I’m not a fan of the romance genre. I dislike stories that deceive young women with the lie that the rogue will reform for love or that electrifying sex is the most important aspect of a relationship. But romance sells, and even Christian fiction often centers around the question of whether or not the girl will end up with the right man.
Jill Eileen Smith Wives of King David Series is romance with a twist. Biblical history takes a surprisingly realistic view of life and relationships. David, the shepherd-king who was a man after God’s own heart, is shown with all his flaws.
The story of Michal, the daughter of King Saul who fell in love with her father’s rival, has enough intrigue to satisfy the most ardent fan of romantic suspense. Her father is plagued by demons and although in one of his better moments it pleased him to give Michal to David in marriage, he is still sick with jealousy over David’s popularity with the people and tries repeatedly to kill him. Michal helps David escape, but what follows are years of separation, a second marriage, and final defeat for the house of Saul. Smith’s book does not have a fairy tale ending. It can’t. The Bible is not a fairy tale, and reality can be sad and painful. Can Michal overcome her bitterness and resolve her relationship with her first love? Smith’s ending is more satisfying than a shallow happy-ever-after.
The second book in the series is Abigail. Michal began with young love, but how can you write a romance about the third wife of a man didn’t stop with three? Jill Eileen Smith takes on the challenge of a polygamous household and explores the misunderstandings and failures of intimacy that happen in all marriages. Abigail is the godly wife in Smith’s scenario, but even though she and her husband, David, are seeking the Lord, they make mistakes, jump to conclusions and hurt one another without intending to—just as happens in a modern marriage, however Christian the couple may be.
Traditionally sequels follow one another chronologically, but Michal and Abigail overlap in a fascinating way. Incidents in David’s life that are skipped or only hinted at in the first book are more clearly developed in the second. Abigail appears briefly in book 1. Michal appears in the second, but our understanding is greater because of what we have already read. I look forward to seeing them both through the eyes of Bathsheba, the next volume planned for this series. Actually, I’m hoping this engaging writer will give us a close look at Maacah, mother of David’s handsome, but rebellious son, Absalom, as well.
I highly recommend this series as well-written historical fiction that will make you do some hard thinking about your own romantic relationship.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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