This Biblical historical focuses on a little known Queen: Michal, daughter of King Saul, wife to King David. At first we can empathize with Michal’s happiness as she grows up in a loving family and eventually attains the marriage she thinks she desires. We feel her frustration and hurt as the years pass since David fled Saul’s wrath, with no word of possible rescue from her forced new marriage and exile. Time and the love of this new family heal the wounds of her spirit, and she is content.
Enter David, after ten long years, who installs Michal as his Queen, not for love but for politics. To attain and keep his kingship, David’s life is paved on his lies, ambition, and the blood of any in his way. This includes Michal’s beloved second husband.
It is at this point, where Michal is as much prisoner as Queen, that Edghill’s writing declines. Edghill would have us believe that Michal’s smoldering hate and need to expose David as the monster he is enables her to become the unseen puppeteer of destiny. Bathsheba, depicted as a naive, simpering personality, is just not credible. The historical changes the author makes in the placement of events and the nature of key characters are not justified strongly enough for us to think, “Yes, it could have been this way.”
Although the novel is pleasant enough to read in itself, Edghill falls into one of the many traps that await writers who take an obscure character from the annals of history and thrust them into the star role. The Bible refers too little to Michal, and Edghill overcompensates. The result, instead of heightening awareness and honoring Michal’s role in history, prevents us from believing in this Queen’s ability to influence destiny.