by Jill Eileen Smith (Goodreads Author)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.
My Rating: 9/10
I don't really have any complaints with this novel. It's not a full star simply because I wouldn't want to read it again. That is not a reflection of the writing, just that this story is so painful.
Ms. Smith did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. I felt like she did them justice, presenting their strengths, weaknesses, struggles, and victories without prejudice, without bias. As a result, it really showed me the condition of my heart. I've always known I have an unforgiving spirit, but I'd thought I'd been getting better. Not so. Watching the sisters struggle, I heard my own heart responding in kind, taking up arms, and thinking about how I would feel, what I would do. And it was never to my own sacrifice, never for the good of others over myself. At least Rachel felt occasional guilt and eventual repentence and remorse. I have a long way to go.
In addition, this retelling really made me aware of how differently this story could have gone. Every step of the way, if they had chosen another path, things could have been so different. From the getgo, if just one of the sisters had chosen to love the other, regardless of how they were treated, I don't think Leah could have done what she did. I wonder if Rachel could have refused the marriage? I know she wouldn't have wanted to, but if she was trusting God and his ways, and I wonder if she would have been allowed to break her own marriage contract since Jacob had taken her sister by mistake? Hm. What a different story that would have been.
I completely understood her fear of allowing Jacob and Leah to spend any time together, to be close. How different it would have been, if she had even just chosen to love her sister herself- respond in kind words, compliments, companionship, encouragement, and ultimately forgiveness.
And I don't know if this part was accurate (will have to reread the Bible story myself now) but I noticed that Rachel did not turn to God much, except to beg for a child. But like so many of us, instead of trusting His silence (and perhaps pouring herself into her nephews), she attempted anything she could to make the decision herself. When will we learn that we cannot force God's hand?
Though so painful to read, this story was full of hard-earned wisdom. It was a colorful, vivid retelling.