Becky's Reviews > Love Amid the Ashes

Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews
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's review
Sep 04, 2012

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Read from September 02 to 05, 2012

Debut Novel + Mesu Andrew’s = Author to Keep an Eye On!

**Spoiler Alert**

Let me start by saying that I am impressed with this author’s debut novel. Was it perfect? No. Was it better than most debuts? Absolutely! I honestly look forward to following Mesu Andrew’s evolution as an author.

I have stewed on this review for a few days now. I decided I could choose one of two routes. I could either look at this book as simply fiction or historical fiction. I settled upon the latter. Had I taken the historical out of the fiction, this would have rated higher. However, I’ve decided there are certain aspects that couldn’t be overlooked.

I’ve settled on a 3.5-star rating. I love historical fiction. I also love to see authors flesh out Biblical Stories that we are all familiar with. Let’s face it. There are so many unknowns when it comes to having a full knowledge of the detailed events of these families. Imagining what their day-to-day lives were like can be an amazing adventure. It can also give us a greater appreciation of the legacy they’ve given us. However, certain facts shouldn’t be changed.

I loved the concept of this story. Job’s wife is never named. Could it have been Dinah? Perhaps. Fathers had a tendency to find spouses for their offspring that shared the same beliefs. The author’s supposition is not original to her book. Rabbinical studies have made the same jump. Does this make it fact? No. However, it could be possible—if the families were contemporaries.

My issues with the story came on several other fronts. First, Dinah was raped. Turning her defilement by Shechem into a willing choice really rubbed me wrong. The fact that she became his wife doesn’t indicate willingness on her part. It shows the leaders of two nations trying to change a course that could lead to violence. It’s not Dinah’s fault that several of her brothers were idiots. Additionally, I believe this experience was a determining factor in the individual that Joseph became. Would he have been so strong in resisting Potipher’s wife if he hadn’t already experienced the heartache that such actions could bring?

Second, I was definitely not fond of how Jacob was portrayed. He really came across as a mean, conniving, insensitive individual. Additionally, he is made out to be a villain for stealing Esau’s birthright and blessing. Had the Lord wanted Esau to be the leader of his people, no deception by Jacob could have changed that. However, when Esau complained to Isaac, Isaac did not rescind the blessing already given to Jacob. Jacob is the third patriarch of God’s covenant people. God doesn’t make mistakes. The leader He chose is Jacob.

Lastly, as centenarians Jacob and Esau are portrayed as angry, jealous, teenagers. Sure Esau was angry. He even plotted to kill Jacob. Jacob was forced to flee his family in order to save his life and fulfill God’s purposes for him. However, many years later when they reunited we are told in Genesis 33:4 “And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” This occurs before the events with Shechem.

Those issues aside, the story is one of unconditional love and humility. Honestly, I shed many tears as each blow was humbly endured by Job. What an example! I am so glad the author remained true to the Biblical account of his suffering. In fact, she actually helped me to visualize his sufferings in a more vivid manner. Often when I read things from the Bible, the Old Testament particularly, I fail to remember that these our human beings with the same emotions shared by each of us. Their hopes, dreams and failings are no less real than ours. As I read, I couldn’t help but put myself in Job’s shoes and wonder how I would measure up. Let’s just say, I didn’t!

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