So, I can’t sleep. And I just finished a seriously great book. Put the two together, and what do you get? A book review in the early morning hours! Let’s just hope it makes sense.
Can I just tell you how excited I am over this book that I just finished? If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I like a) anything of the historical fiction genre and b) anything of the historical fiction genre. Now, if you take historical fiction and you combine that with Bible history? Yeah, you get one very exuberant Stacie.
Now, when I first got this book, I honestly didn’t have the highest of hopes. Oh, I was excited to read it! But we don’t know that much about Samson and Delilah, and we know even less about Delilah herself. (Not familiar with the story of Samson and Delilah? Read it here at Bible Gateway.) My concern therefore, was that the author would have to take quite a few liberties to fill up an entire book on a woman who we only know about by a handful of verses. But, I decided to approach the book with an open mind and just enjoy it for the story that it is.
I did not expect to love it.
Angela Hunt does a beautiful job with this book. She certainly did her research (which, being set in Bible times, is hugely important to me) and also wrote a fantastic “Author’s Note” at the end of the book explaining her process, what she learned and why she developed the story as she did. One of the greatest things about this book however, if not the greatest, is that the story she creates for Delilah is absolutely plausible. And, being plausible, it makes you think pretty hard about the relatable humanity of these Old Testament men and women.
Angela Hunt starts the book off by introducing the reader to the two main characters: Samson and Delilah, of course. Each chapter switches between the two, so that you are allowed the opportunity to read the book from each character’s perspective; this really gives you the opportunity to get to know them, to get inside their head, and to learn how they tick. You quickly learn about Samson’s exploits, his temper, his dreams for his future and his glaring insecurities. You get to know Delilah’s heart, her fears, where her emotional pain comes from and how that pain influences her decisions. The book follows what we know (Samson and Delilah meet, fall in love, Delilah betrays Samson, Samson destroys the Temple) but the book also explores the why of things. Why Samson felt like an outcast, why God called him to be a Judge, why Delilah betrayed him, and so forth. And what I especially love, is the author gives the reader closure. In the Bible, the story of this unlikely couple just sort-of abruptly ends, leaving us with more questions than answers. But Angela Hunt gives us an ending, gives us closure and gives us the ability to walk away from the story thinking, “You know? Maybe Delilah was a lot more relatable than I thought she was.”
Also? Delilah is not the first woman in the Bible to be researched and written about by Angela Hunt. She also has an historical fiction about Bathsheba and Esther. I must have them!!
Bottom Line: A beautifully written historical fiction, set in Bible times, with a strong woman as a lead character? Seriously, what are you waiting for?
**Thank you to Bethany House for the opportunity to read and review this book.