Review: The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy

I enjoy historical fiction, it always seems to pique my interest in knowing about the time period I am reading about, and sometimes even seeking out non-fiction to fill in more background. One (of many) time periods that I will not claim to have too much background in is biblical history. I know some of the basic stories, but I was not familiar with Deborah’s story before being offered The Triumph of Deborah to review by the author, Eva Etzioni-Halevy.

Deborah is the leader of the Israelites, well-respected for her guidance and her council. Following growing tensions with the Canaanites, Deborah goes against her husband Lapidoth’s counsel and calls upon the warrior Barak to battle against the Canaanites. Lapidoth is aware of Barak’s reputation with women, and casts Deborah out of his house with a decree of divorce. This story follows Deborah from the battle and beyond through her life and her interactions with those around her.

But this book is not just Deborah’s story, in fact it is more the story of Barak and his life following his victory over the Canaanites. As was customary, after the Canaanite’s defeat, Barak not only divided up the wealth, but also the Canaanites, after he freed the Israelite slaves that were being held by the Canaanites. Barak took for himself the Canaanite King Jabin’s beautiful daughter Asherah, the widow of the Canaanite warrior Sisra, to be his bride.

To help the freed Israelites, Barak also offers jobs in his home for a number of freed Israelites, including Nogah, who is the daughter of an Israelite slave and King Jabin (although many, including Barak, do not immediately know this). As Nogah spends more time with Barak, she falls in love, and is heartbroken that Barak intends to marry Asherah, her half sister.

All of these stories intertwine in the book to create a compelling story. I found each character interesting and wanted to know more about them individually, especially Nogah. Throughout the book, she experiences the most character development — from being the daughter of a slave, to flourishing with education, to falling in love, to heartbreak and beyond. But it was not just the stories that I enjoyed, but the writing. Etzioni-Halevy’s style blended history and dialogue into a nice and interesting mix (although the sex scenes were a little cheesy) that kept me interested until the last page.

I received this book for review from the author.

What Are You Reading Monday, 22 March

Thanks to One Persons Journey Through a World of Books for hosting this weekly meme.

I feel like a broken record but I am thankful again for my morning workout reading. It was a slow reading week, but I was able to finish up one book this morning, so at least there is something in the Completed column.

I have one book on my To Read list, and a few others in contention. I’m thinking maybe another Sookie book but we’ll see.

How was your reading last week and what will you be reading this week?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman (book sent by publisher)

BOOK TO READ
1. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

What Are You Reading Monday, 15 March

Thanks to One Persons Journey Through a World of Books for hosting this weekly meme.

Again, thanks to a morning work-out that extended my reading time, I finished up two books before this post. Now, maybe with the extra hours of daylight I can keep up with at least two a week moving forward.

How about you, what did you read last week and what will you be reading this week?

BOOKS I COMPLETED
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

BOOKS TO READ
1. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman (book sent by publisher)
2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

What Are You Reading Monday, 8 March

Thanks to One Persons Journey Through a World of Books for hosting this weekly meme.

Last week was an OK reading week – I at least finished up one book and made good headway through a second.

How about you, what will you be reading this week?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (book sent by author)

BOOKS TO READ
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman (book sent by publisher)

February 2010 In Review

I know February is a short month, but I am not sure that can explain my really light reading month. Three books? Only three books completed?! I know I started a Chunkster that I haven’t finished yet – but still.

So looking out over the month, I find myself less than 10 percent of my way towards completing the 100+ Reading Challenge (but I’m close – nine books done). I am definitely going to have to pick-up the pace in March.

How about you – how was your month?

A Look Back:

Books Read
1. One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (book sent by publisher)
2. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Reviews
Cleopatra’s Daughter
Across the Endless River (book sent from publicist)
The Postmistress (book sent from Barnes and Noble First Look)

Challenges
Harry Potter Reading Challenge
Challenge Time: August 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010
Books Completed: 4 (of 7)

Sookie Stackhouse Challenge
Challenge Time: July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010
Books Completed: 5 (of 9)

100+ Reading Challenge
Challenge Time: January 1 – December 31, 2010
Books Completed: 9 (of 100)

The 2010 TBR Challenge
Challenge Time: January 1 – December 31, 2010
Books Completed: 2 (of 12)

The South Asian Author Challenge
Challenge Time: January 1 – December 31, 2010
Books Completed: 1 (of 5)

The Chunkster Reading Challenge
Challenge Time: February 1, 2010 – January 31, 2011
Books Completed: 0 (of 6)

Review: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

In Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel One Amazing Thing, a group of people from various backgrounds find themselves trapped in the Indian passport office following an earthquake in the United States. A Chinese grandmother and her teenage granddaughter, an older American couple, and the Indian office workers are just a few of the characters that we learn about in the present and in their storied past.

As a way to take their minds off of their situation, those trapped share a story. Each of the stories helped to tell a little more about the person, and in many cases what brought them to the passport office in the first place. So this book  is more a collection of short stories wrapped around the greater story of the earthquake.

Some of the stories were so wonderful that I could read a whole novel based on that individual story. One of my favorites was the story from the office worker Malathi. Growing up in India, at the appropriate age Malathi was taken to the beauty parlor to have a variety of treatments and photos taken to increase her chances for a good marriage. Thanks to the beauty parlor Malathi did fall in love — with the beauty parlor. Instead of marriage, she gets a job at the salon. Her story is her time at the parlor and the circumstances that brought her to the U.S.

This is of course just one of the many stories — stories that are sad, inspiring, funny. I think I actually liked the short stories better than the overarching story of the earthquake. Even though the earthquake and the events that happened in the office as those trapped had to deal with the earthquake certainly created tension and kept me turning the page to find out what was going to happen, I preferred the more personal and intimate look at the characters that was depicted in their personal stories.

I received this book from the publisher following a submission on Shelf Awareness. The book I read was an ARC, not the final hardcover version.

What Are You Reading Monday, 1 March

Thanks to One Persons Journey Through a World of Books for hosting this weekly meme.

Wow, March 1. I am so ready for February to be done, it was a slow reading month so I look forward to getting back on track (and see some signs of Spring). More on how slow my February was in my Month in Review post.

How about you? How was your February and what will you be reading this week?

BOOKS I COMPLETED
None this week.

BOOKS TO READ
1. The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (book sent by author)
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman (book sent by publisher)