Review of Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty by Angela Hunt

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Genre: Biblical Fiction

Series: Dangerous Beauty (Book 2)

51ximKyn5jL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This narrative of Bathsheba’s life covers a large portion of Scripture from the moment that King David spies and acquisitions Bathsheba to the moment when Solomon is finally crowned king. It is carefully written not to contradict Scripture, while creatively adding in character and plot details to capture the larger picture of the biblical story.

Those familiar with these Scriptures will remember the prominent sins (lust, rape, murder, jealousy, pride, etc.) that may not be appropriate themes for younger readers. The opening chapters were pretty sensual compared to other fictitious Christian works (i.e. beginning with Bathsheba’s marriage to Uriah, her subsequent rape by the king, and an oddly misplaced moment of the prophet Nathan envisioning Bathsheba while being intimate with his own un-loved wife). The story is told in the first person from both Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan’s perspective in succinct alternating chapters. The author’s choice to cast Nathan as a love-struck guardian over Bathsheba felt inappropriate to me even with the human plausibility factor.

The story also lacked anticipation at times. That is, it moved slowly–not because the details were uninteresting, but because the character motivations were not always strong enough to create enough suspense to pull the story along. It is a captivating narrative because it provides an interesting take on familiar biblical characters; but if it were not for the Bible, the story would not have enough substance to move it forward.

Overall I enjoyed reading this for its intriguing perspective–not just of Bathsheba, but of David, the politics of his kingdom, and the relationships within the royal household. It motivated me to revisit the biblical stories, and (for the most part) kept my attention. But, I also think these characters and this story could be fictionalized better.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.

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