Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bathsheba Bathed in Grace {by Carol Cook}

Title: Bathsheba Bathed in Grace
Author: Carol Cook
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Adultery, lies, deception, scandal, murder, cover-up, heartache, pain, and loss--stories with these sordid elements are relevant today. And women with shady pasts--labeled, shamed, and linked with tragedies--are part of our heritage. Bathsheba, a victim or temptress, Eve outside of Eden, Tamar posed as a prostitute, Leah stole her sister Rachel's fiance...Sarah gave Hagar to her husband and Rebekah masterminds a grave deception.

Stories about Biblical characters have always fascinated me. Not only do I love anything from this time period, but I also love trying to imagine their lives and what went on in the heads of people that don't even seem real. So I was definitely excited to give this book a shot.

As a whole, this book was just alright. Nothing really stood out to me. Although there were 8 different stories, the voices all sounded the same. I realize that life was very different for women back then compared to how it is now. But even with that in mind, they all sounded very...simple. I do understand that, since they were all short stories, the stories were condensed and not fully drawn-out. However, they just were not really that fulfilling. 

And now for each short story's review (and I would hope that since I'm sure most everyone has a basic enough idea of the Bible stories that anything I say won't be a spoiler...can you even spoil a story that's thousands of years old?):


First off, I'm not sure why this one was first. Then again, the order of these stories didn't really make sense at all. Second, I did not feel I gained more insight into Bathsheba at all. This was probably the story I was most anticipating, because I've always wondered how she felt, what she was thinking. But apparently the answer is..nothing. Seriously. The beginning of the book she is so in love with her amazing husband. And I'm not going to say anything about what happened with David, because she was a woman with no rights and he was the king, and I don't believe she could have helped it or acted any differently. But when she finds out Uriah dies, sure she's sad, but not as much as I feel someone who was that in love should have been. When David wants to marry her, she is so grateful that she won't be shamed and her baby will be legitimate. And actually, I can get that, really. She is a woman, who in her time period, would have been stoned as an adulteress. But even when she finds out that David murdered Uriah, she does not act in the way that a woman in love should. She doesn't react at all. She is just still so grateful that David took her in. I just didn't understand.

If you're interested in Bathsheba's story, I suggest Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith, as well as the rest of the series about David's other wives, Michal and Abigail.


Sarah's main story was going to Egypt and lying about being Abraham's sister, but also, of course, Hagar and Ishmael and Isaac. This one was a bit more interesting. Sarah is a dutiful, loving wife, although she's tired of packing up and moving all the time. Then, Abraham not only tells her that they're moving again, but that she has to lie and tell everyone that she's his sister. At the same time, Abraham has been promised that he is going to be the father of many nations, but all Sarah can feel is the intense amount of pressure that puts on her, especially seeing as how she is barren. I felt more emotion from Sarah, about her unbelief, her doubts, her anger at God and Abraham. This was probably one of my favorites out of all of them.

If you're interested in Sarah's story, I suggest Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith


First off, I've not seen that many stories about Hagar. Second, I think it was really neat to get to see both sides of the story, since we only ever get to see Sarah's. Hagar is a young servant girl in Egypt, who becomes part of Abraham's caravan. She is overjoyed when she gets picked to be the personal servant of Sarah, who she admires. I'm not exactly sure how old she is supposed to be, because I imagined her as pretty young. I admire her for putting up with Sarah, and then for her repentance, although the rest of it was just what I already knew from the Bible. I didn't feel like I got that much from her, which saddened me because I was really interested in Hagar.


I don't really have much to say about Rebekah, probably because I'm already so familiarized with her story. There, again, wasn't a lot of depth to this one. I did enjoy the first part of it, the well and finding out about marrying Isaac. It was interesting to see what she thought about something like that, moving so far away from her family and marrying a man she hadn't even seen yet. As for the betrayal of Isaac and Esau, I felt I learned nothing new because it's a story we're so familiar with. However, I did like her perspective on the boys growing up, and why they were favored by each parent, and her dilemma in knowing she shouldn't love one boy more than other, but doing so anyway. It was interesting.

If you're interested in Rebekah's story, I suggest Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith


Another one where we'll get to see dual perspective. I have always like Leah more than Rachel (even though she's my namesake). I'm not sure why, I've just always felt that she got the short end of the stick. Since the Bible does not really give us that much background on the sisters before Jacob, I thought it interesting that the author interpreted the sisters being very close before Jacob arrived. Other than that, it was nice to see things from Leah's perspective. The whole making up at the end seemed a bit forced and unreal, because I'm not really convinced that was something that would actually happen.

If you're interested in Leah and Rachel's story, I suggest the 18th century Scottish retelling, Thorn in my Heart (and the rest of the series).


I mean, I know I already said I didn't like her as much, but that's not really the reason I didn't like this story. Yeah, Rachel's a bit bratty and childish, but the story was pretty much the same as Leah's. Even the voice sounded mostly the same, with the exception that Rachel was a lot more bitter and seemed more immature. The making-up at the end seemed even more realistic coming from Rachel's perspective. But other than that, it seemed a lot like Leah's story.

If you're interested in Rachel's story, I suggest Rachel by Jill Eileen Smith 


This was probably the best story of the bunch. Tamar's story is one that is pretty scandalous, so it doesn't get talked about much. Since we don't really get to hear about her that much, this story was very interesting and insightful. Tamar's voice was also able to stand out from the rest. The story was done well enough that it's not going to be scandalous or make the reader uncomfortable, which could have happened when dealing with subject matter such as this. This was probably the most insightful and interesting story out of all of them.


This was probably the worst. I think it was too much of a task for the author to imagine what the first woman would have been like. Eve was very simple, childlike person. I suppose this may have been true, but the whole story was very simplistic. Trying to imagine what Eve thought when she first woke up, how the creation of woman even went, the first childbirth....it was probably too much for someone to attempt. It did lend an interesting perspective to the serpent and the apple, the fall of man, and how they had to learn to fare after leaving the garden. 

All in all, this was an interesting read, although not completely captivating, probably due to how short each chapter was. But if you don't want to read a full book on each of the characters, then this would be a good way to gain some insight into some of the Biblical women (although not too sure on the scandalous part in the title).

And no, this is in no way me trying to push you to read Jill Eileen Smith, She just writes good books. If you're interested in fictional retellings of other Biblical women as well, here are some more recs:
Esther: A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf
Hosea and Gomer: Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews
Solomon and Arielah: Love's Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews
Rahab: Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar 
Annah (wife of Shem): The Heavens Before by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow
Samson and Delilah: Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah by Ginger Garrett
Mary Magdelene: Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf
Martha: Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor
Ruth: Ruth: Mother of Kings by Diana Wallis Taylor
and more that can be found from these authors.

I received an ecopy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Carol Cook:

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