Michal: A Novel by Jill Eileen Smith (review)

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Michal: A Novel by Jill Eileen SmithMichael: A Novel (Wives of King David) by Jill Eileen Smith is a fictional retelling of the story of King David’s first wife Michal—the daughter of Saul. Smith follows Michal from the time she is a teenager cowering under the rages of her demonically possessed father, to middle age when her scorn at David’s exuberant dance causes her to fall from the king’s favor. (Though this latter may sound like a spoiler it really isn’t because Smith follows the biblical account where the events of Michal’s life are written plainly for anyone to read.)

I found the book an interesting story. Through it I experienced the confusion and strife of King Saul’s home. I felt the conflicting emotions of a young woman who weds the man she loves, only to have him driven away by her father who is possessed by jealousy over David’s popularity with the people. When she and David are reunited, she faces issues like being part of a harem and belonging to a former king’s family. Though her personal ambition, together with the strong, determined personality Smith has given her make her a somewhat unsympathetic character, it seems a realistic interpretation of one of the Bible’s fascinating females.

I appreciate the respect with which Smith handles the biblical account. In an author’s note at the end of the book she says, “I have done my best to stay true to Scripture throughout the novel.” In that vein she begins each major division of the story with Bible quotes that foundation the events within the section. Of course her telling adds many details, but I never felt that they were inconsistent with or contradicted the Bible account.

If you’re a fan of biblical fiction, you won’t want to miss Michal.

Extras from the author’s website:

Title: Michal: A Novel (The Wives of King David)
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell, March, 2009, available in hardcover, paperback & Kindle editions, 383 pages.
ASIN: B001U88ZSK