Well, I'm back at it. Reviewing a book for Bethany House Publishers (this was a complimentary copy), and I have to say that this one became a quick favorite.
I will preface my review with this fact - I love history, and I love Biblical history, which is a huge factor in why I enjoyed this book so much. Lynn Austin did her research on this one, and it shows. Not only did she know what was happening in the Bible, but she also reviewed the historical events going on elsewhere. I feel like some authors like to take Bible stories and then just take complete creative license, but what she did seemed authentic.
This book is the story of Nehemiah, the Persian king's cup bearer who became the re-builder of the walls of Jerusalem. Fantastic. This story doesn't get enough attention, in my opinion, and why? What an amazing tale - a servant in the court who is given full permission and supplies to repair the most important city in his homeland. How on earth did he even gain that much favor? Austin developed Nehemiah's character so well that when this event occurred, it was completely believable.
Austin also has a good knowledge of Jewish culture and customs, as evidenced by her discussion of the feasts and laws from the Torah. Her accuracy was refreshing and added a lot of depth to the characters.
And, by the way, the characters - the story was told from a variety of points of view, mainly Nehemiah and two other main characters. This seems to be quite the trend right now, but I have to admit that I buy into it every time. I like being able to see the broad scope of the story and how it affects more than just one character. Nehemiah is a pretty static character, but both of the supporting narrators go through some pretty serious character development, so I can forgive Austin for that.
100% pick this book up. If you like history. And even if you don't. This was by far my favorite book I've reviewed thus far. Thanks so much to Lynn Austin for being careful and thorough in her research and crafting a story that added so much depth to what I already knew of Nehemiah.