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Rachel & Leah

(Women of Genesis #3)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,872 ratings  ·  559 reviews
Leah was so young when her sister Rachel was born that she could not remember a time when Rachel was not the darling of the family- pretty, clever, and cute, whereas Leah plugged along being obedient, hard-working, and responsible. Then one day a good-looking marriageable kinsman named Jacob showed up, looking for a haven from his brother's rage, and Leah fell in love at o ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Forge Books (first published July 30th 2004)
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,872 ratings  ·  559 reviews

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Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it
I really liked this book, but I couldn't give it a four because it made me angry. The resolution of how Rachel and Leah both became wives of Jacob was upsetting, and the way Jacob is a know-it-all perfect human being until, arguably, the end, was infuriating. It's hard to tell if this or The Red Tent was more accurate. I know many people's dislike of RT - too fairy tale, too perfect, etc. I think if you're interested in the women of Genesis in a historical fiction context, both books are worth y ...more
Jan 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Out of the three stories Card wrote about the biblical women I didn't like this one the most. Two sisters pitted against each other in a fight over love, children and recognition is a real theme but one I do not wish to visit.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I can't believe how much I disliked this book compared to the first two in this series. I especially loved Rebekah, but this book felt like a middle grade book, focused on children--and very annoying children too. The most interesting things about Jacob's life, in my opinion, is after he leaves Laban's home and when he becomes Israel. If you are interested in those things, don't read this book. This book is about Rachel and Leah as young, petty children. If you are interested in Jacob's life, re ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
"If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." (LDS Article of faith 13)

Shame on you, Card. There is absolutely nothing virtuous about the manner in which women were portrayed in this novel. I will certainly never be picking up another book by Orson Scott Card again, religious, fantasy or otherwise. I am that deeply disappointed.

The idea of an LDS author picking up what little is written about the specific women in the Old Testament and ela
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I stumbled across it because of the author, Orson Scott Card. I had read Ender's Game and thought it to be so cleverly written so I was interested in the three books in this series, Women of Genesis. This is the first that I read in the series even though it is the third and I certainly will be reading the other two.

Card gives Rachel, Leah as well as their handmaidens, Bilhah and Zilpah, such distinctive personalities. And he invents such a clear and logical reason for
April Hochstrasser
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-the-best
I love the plot in Rachel and Leah. What if Leah's marriage to Jacob wasn't such a surprise? What if it was done because Rachel did not want to marry Jacob at the time? What if Leah and Rachel's father did not mean to fool Jacob but was left with little choice. I love the way Orson Scott Card can go back into the time before Christ and create a believable world and story that we can relate to so well in our time. I can't wait to read the sequel, The Women of Genesis.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I listened to this on a road trip with my mom and a friend. We would get back in the car and they would both be really excited to turn it back on as I groaned. I didn't like the characters and I had a hard time picturing biblical times and stories with modern language and some modern culture mixed in. The bible story does leave a lot up for interpretation , and I don't fill in the blanks the same way Card does.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a book club choice by Donna Brown. I haven't ready any Old Testament fiction books before, so I was pretty excited to check it out. Orson Scott Card is a pretty good writer. Sometimes things move slowly in the book - but this was set in the deserts afterall and I can't imagine that anything moves too quickly in sheep herds anyhow. It was a good story... but has definitely piqued my interest to find out what the scriptures have to say about Jacob and his wives.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I am familiar with biblical Jacob's story. First of all from Joseph and his Brothers, a monumental book by Thomas Mann. Thomas Mann was most interested with complicated relations of Biblical characters with God, women were left as the background.
So I welcomed Rachel and Leah as a worthy addition of woman's point of view.
I was quite pleased with first few chapters, different characters of two sisters, daughters of Laban, Jacob's uncle. I welcomed addition of Bilhah and Zilpah, two women with unfo
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited when I came across a copy of this book, and it is an amazing read, that takes us through the lives of four incredible young women later to be mothers of the Nation of Israel.

First we read about Bilah, a clever young girl, who is taken by a a friend of her late father's to Laban's camp at Padan Aram, after her father's death in a tragic work accident, before we are introduced to 'tender eyed' Leah, the ravishing Rachel and the other handmaiden Zilpah.
Rachel and Leah are introduce
This book was a huge disappointment for me. I have read many books by Orson Scott Card and greatly enjoyed them all. I also read Sarah,the first book in the "Women of Genesis" series, back when it came out, and I liked it well enough. What a difference from Rachel and Leah!

I disliked most of the characters in this book and found them all to be unrealistic. The main women were too flawed, too petty, too immature, too quick to anger, et cetera, to be believable human personalities. The main men,
Jun 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Brittany by: Melissa Sharp
It was interesting to read this right after reading The Red Tent. Both authors had completely different interpretations of Rachel, Leah, Jacob, and the surrounding characters. Anita Diamant's book had a very foreign, ancient feel. This book by Orson Scott Card, on the other hand, had scenes and situations that seemed more modern and familiar in comparison. Maybe because I come from his LDS culture, which I presume was his target audience for the Women of Genesis series.

I did like that all Laban
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I really liked the 1st book in this series. The next 2 were just okay. I'd have to say this one was my least favorite. Leah was annoying througout most of the book (major emphasis on Leah's character and the two handmaids) and I was very disapointed in how the author portrayed Rachel at the end of the book (very imature). I guess I enjoy when the author is generous to the scriptural women and this book didn't do that for me :). The only woman I really ended up liking in this book was Bilhah. And ...more
Mar 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2009, tossers
Yikes! I have heard that Orson Scott Card is a fine author but this book was a stinker! The text is primarily dialouge between young 11-17 year old girls....and Card gets it all wrong. It reads like a snarky screen play rather than an interesting insightful look into how it may have been for these women of the Bible. It was painful getting through and I was relieved when it ended abruptly and not satisfying either. Then it had the NERVE to offer questions for a book club! AS IF! I don't even wan ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
I've come to really enjoy fiction based on biblical stories. This is actually the third in a series with a fourth in the works to finish the tribes of Israel story. I really enjoyed "The Red Tent" and was interested in how the same story was depicted by a different author. Whereas "The Red Tent" really focuses on life after the marriage to Rachel and Leah, this deals with the years of servitude that Jacob performs in order to marry Rachel. Though there are similarities in the portrayal of events ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Another good book by Orson Scott Card. I liked this one slightly less than Rebekah, but I really liked how each character had a distinct voice and I loved Leah's character arc. She's always been an interesting Biblical character to me. As with the last book, I feel like there are probably some cultural and historical things that are issues, but Card's writing is compelling enough that I am pulled into it and can let the other stuff go. This was a quick, pleasant read.
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved that in this series Orson Scott Card was able to imagine a relatable world of characters that, until this time, had been completely UNrelatable to me based solely on the limited scriptural accounts of their lives and, to me at least, their often-confounding actions. These books actually helped me to have a greater love and respect for these chosen women (and men) of the Old Testament, simply because I was given a glimpse of how they might have felt, might have lived, might have loved -- ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow! I've never thought so deeply about these women before. This book is all the more interesting to read because we know the ultimate outcome. I'm not entirely sure Card's rendition of the story is entirely plausible, but then how are we to know what was and wasn't so very long ago. It was certainly sympathetic and intriguing. I find it an especially good read, because I think that each of us is both Rachel and Leah in our marriages.
Amber Spencer
Okay, I keep hearing how great these books are, but I just can't get into them. I think it's because the actual people from the Bible are made into the main characters. I really love historical fiction, but I like it when made up people are put into the scenes: I learn about what happened, but without all the weirdness of made up things that we have no idea that happened. Anyhow, it would take something huge to get me to try again.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
We read this one for book club. I think I am done with Orson Scott Card. There were many who thought Card should write the whole Bible. Then there were a few, like me, that thought it wasn't that good. Maybe my bias stems from not really liking the biblical story to start with. Anyway, there was a lot of whining and I didn't like how the women were portrayed. yada yada
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the third book in a row that I am giving a 3-star rating. I feel so wishy-washy. The actual writing was certainly a 4 for me, but some of the liberties he took with the characters brings my overall rating down to a 3. I am not sure I buy into his wedding night scenario, either. But hey, its the Old Testament--truth really is stranger than fiction. :)
Maria Ryan
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Orson Scott Card does an amazing job (how does he know women so well?)! Another "can't put it down".
Nov 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenn Wallace
Jan 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Interesting look into the life of Rachel and Leah - Mormon aspects to book -need to read with caution.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
It was really good, but I found some parts improbable, like young girls (10 and 12 years old) speaking maturely of serious matters of life. But it gave me more insight to the Bible story.
Jun 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
A novelization of the biblical story, it really made me think, and brought them to life for me.
I didn’t intend to begin the series with the third book but having finished it I have yet to decide if I will go back to read the historical- fan fiction stories of Sarah and Rebekah or find volume 2.

I can’t say I enjoyed it. I might say I was compelled to keep reading though when the women displayed their worst characteristics I had to put it down. Except I did appreciate Leah’s personal spiritual growth. I do have a doubt that, in reality, Laban would have deceived Jacob just because Rachel wa
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. While Mr. Card puts his own spin on the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah he does NOT deviate from scripture. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of this book is the explanation given for the switch. Laban tells Jacob that it was because it is custom for the older daughter to marry first (as scripture says). But the backstory to it is plausible and a nice twist.
As far as the sisters go, I felt sorry for Leah but not because of her tender eyes. I felt sorry for her beca
Jae Roth
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
The story ends unsatisfactorily. The story Card weaves is loosely based on the story of Rachel and Leah. I can't help but note for someone who waves his religion like a banner and attacks people he sees as "sinners", he clearly does not see the Bible as God's literal word. I doubt I care enough about this story to read the promised next part if it was ever actually written.

**spoiler ahead**
**Stop reading now if you don't want to read a spoiler**

Card's version of how Leah ends up married to Jacob
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2017 Reading Chal...: Rachel and Leah 1 10 Sep 18, 2015 02:51AM  
  • Come Unto Me (The Kingdom and the Crown #2)
  • Master
  • Troubled Waters (Hearts of the Children, #2)
  • Deborah's Story (Women of the Bible #2)
  • The Second Sun (The Great and Terrible, #3)
  • Land of Inheritance (Out of Jerusalem, #4)
  • The Enoch Letters
  • Lilah (Canaan, #3)
  • The Triumph of Deborah
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 Th

Other books in the series

Women of Genesis (5 books)
  • Sarah (Women of Genesis, #1)
  • Rebekah (Women of Genesis, #2)
  • The Wives of Israel (Women of Genesis, #4)
  • The Sons of Rachel (Women of Genesis, #5)