way is the right way. There's no doubt about his faithfulness and love for God but the way he treats his wives just really annoyed me. He did the same thing to Michal that he repeats with each of his new wives. He keeps telling them that it's his duty and their duty to welcome the new wife into the household. He doesn't seem to realize that you cannot give the same amount of attention to multiple wives that you do with one spouse. Then he can't seem to figure out why his kids cry when they see him! Well, it's because you're pretty much a stranger to them! David also doesn't seem to be able to be satisfied with all these wives, as it will become evident with Bathsheba's story. Personally I wish Abigail had gone on with her original plan at the end of the book. Honestly I really think she would have been much happier so I was a tad disappointed when she went with the predictable route.

I was also a bit disappointed that all the revelations from Michal's story are nowhere to be found in this book. Yes I know that this story is from Abigail's point of view but Michal comes off as looking bad and haughty in this book. I had grown to like her from the first book after seeing what she had gone through and now she's back to looking like the bad guy again. I realize that Smith picked the most famous of David's wives to focus her series on, but after this book, I wish that Ahinoam and Maachah had bigger roles in the stories. After, besides Solomon, their sons (and Maachah's daughter) play a big role later on in David's reign and what it says about him as a father.


Overall though, I really enjoyed the book. Abigail is a Bible character I have always wanted to know more about and Smith really brought her to life in this book. She doesn't make Abigail into a cardboard character and allows her to question why she is in David's household and what good will come of it. If you are a fan of Biblical fiction, you will enjoy this book as a well known but underused character has finally come to life. I will be looking forward to reading the next volume in this series.

Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith is published by Revell (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this series yet, but your review is hilarious. And it's funny that even though David was obviously a jerk, he was still a man after God's own heart. Let's just hope God meant his broken and repentent spirit and not his attitude towards women. :)

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