For Leah, her father is outwardly a very godly man. In the home, he is abusive, and Leah has learned how to survive. When Leah marries Judah, she believes her life will no longer be overshadowed by violence. But when the king decrees that any who do not confirm to Syrian law will be put to death, Judah’s family finds themselves at the forefront of a war for religious freedom. Despairing that the once-gentle man she married is now a warrior, Leah questions why God allows such disappointment in her life. In Leah’s mind, a happy man has no reason to fight, so what has she done wrong? Will Judah raise his hand to her? Meanwhile Judah is taking on the mantle of commander after his father’s death. Can he listen to God over all else, especially when the odds number greatly against his army?
Set 168 years before Christ’s birth, book 2 of Hunt’s The Silent Years stands apart from Egypt’s Sister, the previous book in the series. Chapters alternate between Judah’s and Leah’s points of view. The way Leah copes with her early home life is sensitively explored and compassionately told. When her new family begins their revolt against the king, the story shifts from Leah’s story to Judah’s. His chapters become longer, and sometimes there are two consecutive Judah-narrated chapters. Thus, I found the title a bit misleading. The story isn’t so much about Leah as it is about the struggles for religious freedom and how families are impacted. Overall, I found the story very compelling. Hunt does a great job making the time period come alive. Her two narratives blend well, and the characters are well fleshed out. Recommended.