I’ll put my hands up to not having done much with The Bible since I was a teenager, but there’s a movement among some authors to give voices to the previously flatter-than-flat figures of the Good book—the women. As a determined feminist, I couldn’t resist. I’ve read the first two books of Linda Makkimane’s Her Story (centred around two women, Mary, the mother of Christ and a woman healed by Jesus. Amanda Bedzrah’s take on the Old Testament figure of Leah, the first wife of Jacob, called to me to read it.
It’s an easy-to-read page-turner. It’s the story of a woman forced into an arranged marriage with a man who doesn’t want her. She is her father’s property, a conniving man who stops at nothing to get what he wants—including selling his daughter. The hapless fool on the receiving end doesn’t love her and is tricked into marriage when he thinks he’s getting her sister Rachel. He is in love with her and has waited and worked for seven years to win her hand. He’s none too pleased when he discovers the deception;. However, he still spends a week using Leah for all the purposes of marriage. The deal is that he works for another seven years and delegates Leah to the position of unloved drudge and baby-machine.
Little thought is usually given to Leah, and the author has done an excellent job of imagining her plight. You can’t ignore the life the unfortunate woman lived. Yet she finds comfort and consolation in her children and her God. She maintains her dignity, and despite the odds, she earns the respect of her husband. They come to a comfortable place together in their old age.
This happy ending takes a few minor liberties with the Bible story. In the one written a few years before this book, Jacob is said to have taken Rachel’s maid Bilhah as his primary partner after the death of Rachel. But the author says up-front that this is a work of fiction, so I won’t quibble—and why spoil a cracking story? Excellent.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.