Thursday, June 2, 2011
I found this book in our public library's NEW section. Looking at the title I thought 'ick, another Harlequin or Avon romance type'. But the cover illustration drew me in, and I picked it up and read the back, then glanced inside. Hooked, and intrigued by our librarian's seemingly sudden propensity for Christian fiction, I checked it out at the desk.
Set in Uz, (actual location lost, but several possibilities in Middle East) Love Amid the Ashes interlaces the Biblical stories of Job, Jacob and Esau, Joseph (of the many colored coat), the migration of the Hebrews to Egypt, and Dinah (sister of Joseph), in a very compelling way. By the end, I was ready to reread the book of Job, and start my own investigation to see if I could pick up on the threads Mesu Andrews so skillfully weaves together from the Bible as well as other ancient texts and rabbinical tradition.
As Dinah nurses and cares for Job during his long suffering, the story of her ill fated love, betrayal by her vindictive brothers (the same ones who sold Joseph into slavery) and her subsequent rejection by her clan as "ruined" is presented. The distinctive stories finally combine in Egypt, when it is discovered that the great vizier and "Father of the Pharoah" is none other than Joseph himself. Job and Dinah's tale comes to a gratifying conclusion and the reader is left hungry for more.
A little research on the internet and a look into Biblical, as well as ancient Egyptian timelines, convinced me that Ms. Andrews did, in fact, do her homework. That yes, it is just possible that these stories which we normally take separately in the Bible and in history, could maybe have intersected with each other in this or some other way. Which makes it all the more fascinating for me.
Love Amid the Ashes, by Mesu Andrews, (c) 2011, is available from http://www.revellbooks.com/ and other booksellers.