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(Women of Genesis #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  10,177 ratings  ·  1,055 reviews
Sarai was a child of ten years, wise for her age but not yet a woman, when she first met Abram. He appeared before her in her father's house, filthy from the desert, tired and thirsty. But as the dirt of travel was washed from his body, the sight of him filled her heart. And when Abram promises Sarai to return in ten years to take her for his wife, her fate was sealed.

Paperback, 341 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by Forge (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  10,177 ratings  ·  1,055 reviews

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Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
For being such a nonbelieving atheist-pants, I can get into a Biblical yarn like nobody's business. Whether you believe the tales in the Bible hold any shred of truth or are pure imagination, there's no denying that they have had a mighty influence on Western culture, and I am nothing if not a product of my awesome, cheeseburger-eating, fossil-fuel-burning, Bible-thumping culture. Even if I am a godless heathen.

Being that I am a) a big fan of Biblical fiction and b) objective enough about the
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kristine by: Tara
I chose this series of books wanting to learn more about the time period in which the women of the scriptures lived, and some insight into their lives. That said, I knew that due to the small amount of information we are given about these women in the Bible, the author's telling of the story would constitute his best guess into Sarah's personality, emotions and family life. Even though Sarah is one of the women of the scriptures we know the most about, we still know very little. Having that in ...more
Mar 20, 2008 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings on this book. I didn't love the writing, and some things really bothered me. Because I hold The Bible close to my heart, it was kind of hard for me to read someone else's interpretation of how it may have been- I didn't always agree with his explanations or interpretations of characters. I think he made the "good" people (Sarah, Abraham, Lot) almost TOO good and the "bad" people (Quira, Hagar) too self-absorbed and obviously wrong. I felt that some of characters were just ...more
"She did not know what the future would bring, but because she was married to Abram, she knew that her life would matter, that the world would change and she would be a part of it."

I don't think I would have ever read this book if it hadn't been a book club pick, and I am so glad that it was because I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was absolutely perfect and capture Sarah's voice so well. She really brought this book to life for me and made it a memorable
Leah Polcar
Dec 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
When I was looking at the reviews, I was looking for something that would let me know if this was enjoyable to non-Christians (or despite that it is a Christian/Jewish story). I could only find one review on that issue and that was by someone who claimed to read a lot of fictionalized biblical literature and compared Sarah to that, but since I don't read almost any Christian fiction, I was still hesitant going in. My problem was not the religious element per se, but that it seems to me much ...more
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amidey by: Lisa
I really enjoy Orson Scott Card as an author. He really makes his characters come to life. I am a little frustrated with mixing the fiction aspect with scripture. I feel almost guilty for assuming these people were this way just because he says so, on the other hand he makes them into real people that I can relate to and I find myself thinking how I would handle the situations they were placed in. A little tougher to read than some other books I have read but well worth it!
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I really liked the idea of what Card was trying to do with this novel: to take the very limited view of what happened to one of the women of the old testament and flesh it out into an interesting story. And he was successful, by and large. The story was quite interesting, and Card's admitted literary license fleshed out Sarah and her family to a certain extent.

But there are a couple of reasons I didn't enjoy this story as much as I hoped I would. For starters, the characters, while fleshed out,
T.W. Fendley
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was familiar with this Old Testament story, but Orson Scott Card does a nice job of making the events come to life. As he explains in the epilogue, he includes a lot of historical information from other sources, which gives it an authentic feel. Of course, the story ends at a pivotal moment, foreshadowing the next book in the series, Rebecca (Isaac's wife).

To be fair, I didn't find this as enthralling as Anita Diamant's recasting of another Old Testament tale in The Red Tent, but perhaps
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
I really liked this book--it's similar to "The Red Tent," except not quite so harsh. The story is absorbing, and while it's obvious that Card takes some pretty big liberties, I thought it was for the most part quite believable. It's always uncomfortable for me to see revered figures such as Sarah and Abraham humanized, with less than admirable thoughts and feelings. And I don't agree with his portrayals completely, but he does make you stop and think about what these people really went ...more
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It got a little slow in the middle because I knew the story, but I really enjoyed how it brought the characters to life. It is one thing to read the Bible and learn doctrine, but it is another to realize that these people had lives. They had to deal with such different issues with regards to their faith and every-day life. It was interesting to think about. It makes me want to re-read the story in the Bible...I think I will right now! See ya!
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Abraham and Sarah are presented as heroes who can do no wrong in this book, but I think that the Biblical account shows them both as deeply flawed people, prone to mistakes and bad decisions. It would have been a more interesting book to me if it had treated them as complex humans instead of mythical righteous beings.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Prolific Science Fiction/Fantasy author puts his pen to the service of narratin the lives of the Hebrew Matriarchs in The Women of Genesis series. Here Card beautifully and sensitively narrates the story Sarah, filling in the gaps with consumate and imaginative skill.

Unlike some novels, such as Sarah by Marek Halter and The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, where the women are portayed as worshiping idols and other gods, Sarah is shown as a strong women, devoted to the service of Yahweh since she was
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious, ambivalent
First off, if you don't like Orson Scott Card, don't read it. Also, if you don't like the idea of taking biblical figures and making up possible stories surrounding them, don't read it.

That said, I really enjoyed this book. I always feel like Card is a master at looking into the internal logic of his characters and showing why their behavior makes sense to them even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else. And what a valuable skill! I wish that we could all develop some of that in real life.
Shanee VonStrahl
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I have great admiration for the thoroughness of Card's research and for the wisdom of the decisions he makes for these novels when faced with contradictory historical information. I enjoyed reading his "afterword," where he talks about his research and his decisions for the novel, almost as much as I enjoyed reading the novel. Some people are offended with the concept of revered Biblical characters being "fictionalized." It doesn't bother me. I find it thought-provoking, and I feel like I am ...more
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was really enjoyable. I loved the characters and especially loved the way that Card wrote Sarah. I felt he did an amazing job describing what she felt in regard to Hagar. It's a topic that rarely are writers (especially men) very good at addressing and I truly was happy with how he wrote her. However, I gave this one only 3 stars because I wished that he would have delved a little deeper in the relationship between Sarah and Abraham. Maybe this is because I read Rebekah first and loved ...more
I don't typically read fictional books based on biblical accounts because as someone who has spent years reading and studying scripture I find such books annoyingly inaccurate, if not downright blasphemous; for me there's something distasteful about sacred writing being used as fodder for someone's imagination. So it's only fair to say that if this had not been a selection for one of my book groups I'd probably never have picked it up.

Having said that, I did think Card did a decent job of
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings. It was good enough I will probably read the rest of the Women of Genesis series. I loved how strong Sarah was and how she was portrayed in a multi-faceted way. Strong, but still always doubting herself, her own faith, God. She didn't just stay one way and always stay strong. She had her strong days and her doubting days, like so many of us humans.

I also loved that Abraham also struggled and had conflicting feelings and was sometimes humbled. He was a good man and a great prophet
Sep 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I love Orson Scott Card, but I think the constraints of working within a historical storyline hindered him from doing his best work. Some sections of this shine, and I especially liked some of his comments in the afterword. To quote: "…in an era when women did not show up much in historical records. It’s one of the things that’s so remarkable about the book of Genesis. There aren’t many other writings from that period that give women so much stage time as the chapters about Abraham, Isaac, and ...more
Linda Hart
Because this is the story of one of my favorite heroines I feel like I should give this a better rating, but a 3 star "liked it" is the best I can do. It is well researched and interesting, but not entertaining. I didn't love the writing, in part because the dialog is, well...lacking, as is the one-dimensional character development. Somehow these wonderful characters were not "fleshed out." I feel he did a better job with Rebekah. I very much enjoyed reading his "afterword."
Favorite quotes:
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have read the author's science fiction books, and did not really like them. Granted, science fiction is not my favorite genre.
I have often felt that the Bible (strictly speaking about it as a historical work, not denying the spiritual value) was fairly male-centric. There are some great women in the Bible and I would like to know them better. Even as a fictional account (and we must never confuse fiction with reality) this story was well researched and very interesting.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I actually liked this book better than I thought I would while I was reading the first chapters. It just got more and more engaging. I'm fascinated that Orson Scott Card did so much historical research on the book. Of course I have different opinions on how the story could have gone down, but this was an interesting perspective.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
{Feb. 2017 book group selection} Very interesting novel told from the perspective of Abraham's wife, Sarah. Using what little we know of her from the Bible as well as various historical sources, Orson Scott Card has created a touching and thought-provoking story of someone I think most women can admire for her strengths but also relate to because of her struggles. As usual when I read these types of books, my interest has been piqued to go back and reread the sections covered in the Bible to see ...more
Chalay Cragun
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely different than anything I've read before. The fact that it was technically a historical fiction from so long ago was a weird thing to wrap my head around. I had a hard time not getting to cynical about whether or not things really would have been the way Orson Scott Card wrote them. That being said if you go in thinking that it is a work of fiction and no one knew exactly how conversations would go or if they would live exactly the way that was imagined then it was a ...more
Leya Ruth
Orson Scott Card is a Mormon author. Anyone reading his books needs to know this first and foremost. Many of his novels all center on his theological background and beliefs (Mithermages, Alvin Maker, Homecoming). The only books he does really well with keeping that out of the story is the Enders Game books, and then only Enders Game in reality.

That being said, this book is his approach to the Old Testament stories of Sarah and Abraham. Like other reviewers stated, the writing is rather
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I am making the assumption here that the author did plenty of research for this book and so I'm considering the historical comments to be correct or close to correct.

I REALLY like this book so far. I like the characters that Card is presenting in the books. It makes sense with what I remember of the biblical story (though I'm sure I'll reread that and consider some more). Right in the middle, I was slightly bothered by some psychology (I'm not sure what to call it) in a discussion between Abram
Apr 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Where do I start with all the things I did NOT like about this book? First off - I don't care what people say, Orson Scott Card writes like a "Junior High" novelist. You know, all the books you had to read in jr. high? That's about the caliber of his writing. I'm sure his science fiction stuff is better, and he can weave an interesting plot, but his actual writing skills are pretty amateur. He uses the same descriptive words over and over, and tries so hard to describe whatever it is, that it ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't mean to sound harsh in my critique but this book left me wanting in many ways. I read the author's explainations for his rendering of the biblical Sarah, and agree that he was justified in his plot lines. In fact, the plot is not really what is wanting but rather it feels like he tried so hard to make her a believable woman, and identifiable with all women, that he forgot to make her wonderful. She has very ordinary processes of thought, sub-par persuasion, and in matters of Godly worth ...more
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have been a fan of Orson Scott Card since his Ender Game series. If you're expecting the thrill of his sci-fi/fantasy genre, this is not the same Orson Scott Card. However, I enjoyed it all the same.

Card wrote a series of novels focusing on the matriarchs of Genesis. This is his first in the series about Abraham's wife, Sarah. I love thinking about ancient people in context, so it is interesting to envision a real woman in a possible albeit fictional backdrop. Card develops a satisfying story
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily by: Sarah Jean
This was a fantastic book -- I love all of the books by Card I've read (mostly the Ender's game series). I appreciated the strength of character given to the female protagonist. She was a strong woman without seeming ridiculously out of place in the situation (time period) she was living in. One of my least favorite characters was Qira, Sarah's sister. She seemed to be a toxic kind of personality, and I have little experience with such people. But she seemed rather one-dimensional, especially by ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sarah is the first of a trilogy on the women of Genesis. It is very readable except for a few chapters when Abram & Sarai are living in Egypt. I didn't remember that from my Biblical history; so I had to check it out from other sources along a couple of other things I thought weren't true to history. Surprise, I was wrong! Card, who is normally a sci-fi author (not my cup of tea) does an excellent job of presenting the characters that we know only by name. He gives the flavor of what life ...more
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series

Other books in the series

Women of Genesis (5 books)
  • Rebekah (Women of Genesis, #2)
  • Rachel & Leah (Women of Genesis, #3)
  • The Wives of Israel (Women of Genesis, #4)
  • The Sons of Rachel (Women of Genesis, #5)
“Love is finding that the things you like best about yourself are not in you at all, but in the person who completes you” 234 likes
“Faith doesn't mean that you never doubt. It only means that you never act upon your doubts.” 55 likes
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