Can true love overcome a legacy of betrayal?
Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister Leah to wed and move out of their household. Leah wishes her father would find a good man who would love her alone. Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob is making his way to their home, trying to escape a past laced with deceit and find the future God has promised him.
But the past comes back to haunt Jacob when he finds himself on the receiving end of treachery. The man who wanted only one woman ends up with sisters who have never gotten along and now must spend the rest of their lives sharing a husband. In the power struggles that follow, only one woman will triumph . . . or will she?
Combining meticulous research with her own imaginings, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith not only tells one of the most famous love stories of all time but will manage to surprise even those who think they know the story inside and out.
Once again, Jill Eileen Smith has woven a beautiful creation from a no-frills Old Testament text. We know there were difficulties in the relationship between Jacob’s two wives, but in Rachel, the human emotions are laid bare for all to see. We have two sisters in love with the same man, a father’s greed, a mother’s scheming, and a deceived groom who is himself a deceiver. What must it have been like in such a dysfunctional household? Imagine being one of the two servant women caught up in this mess, with no choice but to obey the demands of their mistresses.
Although the book is called Rachel, we get to experience the events of Genesis through three perspectives: her’s, Leah’s, and Jacob’s. While it can be argued that they were all victims of the situation in one way or another, they were also responsible for the dysfunction. The sisters were continually involved in games of one-upmanship carved out of jealousy. Rachel might have had Jacob’s love, but Leah bore his sons. This makes neither of them particularly likeable, although there are occasions where it is possible to feel some sympathy for their circumstances. As for Jacob, instead of taking charge of his camp he often spent his nights with the sheep! When he was with his family he favored Rachel, as was shown in the Bible. In this fictional narrative, Jacob continually wondered if this was punishment for deceiving his father Isaac.
There are four parts to the book of Rachel. In my opinion, the main narrative ends after Jacob reunited with his brother. The final four chapters are set ten years after and cover the events concerning Leah’s daughter, Dinah, and Rachel’s last days. The ending is bittersweet as Jacob contemplates a life without his favorite wife by his side. We know, of course, that he will experience more heartbreak before dying in Egypt. Rachel is the final title of the Wives of the Patriarchs series. It can be read as a standalone, but I heartily recommend reading all three books in this generational saga.
Thank you to Revell for my free copy of Rachel, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Publication Date: 04 February 2014
Page Count: 320