In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
Stephanie Landsem takes an interesting look at the second most famous family in the Gospels with the third book in her Living Water series. Denied the man she loved, Martha believed she was destined to stay a spinster and her father’s housekeeper. Her younger sister, Mary, had married for love and raised two children. Her brother, Lazarus, was determined to join the group following their second cousin, Jesus. But the hardworking Mary had a secret which, if revealed, would ensure no man would want her.
Landsem weaves together several familiar tales from all four Gospels, including those of the Gerasene demoniac whose demons were driven into nearby pigs, the meal hosted by Simon the Pharisee, and the Pharisee in the temple who prided himself in being better than a tax collector who was also worshiping in the building. Often, the separate stories are written as happening at the same time, but at no point does this feel awkward. This is a narrative that flows through the pages and keeps the reader interested for its entirety. The epilogue is a poignant scene which wraps up a remarkable series I definitely recommend reading.
Thank you to Howard Books for my complimentary review copy of The Tomb, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
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Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Page Count: 352