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Miriam by Mesu Andrews

26067635
Summary (from Goodreads):
The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

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This book tells the story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt, told from the point of view of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. I think this is the first biblical fiction book that I've read. I found it interesting and thought that it was a good exploration of the life of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron. Although Miriam had a very important role in the life of Israel, and obviously in her brothers' lives, the Bible doesn't actually tell us that much about her, and we don't know much about how any of the characters were affected by the events that occurred during this time. How did she feel when her brother Moses returned to Egypt after forty years in the wilderness, proclaiming that God wanted to free Israel from slavery? How were she and those around her affected by the plagues and the events surrounding them? This book helps to answer these questions and to explore what Miriam's life might have been like and how she might have thought and felt about what was going on at this time. The story covers the period from just before Moses' return to Israel until the crossing of the Red Sea.
 
I really liked the character of Miriam and I thought that the depiction of her inner struggles was well done. I also liked how the story makes you consider what the consequences of the plagues and the events surrounding them might have been, both for the Hebrews and the Egyptians, and for the relations between the two nations. From a historical viewpoint it seemed mostly accurate and there is quite a bit of historical detail which helps you to understand the context of the time. I think too that it does help to give the reader new insights into the story and the characters who appear in it.

There were some things about the story that I didn't like as much. There were a couple of romantic subplots that I didn't particularly care for (I don't think they were badly done, I just wasn't particularly invested in them). Although I thought that Miriam was a really good character, I found that many of the characters in the story weren't that interesting (and a few of their attitudes seemed a bit too modern for the time period), and I felt that the story dragged a bit for me in the middle (although it started and ended pretty strong). There were a few events in the story that I thought were unlikely, although I realise that it is fiction and we can't know for sure about a lot of the things that happened.

So overall, I did enjoy this book although there were parts of it that I didn't find interesting or didn't particularly care for. I did feel that it gave me a deeper understanding of the events surrounding the Israelites' escape from Egypt, in particular how they would have affected the people involved in them, and raised some interesting points to consider. I would recommend it to people who like this sort of fiction or are interested in finding out more about the events in portrays.

Some quotes that I liked:
"Never be grateful for tragedy, but always trust that God can use it in His good plan for you."

"We can tell you how El Shaddai makes Himself known to us, but only He can teach you [to know Him] - as you trust Him."

"Anyone can develop a God sense similar to the way we use other senses to experience things. Though we can't taste, touch, see, hear, or smell our invisible God, He sometimes uses those experiences to communicate His nearness."
 
Rating: 3/5
 
You can read the first few chapters for free here.
 
Find it on Goodreads or Amazon or visit the author's website.
 
I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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