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The Song of Hannah
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The Song of Hannah

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  495 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In the tradition of the international bestseller The Red Tent comes a beautiful, sexy novel featuring Hannah, one of the most well-known and beloved heroines of the Old Testament. Hannah and Pninah, once close childhood friends, become rivals for the attention of Elkanah, the man who has married them both. Pninah, passionate and independent, easily bears Elkanah many child ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Plume Books (first published 2005)
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Feb 15, 2008 Melissa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Interesting look at the story of Hannah. It tells the lives of the two wives of Elkanah, one of which was Hannah the mother of Samuel. Although it tries to bring to light the womens struggles of being one of two wives the text seems to take huge liberties in the missing holes of the biblical text. The bible says that Samuel was highly respected and that it was his SONS that did not follow in his ways and turned away from God, NOT Samuel as the author implies. The bible goes on to say that the pe ...more
Scandal, sex, and the Bible? Why they definitely do go hand-in-hand. This book put an interesting spin on the biblical story of the prophet Samuel. Given the time period that the Bible was written in, it was extremely rare to hear a woman's point of view. This story shares two: Hannah's and Pninah's, both of whom were married to the same man. One had all his love, but couldn't seem to bear his child, while the other had all his lust, but nothing else. I found it interesting that today we talk ab ...more
Also recommended by my favorite independent bookstore, this was right up my alley. Historical fiction using biblical figures who alternate telling syncronistic stories -- Hannah and Pninah, wives of Elkanah -- this book explores the sexual and emotional lives of two very talented, intelligent, and socially oppressed women. The underlying momentum of the story is an unfolding of the origins of Samuel, Hannah's son, who she sacrafices to the temple and who becomes a reluctant but unmistakable prop ...more
Kristin Walcott Figueroa
For me, this book should have been titled the song of Pninah. Her story spoke more loudly and evoked more emotion from me than Hannah's story. The book is written in both equal parts of Hannah and Pninah. Their lives were deeply entwined. But very early on I had a loathing for Hannah and quickly sided with Pninah and felt compassion and understanding for all that she did and celebrated her joys.

It is a story of two girlhood friends who come to share the same husband. This circumstance destroys t
Beautifully written. It kept me at the edge of my seat and left me craving it and wanting more. I did side wih Pninah and found her stories much more intresting and l could relate to her. I love how every single character was portrayed and even though Elkanah was not meant to be a villain, i did find myself hating him and that dislike for him never went away. I do understand that this story was not close or accurate to the story in the Bible but it was entertaining and i truly enjoyed it. Great ...more
Set in biblical Israel this is the tale of Salomon's Mother and family. There is the beautiful Hannah who is graceful and the epitome of the Hebrew woman. Pninah is beautiful, passionate and independent. These two women share the same husband. Pninah bears children easily while Hannah is barren for many years. Until Hannah conceives Salomon who she has promised to the Lord. Salomon becomes a great prophet and the two woman share a great love for him. It is a wonderful look at Hebrew life and the ...more
Whoa... There was a whole lot of sexin' happening in this book. I enjoyed it, though it did make me feel a little uncomfortable at times - too much vagina talk. That said, I do enjoy a good biblical yarn. I would recommend this to anyone that read Sarah or the Red Tent and liked them.

Leah de Leon
I love all books about women in the bible, and Eva Etzioni-Halevy is one of the best out there who tells stories from the past very beautifully you'll feel as if you're there right in their minds - traveling with them in their journeys, love and life.
Very disappointing book. I didn't like the "red tent" for the same reason. She took many huge liberties with Samuel the prophet. Apparently the reason Samuel moved back to the land of his parents was because he was secretly in love with his aunt. Dumb.
Arlene Shulman/Lichtman
Loved this book! Story of two women's lives during biblical times. Book goes from one women to the other (like a diary.) Definitely worth reading. Also found it educational about that period.
Sep 04, 2007 Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Biblical Fiction
Well written. Interesting bible story and examination of the conflict between multiple wives but it just didn't speak to me. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind while reading it.
Dawn Posh
I loved this book. It showed the deep felt emotions of 2 women and their relationships with each other and the men in their lives. It's a very quick read.
Carolyne Ogden
Not as rich or detailed as 'The Red Tent,' although this book is similar in that it is a fictional history and backstory of women who are mentioned in a few verses in the Bible. Based on the experiences of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel and her one-time dearest friend, Peninah, who are both wives to Samuel's father, Elkanah. The novel is told in alternating chapters by each woman, and explores their troubled and complex relationship with one another as well as the relationships of each ...more
Entertaining historical fiction about the prophet, Samuel. Delving well into the Hebrew and Cannonite culture, exploring human faults, temptations, and sexuality. The book is titled after Hannah, though it's split in half, with Pninah narrating a major part of the book. The first part of the book tells the story of Hannah (Samuel's mother)and Pninah, they are best friends who grew up together and are close confidantes. At fiftenn, Pninah marries Elkanah, whom she loves deeply. Shortly after thei ...more
Jeansue Libkind
The Song of Hannah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy: There is a sizeable subgenre of women’s novels retelling Old Testament stories from the heroine’s point of view; The Red Tent was an excellent example. Some are little more than chick-lit. The best of them document daily life in ancient Israel adding depth and understanding to Bible stories; they correct the male-centric nature of the original. The savvy authors walk a fine line: can they convey the Biblical icons from 4,000 years ago in a manner that t ...more
A biblical novel of love, temptation, sorrow and redemption. This is such an engrossing tale bringing to life the ancient times before Christ. The author did a fabulous job creating storyline embellishments coinciding with the habits and customs of this time in history weaving Hannah's story. I believe this is the most sensual biblical fiction novel I've ever read. Highly recommend this book.
Elisha (lishie)
Feb 22, 2008 Elisha (lishie) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Old Testament/historical fiction lovers
"Hannah, the epitome of goodness and grace..." I felt Hannah was far from good. Very far. I began reading this book thinking, "Can I like a book if I dislike the narrator?" And I did end up enjoying it just to find out what happens. It also helped that each chapter alternated between Hannah and her sister wife, Pninah who's story I enjoyed more. I felt for Pninah but could not stand Hannah. While this was overall a good novel, I feel it strayed far from biblical story of Hannah as Samuel's mothe ...more
Tired and one dimensional: woman with desire for sex and social status tries to satisfy her needs in misogynist context. Dim imitation of Diamondt's Red Tent. This book would be enjoyed by readers of romance novels, and less so by those interested in history, religion, or women's studies.
This is the story of Hannah and her first born son, Samuel from Samuel 1 of the Bible. Other than a few facts from the Bible, however, the rest of the story is a fictional account. It follows Hannah and her best friend, Pninnah from age 14 as they meet and fall in love with their future shared husband, Elkanah. I was somewhat offended by the focus on sexuality throughout most of the book, but perhaps this was culturally accurate and a sign of their neighboring tribes of the Caananites.
This was not at all how Hannah is portrayed in the Bible. The story itself was rather interesting in light of historical times and what life might have been like in Israel at this time, but most of it was pure fiction and not what the Bible has to say about the characters. The focus seemed to be more on the lust of the characters and their unfulfilled sensual desires. The story was told from 2 viewpoints - that of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and her rival wife Pninnah. Alternating between the ...more
Niki Whiteside
I thought this was a very good book. After reading 'Mary, Called Magdelene' I was drawn to find similar types of books. This book does a great job helping to understand the time period and providing an understanding of how things differed, or didn't, between those days and today.

The story goes back and forth between Hannah and Pninah and does a good job of presenting separate personalities for the two characters. I did find myself more drawn to Pninah because I felt her character was better deve
It was difficult for me to give this book three stars. I ususally reserve that for books that I would recommend others read, and I do not recommend this book. It was trivial; women are sexually repressed, men can sleep with whom ever they like, and pagans will die. My favorite character was Pninah, who at least stood up to the system and said, I deserve better. Hannah was a sap; the Lord expects me to do great things. Really, besides sleeping with your husband and giving birth, you did nothing t ...more
Carol Simon
Another wonderful modern midrash. Well written, fast-paced with well-limned characters.
THE SONG OF HANNAH is historical fiction. It not the story of Samuel as told in the bible. It is however entertaining reading. Pninah, first wife of Elkanah is forced to accept Hannah, her childhood friend, as second wife. Both women love Elkaneh. The tale of their years of rivalry, descriptions of the times (1100' s), children, love affairs and subsequent consequences make a good read. Samuel, son of Hannah, is more a " side" story. Samuel lusts after Pninah, his father's wife, such a relations ...more
This is historical fiction about the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel from the Old Testament.

Why do authors writing biblical fiction feel that it's necessary to slander the good men of the bible in order to celebrate the women? You'd think from reading this book that sex was the central focus of Penninah and Elkanah's lives. Samuel's character in the book is like a robotic psychic.

The book was pure crap!
Aug 20, 2009 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: My daughter
Two women sharing a husband is not the ideal, but they do learn to watch out for each other, and being educated they teach others and write letters for people. The Lord does work in mysterious ways. The story line for Samuel I'm not sure I can agree on; I know this is a historical novel but......
Observing the people of the times, they had their foibles too, and some are still in existance today.
At first glance, this book reminded me of The Red Tent, a book I loved, that brought a biblical story to life. However, it turned out this book was a glorified porno with some telemundo thrown in. It keeps you interested if you like that type of stuff, otherwise, I'd skip it.
Chris Antenen
This could have been a superb book, but fell short in a literary sense. The story was captivating, but a sameness of events seemed to permeate the book. Some parts realistic, others historical guesses and still others hard to connect with reality. Reminded me of The Red Tent.
More Biblical Fiction that seeks to make those called by God to be "human" by debasing them. While I do not believe these individuals were perfect, I do believe they were obedient to the Law of Moses.

I will not be finishing this book.
Tricia Geil
2 and 1/2 stars.

Poor character development. All anyone seemed concerned about was sex. I also thought the depiction of the time period was inconsisitent; there were often some very modern descriptions.
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Eva Etzioni-Halevy is professor emeritus of political sociology at Bar-Ilan
Univeristy, Israel, now turned into a biblical novelist. A child Holocaust
survivor, she was born in Vienna, Austria. She managed to escape as a small
child with her parents in 1939 and spent World War II in Italy, partly in an
Italian concentration camp and partly in hiding. She moved to what was then
Palestine in 1945. S
More about Eva Etzioni-Halevy...
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