Mesu Andrews newest release is Miriam, in which she writes the story of Moses older sister, Miram during the time of the Exodus. This is Book 2 of the Treasures of the Nile series. She picks up the story from the time just before Moses returns to Egypt, after forty years in exile. Let me give you the "cons" (for lack of a better word) of this story, for me, before the "pros." From page one, actually from the prologue, the author uses the word inundations to mark age. Taking this from the annual flooding of the Nile, as a way that time was marked. I had never heard that type of reference before and it was puzzling to me which was distracting. After a few chapters, I understood what she was doing, and that the Hebrews marked their age by how many times they had seen the annual flooding. Possibly the Egyptians had the same practice. The terms Doda, Ima, Saba, Savta were all new to me and I had to keep flipping back to earlier references to remind myself what those terms meant. Such as Doda Miriam, Ima Jochebed, Savta Jochebed. I am very familiar with Abba being one of the names our Heavenly Father tells us to call Him, so Abba Amram was father if Aaron or Miriam was speaking, Savta Amram if Eleazar was speaking. That allowed me to put meaning to the words for Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father, etc. None the less, this kept me from getting into the story from the start. I "soldiered" through and it did become easier, but not to the point that I was able to be absorbed in the story and get lost in it. It was more work than I want to do to read a book.
Having said that, I must say this is very well written grammatically with excellent sentence structure and I learned a few things from this book which I will talk about here. If you read my reviews at all, you know that I am a stickler for grammar and sentence structure. These are the things that make for easy reading and when an author does those things well, he/she has at least 3 stars from me, right off the bat.
Mesu gives a scriptural quote at the beginning of each chapter, which sent me to my Bible to look it up. I was pleased to find that she has indeed done her research and written each chapter very closely tied to what God gives us in His Word. I had no idea Miriam was a prophetess, or if I did, I have forgotten. And I have done my share of O.T Bible studies. My bad there. I also appreciated that quote because it gave me a preview of what was coming next. The author has added some fictional characters which are all within reason for the time and culture of ancient Egypt and the Hebrew slavery so they added character to her writing of this story. I learned some spiritual truths from this writing as well, which is a real bonus. The wisdom that she writes coming from Amram and Jochebed, tell me that Mesu has a strong relationship with God and spends time in His Word. If you are going to write Biblical fiction, those are two really good things to have. She writes about the culture and relations between men and women, slave and master which add a human reality to the book. As Amram was dying, he gave understanding to Miriam and Moses when he told them "Greater suffering means deeper revelation as you near God's promise." God's promise of deliverance was real to Amram and that gave strength to his children.
This was my first time to read a novel by Mesu Andrews. She is a good writer and this is a good book. It may not be my cup of tea because of the issue I had with the names, but that does not keep me from recommending this book. I give Miriam four stars. I suggest you pick up a copy and give it a read. I think you will be glad you did. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books for review purposes. These words are my opinion. If you would like to read and review books check it out at www.bloggingforbooks.com
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