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Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,521 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
The only woman in the Bible who is noted to have loved a man, Queen Michal was King David's childhood sweetheart, his first wife, and daughter of his great friend and greater enemy, King Saul. Married to and then abandoned by David at age 14, Michal is forced to marry him again and become his first queen ten years later. Thrown into transition and turmoil, Queen Michal res ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published December 1st 1999)
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Jun 05, 2009 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having studied the story of David very closely, I was delighted to see that India Edghill’s story deftly releases the inherent tensions hidden in the conventional biblical accounts of this hero of the Old Testament. No one could be that powerful and "heroic" without also being ruthless and self-centered! Not only are is the era (ca. 1000BCE) drawn in a palpable, realistic, sensual way, but also the behind-the-scenes motives and machinations which help explore and fill in the gaps between David t ...more
My husband spotted this book on the library shelf and handed it to me. When I read the inside cover, I was really intrigued - a novel that shows King David's life from the perspective of Michal, his first wife. That should be interesting!

Well... I didn't like the narrating style. This tells the story of Michal and also of David's rise to power but it was narrated from the perspective of Michal's final days of life, as if she was looking back on her life. Therefore, there was a lot of "I thought
Jan 16, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Queenmaker, by India Edghill, was fabulous! I loved it. Every bit as good as its sequel I read a few years ago, Wisdom's Daughter, by the same author. I happen to love historical fiction, also the misrash-y type books that fill in the spaces of the women and stories of our biblical times. I had never heard of, or knew much about Queen Michal, but I loved her character and the twists and turns of the story. It was a delight, and the writing was terrific. I'll spoil the writing at the end, but not ...more
Morgan Dhu
I thoroughly enjoyed India Edghill's Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen, the story of Michal, daughter of King Saul and wife of King David. Basing her interpretation on a few Biblical references, Edghill fleshes out the character of Michal (and the other women in David's life, including Bathsheba and Abishag) in a highly believable fashion.

Equally interesting is her portrayal of David, from the young shepherd, harper and hero beloved - and feared - by Saul, to the ruthless warrior who un
Sep 28, 2012 AlixJamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Zuber-Harshman
India Edghill paints a vivid picture of life and love during the reign of the Biblical King David. She draws the reader along on every step she takes, generally giving only enough description for you to "see" what is occurring.

She creates true characters that have flaws, admirable qualities, fears, frustrations, and desires. Ms. Edghill also artfully entices you from one chapter or section to another. She frequently ends with a sense of foreboding, keeping you wondering what will happen.

The th
May 27, 2012 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an imaginative (and dare I say it?) realistic take on King David; quite honestly, I've never been able to read the Psalms or the portions relating to David the way I used to before reading this novel. I think this speaks to the way the author weaves Biblical accounts in and out of a deep understanding of the culture of the times and the relationships between men and women, fathers and children, kings and their subjects.

However, the hardback edition I read was in serious need of an editor
Sep 07, 2007 Brie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the spirit of The Red Tent, this novel tells the story of of a Biblical woman, Michal, the daughter of King Saul and the wife of King David. As women's roles in the Bible are often vague and overshadowed by men's, this attempts to tell some of the stories from the Old Testament how Michal must have experienced them. The author has some great historical research tied in and the story is engrossing. It is also a very harsh criticism of David, the man, and brings his legend under the shadow of h ...more
Oct 03, 2014 Mandi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I was delighted at the premise of this book, I find that I ended up quite disappointed. The thing that annoyed me the most about the book is the Biblical inaccuracies. Although the Bible provides many details about David's story, very little is known about Michal and their relationship. Additionally, little is known about Bathsheba. As such, it seems that the author would stick to the few facts provided and use her creativity to fill in the rest. Unfortunately, she seems to have thrown ...more
Anne Fine
Sep 13, 2014 Anne Fine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent characterization, excellent story, excellent historical accuracy. So why not a 5 star rating? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was refreshing hearing the familiar story through the perspective of David's first wife, Michal. However, I really disliked the author's depiction of King David as a one dimensional character. One of the Bible's most revered and beloved characters is turned into a completely wretched and unlikeable person. The reason David is so beloved is BECAUSE he is such ...more
Jodi Wolper
Aug 21, 2016 Jodi Wolper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason this book sat on my unread stack for a while. Once I started I was transported by Micah. I found this book to be an accurate record of the timeline of the life of David, and is indeed a work of fiction that brings color and entertainment.

Along with each chapter I read the noted scriptures at the beginning of the chapters. I don't agree with Amazon's review stating "Turning inside out the traditional view of David as a beloved king and gentle author of the Psalms". The book of Sa
Perhaps I should have seen the blurb on the front cover from People magazine, lauding the "vivid attention to historical detail" as a warning. At any rate, I was intrigued to read the story of King David from the perspective of his first wife. But this was a travesty in many ways. While there were places where I found the character of Michal to be sympathetic, she was largely annoying. And aside from the short segment (never even a full verse) of a verse from II Samuel that preceded each chapter ...more
Zohar -
I enjoyed India Edghill's Delilah: A Novel very much so I figured I'll pick up her novel "Queenmaker" as a follow-up.

The book is a first person narrative of Michal, King David's first wife (out of several) and the one to hold the title of Queen. The book follows the biblical books of Samuel and II Samuel from Michal's perspective; from her humble beginning as a daughter of Saul, a humble farmer, through his ascension to king, wars and madness. After marrying her father's harper / war hero David
Jun 21, 2009 Sandie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With an abundance of historical and biblical fact, a bit of speculation and a dash of supposition, India Edghill has created an exciting and admirable character in Michal, daughter of Saul (Israel's first King)
and first wife of David. We are introduced to Michal first as the naïve farmer's daughter who, through a prophetic event, realizes every young girls dream when she becomes a princess. She meets David, the handsome, charismatic young Shepard and slayer of giants (a man who her father views
Beth Cato
This is a work of biblical historical fiction, and I bought it solely because the cover blurb said it was on the same level as The Red Tent, one of my favorite books of recent years. Unfortunately, it's not anywhere near as good as that book.[return][return]The story is a first-person account of Michal, daughter of King Saul and first wife of David. At heart, it's a story about the power of men and how they abuse that power, and how even repressed women can earn power in their own right. This in ...more
Can we stop trying to re-write "The Red Tent" and just shoot for interesting female characters with brains and hearts who don't necessarily have to be "ahead of their time" to the point of absurdity or living in worlds populated solely by oppressive, barbaric, idiotic men who's only goal in life is to subjugate women under the guise of either beating the shit out of them or "taking care of them?" I KNOW Christianity is inherently misogynistic (I seriously just spent 10 minutes trying to spell th ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Christine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The story of King David told from the perspective of his first wife, Michal. Narrated in first person Michal narrates the entire story of their relationship from when she volunteered to be David's consolation wife (when her father Saul refused to allow a marriage between David and his elder daughter), to when David fled leaving her behind, their subsequent marriages to other people, David's demand that she return to him, her hatred and resentment towards him, and ultimately her plotting to ensur ...more
Mary Collins
May 02, 2015 Mary Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like historical novels, you will enjoy this one. Queen Michal is not a well-known historical figure but the men in her life - her father, King Saul and husband, King David - are very well known. (Yes, King David of David and Goliath fame.) People that were just dry names from long-ago bible classes to me came to life in this book. As always, the struggle for power in the courts of kings never ceases to fascinate. Five stars from me!
Debra Track
Aug 14, 2012 Debra Track rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it. Easy read. Writing was at the level I expected for the "weight" of the novel. Some turns of phrase are out of place for the setting of the story bit they didn't bother me nor detract from my enjoyment of the storytelling.

One of the elements I did appreciate were the portions of biblical passages at each chapter head. CAVEAT: I'm in NO WAY a religious zealot or anything resembling that ilk AT ALL. I liked these chapter "starters" (whatever they're called) simply because as I read t
Mar 15, 2015 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Similar to The Red Tent, but not as good. Although it took big liberties with the biblical story, it did keep me reading to the end, because the writing overall was good. Michal was an engaging character, she was strong and feisty, but I was very unhappy with how David was portrayed. This was too one-sided a story, and the author had some sort of personal agenda she was promoting. I don't recommend it unless you are a flaming feminist, which I'm not.
Ashlee Willis
Jul 29, 2013 Ashlee Willis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
One of my favorite books from one of my favorite authors. India Edghill is an superb writer - she has a way with words that can send shivers of pleasure up my spine. I floated straight into "Queenmaker" and didn't come up for air until I was finished.

I grabbed this book initially to read because I had always felt a bit sorry for David's queen, Michal. I thought a book written from her POV would be intriguing. I was not disappointed. I cannot vouch for the book's absolute Biblical accuracy, but w
Disappointed. The author deviated so much from the original story that I found it hard to digest. I understand that it's fiction based on history, and I enjoyed the author's thoughts on how David's first wife may have felt, it was too far fetched. Her LOVE and adoration for Bathsheba was not believable, and David is cast so ugly that there is no loving him at all.
Deborah Pickstone
India Edghill has officially become a favourite author. I really enjoy the recent trend for retelling Biblical stories within novels - it's history and like history; every tale is different, though based on the same meagre facts or records (which may or may not contain anything factual at all). I am, in my poor way, an amateur historian, not a seeker in faith, so I see the stories as more legend - and history - than Word. But I can't deny that my own upbringing was flavoured with Church and my o ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I really enjoyed the story the author created around some very famous biblical characters.

I don't really know what to say other than that. Great story, great characters, satisfying ending. If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly set in biblical times, this book is right up there with The Red Tent and The Dovekeepers.
Elaine Cougler
Aug 19, 2016 Elaine Cougler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Queenmaker by India Edghill was a pleasant surprise sent to me by mistake. The wife of King David, Michal is the epitome of queenly grace, yet she manages to hold on to her inner self through all of King David's machinations. A great story.
Nyneve Beebe
Mar 24, 2008 Nyneve Beebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: open-minded people looking for a good story
I was somewhat concerned going into this book. Having read the little bit of Michal's story that the Bible had to offer, I dreaded what I knew would happen.

This was a great story. I knew going into it that it was a fictional account of the life of King David's first wife Michal. I wasn't expecting it to be otherwise. With that in mind, I was able to truly enjoy it for what it was. It also gave me an interesting view of the story. Too many times the women in history are overlooked. People don't
Melissa Water
I found the interpretation of the story interesting. Clearly to expand on what was said in the bible there had to be inventive additions which I thought was well done. I only gave it 3 stars because it wasn't that gripping.
Wiebke Kuhn
A quick read, the book pulls one of the many invisible women of the Old Testament into the spot light. Focusing on Michal as she learns to live with David and, later, to manipulate him, the book draws on sparse references to tell a story that shows David as a narcissist.
Mar 05, 2010 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started this book, I partially expected this novel to take a Harlequin romance detour. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I was engulfed by this fascinating biblical era when Kings began to rule in Israel. Told through the words of King David's first wife and Queen, it is a fascinating tale of Kings (David, Saul and Solomon), prophets and the women behind them. Once I picked it up, I find it hard to put down and I finished it within a 2 days!

There style of this book is simila
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A reference librarian by profession, India Edghill's interest in history is long-standing; her father was a major history buff whose favorite authors were Will & Ariel Durant. India inherited his love of research and history. Her favorite areas are the Ancient Near East, Victorian England, and India at any period. India lives in upstate New York, USA, with a comfort of spaniels, a lounge of ca ...more
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