Title: The Triumph of Deborah
Author: Eva Etzioni-Halevy
Publisher: Plume of Penguin Group (2008)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Source: Review copy from author
Deborah, the heroine of this story, is a Biblical figure who was a prophetess and leader in ancient Israel. The people would come to her for guidance and also to judge over their disputes. At the time of this novel there was ongoing enmity between the Israelites and the neighboring Canaanite people. In the story, Deborah convinces the reluctant warrior Barak to attack. When they are victorious, Barak captures two daughters of the Canaanite king (Asherah and Nogah) and brings them to reside in his home. He marries Asherah, the more beautiful of the two princesses even though she hates him for taking her captive. The novel focuses on the lives of three women - Deborah, Asherah and Nogah. It explores the ways in which these women deal with their circumstances and responsibilities. Deborah finds herself estranged from her husband at a time when she is dealing with the burden of protecting her people from their enemies. Asherah and Nogah must learn how to cope with life as captives.
I have not often read historical fiction set in Bible times, so it was interesting to read about this time period. It was a very different life for women in those days. The characters in this novel were quite complex and Eva Etzioni-Halevy wrote a lot about what they were thinking and feeling. The Triumph of Deborah gives an enlightening contrast between Deborah, who was a respected leader and the plight of some captured servant women who were the lowest of the low. I personally felt like the plot was a little too focused on romance. I enjoyed the segments that were about Deborah more so than the love story between Barak and Nogah which seemed a bit melodramatic for my tastes. I would recommend this book for people who usually enjoy historical romance.
Quote: "Sisra had spoken to Deborah as no man had ever dared speak to her before and his words struck her like a slap in the face. Her anger flared up, and this time she retaliated with sharp words of her own." (p.23)
Author Notes: Eva Etzioni-Halevy has also written other Biblical fiction: The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth. She is on Facebook here.
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