Sarai: A Novel
Biblical women make fascinating heroines. They’re strong. Their stories are larger-than-life, epic adventures. But what makes these women particularly irresistible characters for historical fiction is that their personal lives are not very well fleshed out in the primary source. That leaves a lot of room for a novel to take off. Sarai, a Christian romance by Jill Eileen Smith, is a wonderful example of the genre. It follows Sarai, Abram’s beautiful and well-loved wife, from the early days of the marriage through their long years together. Those aware of the Bible story know that Abram was commanded by God to leave the home of his father for a new land and promised that his heirs would make a great nation. Unfortunately, Sarai was barren. Their journey is fraught with peril, adventure, spiritual growth, and romance. Smith brings familiar episodes alive with rich detail and poignant emotion. However, immersing oneself in the culture and customs of 2051 BC can be a bit jarring when reading a romance – Sarai and Abram are half-brother and sister. It took a while to get past that before I could appreciate the development of their relationship as much as I did the rest of the plot.