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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, September 29, 2003

Rebekah by Orson Scott Card. Series: Women of Genesis. Salt Lake City, Utah : Shadow Mountain, 2001. ISBN: 1570089957

Orson Scott Card is normally known for his science fiction and fantasy work, in which genre he is one of my all time favorite authors. His “Tales of Alvin Maker” series ranks in my list of the top 5 fantasy series of all time. I would willingly read anything he writes, and while his foray into Biblical fiction may have been unexpected, it can’t help but be welcomed by anyone who is willing to give it a chance.

Rebekah is the second title in his “Women of Genesis” series. The first was Rebekah’s mother-in-law, Sarah, published a year earlier. Both are excellent Bible-based stories, intelligently and sensitively written. The next in the series, Rachel and Leah, is forthcoming soon, one hopes.

These books retell the familiar Bible stories from the perspective of these famous Biblical women imagined by the author as it “might have been.” After reading the books, you may even be convinced that this is how it “should have been.” A preface lists sources consulted in developing the stories, and explains some of the choices made in regard to known issues and problems with the Biblical accounts.

Card’s characters are real people with real lives, and they demonstrate genuine human responses to their situations and to the God they worship and believe in, sympathetically and respectfully portrayed. Card provides compellingly plausible motivations for their sometimes complicated behavior. Card himself is a member of the Mormon Church, and this quasi-fundamentalist background obviously contributes significantly to his ability to write successful Biblical fiction.

For someone like myself, who was also raised in a fundamentalist milieu, attending church schools that had “Bible” as one of the regular courses right through high school and college, plus reading and studying Bible stories from a very young age on a daily basis at home and in church, consequently knowing these traditional tales inside out, these retellings are particularly compelling. Best of all, they are superbly entertaining. Highly recommended.

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