Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tamar's Trouble

Remember what I said in an earlier post about Christian fiction? Well, I have only found one modern Christian author I like and that was only one book.  Granted the book was one of the best I have ever read and I highly recommend it to anyone who will listen (Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers).  Please listen - you will not be disappointed.  But enough about a book I have already read...

So another book I got for Christmas this past year was another Rivers book.  It is a set of novels called A Lineage of Grace.  Each of the five novels tell the story of some woman in the lineage of Christ.  They offer an imagained fuller account of their lives based on the sparse Biblical renderings.  With Drew's permission, I will review each of these as though they were separate novels in their own right.  First up is Unveiled the story of Tamar.  For the Biblical account of Tamar (the one married to Judah's sons, not the sister of Judah) you can go to Genesis 38. As for Rivers' retelling of her story, I come down on the side that she was faithful to the Biblical account, which is good in my book. 
The best part of reading Rivers' version is the historical emotional context you gain from her.  The book of Genesis, by its very nature as a historical account, leaves out much of the emotion and cultural context of the actions of the major players.  More than once whilst reading Unveiled, I found myself pondering the deeper emotion Tamar must have felt and the way God truly worked a miracle through Tamar's actions.  I have always been kinda weirded out by the story in Genesis, but the historical, cultural backround really helped to paint a picture expressing Tamar's devotion to her new family in a culture only offering her shame and derision.  I found myself remembering the promise to come to Judah later in Genesis, "the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from beneath his feet until Shiloh comes," and thinking how narrowly Judah missed the hope of promise by the way he dealt with Tamar.
For those reasons, this is a good book to read.  I would never tell anyone to shirk God's account of Tamar, but I do feel that once one has grasped all there is in the Biblical account, Rivers' story is a good companion.  To that end, the book includes a study of sorts to dig deeper into the Word above all Words.  For that I am appreciative to Mrs. Rivers and look forward to reading the other stories in her book on the family of Christ.

Review: 5.5 out of 7




  2. I also usually shy away from Christian fiction -- unfortunately most of it is not well written. This makes me sad! As a Christian, I believe that anything I do for God should be done to the best of my ability, not with mediocrity! Anyhow... that's a soapbox for another time....

    So, these books have always fascinated me when I saw them in the bookstore. I think I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the review!

  3. I truly cannot recommend Redeeming Love highly is one the best books I have ever read! I did have one friend tell me she was having a hard time getting into it, so if that happens for you, be diligent. The pictures of the love God has for rebellious children are heartbreaking.

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