‘Desired’ by Ginger Garrett

D GGSTORY: Meet the legendary Samson as you’ve never known him before … through the eyes of the three women who loved him.

Before Samson was an Old Testament legend, he was a prodigal son, an inexperienced suitor, a vengeful husband, and a lost soul driven by his own weakness. This is his story as told by three strong women who loved him—the nagging, manipulative mother who pushed him toward greatness, the hapless Philistine bride whose betrayal propelled him into notoriety, and the emotionally damaged seductress—the famous Delilah—who engineered his downfall and propelled him to his destiny. Desired celebrates the God of Israel’s to work powerfully in the midst of hopes, fears, desires, and sorrows.

REVIEW: Being a fan of Bible stories in general and of Samson’s story in particular, I really was looking forward to reading this book as it tells his story from a totally different point of view, that of the three very important women in his life.

From the start of this book, I knew it would be different and I thought I was prepared for it, but I was still surprised by its content. Ginger Garrett took this story into the direction I never imagined before.

I didn’t really expect an accounting about Samson from the Bible nor the movie I saw long time ago with Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, but I also didn’t expect this sweaty, smelly beast of a man who goes after what he wants without caring who he hurts. A man in this book is vicious, vengeful and way too dark. He was unappealing and I couldn’t picture him at all as a hero.

Delilah on the other hand was the only character that made this story worth the read. Her characters evolution was well written and I enjoyed watching her become the seductress we all read about in the Bible.

If you’re looking for a different viewpoint of this story, and one that offers at times a sensual, dark and emotional view, you might like it. Personally, I found it too depressing.

*Book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Merry Christmas!

Peace on Earth

Today we celebrate the birth of Our Savior and one birthday unlike any other in the whole universe…

Wishing you a very merry and peaceful Christmas Day and this whole holiday season.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:11

For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

‘Pearl in The Sand’ by Tessa Afshar

STORY: Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well—walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith …of pride; a marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

REVIEW: I am a Christian and I own and read my Bible. The story of Rahab is not new to me. I’ve ‘listened’ sermons about it, yet until reading ‘Pearl in the Sand’ I never really ‘heard’ it.

Rahab is fifteen years old, living with her parents, two brothers and a sister-in-law in Jericho, Canaan. To aid her family’s survival, her father is forced to turn his beautiful and innocent girl into a prostitute. There are no choices left to either of them, and both will need to come to terms with the shame that will follow both for a long time.

Even though she struggles to accept the road she now travels, this young woman exhibits maturity, strength and intuitiveness, so it’s not a surprise that two years later, at seventeen, she becomes an inn owner. Her property has a ‘desired’ location and her clientele is as always chosen well and only by her.

The first time she hears about Hebrews and their God, she’s twenty-six and the story her lover relates to her makes no sense and she has a hard time believing that unsophisticated and unarmed people who have no home, can be so powerful as to part sea’s and destroy Sihon’s army. Yet the rumors kept growing to such a degree that the people of Jericho were gripped with fear, and in that fear their idolatry grew. Temple priests kept the fires burning and the stench of burned human flesh could be smelled a league away.

As a girl Rehab saw one such sacrifice of her beloved baby nephew, and from the moment they snatched him from her loving arms, she vowed never to step foot nor pray to those gods that would accept an innocent life as a payment for their favors.

One day as she’s entertaining Debir, her new lover who’s a high general in the army, she listens as he’s telling her of Hebrew’s One True God; a God with compassion for his people; a God who doesn’t require a statue built of him nor can you see him or touch him. One minute her heart longs for this God of compassion, and in the next her hopes are dashed as Debir tells her that this God condemns prostitutes by having them stoned to death! To finally encounter the Hebrew Lord of compassion only to realize that He is her enemy, was ironic. One fallen woman of Jericho longing for a Hebrew God! As always, she knew that she shouldn’t let herself believe or trust in no one but herself.

This is not so much a story of Joshua and the Israelites conquering Jericho, as it is a story of Rahab and her life in a land in which wickedness knew no bounds. It’s a story of a woman who must accept and forgive herself fully, while at the same time embracing the true God. As she proclaims ‘I believe!’ the reader can’t help but feel Rahab’s elation.

It’s also a story of forgiveness, acceptance, redemption and love. We get to see this woman fall in love with her true soul mate, Salmone. Their love has a few bumps in the road but once he submits to God, he understands this strong woman and has no choice but to love and respect her.

This is an amazing story and  Tessa Afshar told it so beautifully that you won’t even think of it as a Bible Story. Not even close! But, this is also not your typical Romance either, despite being a love story. Love of God for his people, even for a Canaanite prostitute.

I appreciated Ms. Afshar taking the time to research the scripture as well as History. Without the extensive research and her fertile imagination we would never have ‘felt’ the story. It would have become just another Sermon. Instead we come away feeling blessed by the story of one woman’s quest for peace and love in her life.

She finds both and the road to it is long, at times painful and might have been doomed, but for the grace of God.

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on her name*

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*