Can one woman’s prayers change the world?
Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love for each other, for their God, and for His tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.
Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Will God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?
Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.
I’ve enjoyed previous Biblical fiction novels by Jill Eileen Smith. I’m part of the launch team for this new release.
When reviewing a Biblically-based novel, I find it useful to review what I know about the main character(s). I knew that Hannah was the mother of Samuel, who anointed both Saul and David. I knew she’d been barren for many years, and I knew that she made a vow to God that, if He gave her a child, she would surrender that child back to Him. She also had a vicious sister-wife!
A Passionate Hope had me rethink at least one of my presumptions. Peninnah is essentially the villainess of Hannah’s story, but Jill Eileen Smith made me feel sympathy for her. She was the second wife of a man she loved, and she gave him plenty of children, but Elkanah was never really able to give her what she wanted. In Smith’s account, Peninnah’s deceased father hadn’t been a great father or husband and her mother consistently gave her bad advice. As for Hannah, I can’t imagine what it must’ve felt like to know your husband was sleeping with another woman because she could give him sons when you couldn’t. And how much worse it must’ve been for the wives of the sons of Eli, the priests who couldn’t have cared less about carrying out their duties the way God instructed. Instead of focusing on the responsibilities they’d been given they reveled in the power that resulted from those responsibilities.
Don’t expect a detailed look of the duties of the Levites, the loss of the Ark of the Covenant in battle, or of Samuel as an adult. We get Elkanah’s perspective, but only as it pertains to Hannah and Peninnah. This is a book about the mother of a great Bible figure, in a series about pivotal female figures of the Old Testament. Look at it in that light and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a fascinating look a woman who struggled to understand God but kept her faith in Him nevertheless.
Thank you to Revell and Jill Eileen Smith for my complimentary copy of A Passionate Hope, which I received for my honest review.
Do you plan to read A Passionate Hope? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 06 February 2018
Page Count: 368