In A Milk & Honeyed Land

Written by Richard Abbott
Review by Rachel Malone

We are introduced to the hill country of Canaan here and the life of a village priest.  His life, his loves, his family and the introduction of a new people into their land, the betrayal by the chief of the locale and the loss of loved ones.  In a time where chiefs and priests were chosen by merit of their actions rather than bloodlines, In A Milk and Honeyed Land is a look at an area widely ignored in favour of the more glamorous neighbour, Egypt.

Without a doubt this is an intriguing book.  This isn’t a book to read if you’re expecting adventure and excitement, indeed it’s a slow read and, in places, arduous.  That isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable: it is.  The lives of these ordinary people are brought to life on the page in a way that’s absorbing and credible. The changes that are going to take place in this area are quite incredible and it’s a pleasure to read about the maternal lineage and how a daughter of a house inherits from her mother, the son of another house expected to move in with the daughter. The bereavement rituals including scarification, religious ceremonies that hold elements of doubt, the way a girl is not scorned for having a child out of wedlock. All of these make for a wonderous land that seems both alien and yet somehow familiar.

I wouldn’t normally make comment on the cover or blurb on a book, however in this instance I believe the author could do with making changes.  There is little on the blurb to indicate the story contained and the cover of a bee gathering pollen, while attractive, again gives very little indication of the story inside. It is a concern that potential readers may put this book down if it were seen in a bookshop simply due to lack of information.