Wisdom came as God’s gift, but sacred love was forged through passion’s fire
For young King Solomon wisdom came as God’s gift, but sacred love was forged through passion’s fire.
Standing in the overpowering shadow of his famous father, young king Solomon wavers between fear and bravado, longing for a love that is true and pure—a love that can be his cornerstone.
A shepherdess in the northern city of Shunem, Arielah has known since she first laid eyes on Solomon that it was her destiny to become his bride. When her father secures a promise from King Solomon to marry Arielah as a treaty bride to help unite the kingdom, it seems her dreams will come true.
But how can this simple shepherdess live as part of Solomon’s harem? Can Solomon set aside his distractions to give himself completely to just one woman? Or will he let duty, deception, and the daily routine divide his heart?
Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.
The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.
Just as her daughters have grown and are sharing their own journeys with Jesus, so Mesu’s stories have matured through years of study. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for Scripture, Mesu helps others experience God’s Word in living color through her biblical novels and devotional studies.
Her debut novel, Love Amid the Ashes, released in March 2011. Love’s Sacred Song releases this month, March, 2012.
Mesu Andrews’ book, Love’s Sacred Song, opens with Arielah’s early morning ponderings of Abishag’s life after the death of King David, her first trip to the City of David, and her desire to be King Solomon’s wife from a very early age. Also chronicled are the jealous, evil and insolent behaviors of Arielah’s brothers in respect to their sister, which are unconscionable, all the while refusing discipline.
The Northern Israelites were angered and insulted by the humiliating use of Abishag by King David in his last days, while being rejected as a true bride. After his death, she would now be considered ‘unfit’ for another man to marry, leaving the North ready to war with the South over the issue. King David was a warrior King, but King Solomon wanted a kingdom of peace, as promised by God. The way they ruled is as different as night and day in some measures.
Mesu Andrews in her book, Love’s Sacred Song, beautifully captures The Song of Solomon in a way that opens your heart to Arielah’s deep, lasting, pure love for King Solomon amidst his many wives, concubines, and infidelity. Mesu’s years of studying the Song of Solomon brings the book to a whole new level of understanding. One I am so grateful to read. It helped me understand the book in a new, fresh way.
Mesu’s descriptions of the land, the ways of the King, and the harems involved reveal the ancient way of life in a King’s castle. There are many inner and outer dangers that must be acknowledged, with Might Warriors ready to disarm their enemies. The characters are genuine and heartfelt, though not all are necessarily likeable. They fit into the time era and circumstances. The descriptions of the farm land, with all its beauty and hard work, were starkly compared to the opulent life in the castle.
I find Arielah’s love for King Solomon to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s love for us. Beautiful in description, forbearing and forgiving while being treated despicably.
Mesu kept her novel true to Scripture as we know it. Obviously King Solomon had a specific love he adored whom he wrote about in The Song of Solomon, and Mesu did an excellent job in exploring that relationship. A “must read” for all Biblical historical readers. A keeper!
1. When did you first start your writing career? How did you get started?
I started writing in hopes of publishing a Bible study to accompany the retreat/conference topic I taught on Song of Solomon. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I traveled quite a bit, speaking to (mostly) women’s groups, teaching an allegorical form of the Solomon story. Women would come to me after the talks and ask for a study guide, so I began seeking publication. No go. I was a non-credentialed pastor’s wife with a small platform.
In 2002, my health took a severe dive, and I spent six months in bed. THAT’S when my writing career really began. When there was nothing to do except peck away at my laptop, I was forced to sit still and write. Tough for an extrovert. Because I still deal with chronic illness issues, I continue to keep a limited speaking schedule, but my love for writing has soared. Now, I do it because I can’t NOT do it! It fills me with a deep and abiding sense of purpose that I believe is God-given.
When I switched my focus from non-fiction/Bible study to biblical novels, the doors seemed to open rather quickly. After about a year of revising the initial novel rough draft, I met my editor at Mt. Hermon’s writers’ conference in 2008 and was signed by Revell later that fall. However, let me point out…that was seven years after my initial efforts at getting the story published. The publishing road is seldom a short one.
2. What/Who inspired you to write Biblical fiction?
Haha! I’m not sure inspired is the right term. Nagged might be more appropriate. My dear friend and critique partner kept fussing at me to write my allegory in fiction rather than as a study. I had never been a novel reader. I read and studied my Bible all day long. I didn’t have time for “frivolous” fiction! Oh my. Lord, forgive me! She finally nailed me with the final argument. “Are you better than Jesus?” she asked. “Didn’t he teach with stories, using parables to make His lessons memorable?” OUCH! That was the day I became inspired to write biblical fiction—and I asked forgiveness for thinking any vehicle that carries God’s message to open hearts is “frivolous.”
3. What do you expect your readers to glean and apply to their lives from your books?
It’s my prayer that everyone who reads Love’s Sacred Song will be stirred by the overwhelming power of God’s love, but the greater goal is that readers will be driven back to God’s Word. As a Bible teacher at heart, I long for Scripture to speak to people as they read it. The Bible is God’s personal love letter to each one of us, and it’s my desire that reading Love’s Sacred Song will in some way open a new dialogue between the reader and the Beloved.
4. What books are brewing in the back of your mind for your next works?
Actually, one’s brewing, but book #3 is in the editor’s oven as we speak! I’m contracted with Revell for two more books.
Love in a Broken Vessel is scheduled to release March 2013, telling the story of Hosea and Gomer—Can Hosea’s faith overpower Gomer’s unfaithfulness?
Love’s Saving Light is scheduled to release March 2014, telling the story of Queen Athaliah and Baby Joash—Will Jezebel’s daughter snuff out the last king on David’s throne.
5. Do you travel and do books signings? And if so, do you also come to Minnesota? (Self-interests here! LOL)
Absolutely! I’m doing retreats in North Dakota and New Mexico in a few months, and I often fly through Minnesota when traveling back to the Midwest to visit family! *-* My calendar is full for 2012, but I’d love to come see you in 2013!
I also enjoy employing some creative technology solutions! Let’s Skype or have a conference call with your book club or ladies’ group. There are all sorts of ways we can connect!
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share a bit with your readers! If anyone would like to keep in touch, they can visit my website @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/. Or sign up for free weekly e-devotionals @ http://www.mesuandrews.com/deep-o-tionals-2/acts-of-the-apostles/. Also, I’ve added pictures of a potential “Solomon” and “Arielah” to my Pinterest Board for Character Faces…check it out and leave a comment! Or give your own suggestions!
Thank you, Mesu, for sharing your life and goals with us. I am looking forward to all your upcoming books!