He promised her his heart… She promised him a son…
But how long must they wait?
When Abram finally requests the hand of his beautiful half-sister Sarai, she asks one thing—that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even Sarai’s father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if she makes a promise in return—to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.
But as the years stretch on and Sarai’s womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain, lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram’s patience last?
Combining in-depth research and vivid storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai in this remarkable story of love, jealousy, and undaunted faith.
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling author of Michal, Abigail, and Bathsheba, all part of the Wives of King David series. Her research into the lives of David’s wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. She lives with her family in southeast Michigan.
Sarai is the first book in the Wives of the Patriarch series.
“What a marvelous retelling of an old and sacred story! Though I knew it well, I could not put Sarai down. Smith takes us into the minds of the characters as they struggle with their flaws, fears, and disappointments, armed only with an often fragile faith. Sarai is an inspiring offer of hope for all.”–Linda Windsor, author of the Brides of Alba series
“Jill Eileen Smith’s research shines in this gem of a novel detailing the lives of Abram and Sarai. Fans of biblical fiction will be delighted by Smith’s retelling of two of the most beloved personalities from the book of Genesis.”–Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, author of the Genesis Trilogy
“In Sarai, Jill Eileen Smith takes the reader back to ancient times and the nomadic life of Sarai and Abram. This is an absorbing visit to the past, filled with wonderful details and fascinating characters, including Abram’s nephew Lot and his wife. Smith reveals timeless doubts and struggles, along with the triumphs of some and the ill-fated but fascinating paths of others. Remarkable research is folded into a story that builds to an unforgettable ending. Smith truly brought the era to life!”–Maureen Lang, author of Springtime of the Spirit and Whisper on the Wind
Jill amazes me with the in-depth insights in her Biblical historical novels. Sarai: A Novel is no different! Though this may be a familiar story from the Bible to many of you, Jill brings it to life through the depths of her characters and their interactions throughout the unfolding of their lives.
From the introduction of idol worship, the call of Abram to Canaan, and the eventual settling in the land, we see the personal struggles, jealousies, regrets, greed, and anxieties of each character, particularly Abram, Sarai, Lot, Meleh, and Hagar. The nomadic lifestyle challenges their constitution, spiritual life, and their trust in God, having come from a more comfortable lifestyle. Jill is able to bring you into the story and let you experience the uncomfortable bedding, the ‘archaic’ method of cooking, the grit of the dust storms, the whispers of barrenness, the mocking of Hagar, and the fear of Pharaoh in Egypt.
The inner thoughts and emotions of betrayal, rejection, barrenness, and grumbling are aptly described, making them personal to your own thought life. Repentance and forgiveness become a necessary component of the story, as well in our lives. Abram and Sarai’s faith in God’s promise to Abram is resonant and tested throughout the whole book.
The relationship between Abram and Sarai is so intimate, and yet strained with the birth of Abram’s first son. The latter situation is one that I would find difficult to deal with. Sarai’s feelings came across loud and clear, and I doubt I’d feel much different! Only by the grace of God could one withstand such a predicament!
Jill brought this ancient story into today’s world without compromising the Biblical rendering of the story. For a touching, revealing version of Abram and Sarai, this is the book to read!
This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Publicity Assistant at Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.