If you are a fan of biblical fiction, you will want to add Diana Wallis Taylor’s newest book to your reading list. Martha is the story of Martha of Bethany, sister of Lazarus and Mary. I really enjoyed how the author developed Martha’s character in this story, being that so little is actually known about her.
This story helped me to remember that when reading the Biblical account I shouldn’t overlook that Martha had hopes and dreams and wasn’t just a crabby, overwhelmed woman!
Those familiar with the Bible know that Martha is described as a busy (and sometimes uptight!) woman but the author gives us insight as to why this might have been. This story helped me to think deeper about why Martha may have been so rushed, so busy, so preoccupied.
In this story, Martha has most of the responsibilities of her household and is caught between wanting her own home and family and taking care of her father and siblings. A sense of duty causes her to continually suppress the longings of her heart and as a result, she feels resentful and left out sometimes.
Of course, this book is fiction but it takes the biblical account of Martha and her family and weaves in accurate, descriptive accounts of the food, culture and practices of that time. The story of Martha came to life for me while reading this book and it was easy to picture the characters interacting with Jesus as they wondered if he was truly the Messiah.
The creative liberties that the author took with this story blended very nicely with the actual biblical accounts and I think she did a fantastic job of researching the lifestyles, culture and rituals of this time period. I like that Diana includes scripture in the dialogue between her characters and it is very natural and easy to read – not “forced” conversations like I’ve sometimes read in other biblical fiction stories.
This is the second book in the series on misunderstood women of the Bible.
“Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Martha Loses Hope As She Looks For The Messiah…and A Miracle.
“Oh God Who Sees, take me also. If not together in life, let me join him in death. I don’t want to live without him.” She looked up at the night sky. Had the God Who Sees kept her from making a mistake? Would it have worked out the way she dreamed?
Author Diana Wallis Taylor creates a beautiful story set in the New Testament following the life of Martha of Bethany, sister of Mary and Lazarus in Martha (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3465-7, $14.99, 256 pages, June). The busyness of Martha is well-known, identified with, studied, and often misunderstood by people today. Often painted in the colors of reproach, Martha seems to be the poster child for how not to be a follower of Jesus. Taylor provides a well-researched touching portrayal of Martha.
When her mother dies leaving young Martha in charge of the household, her family is dependant upon her to oversee the home. Yet like other girls in her village, Martha longs to be married and begin her own family. Considered a fine cook and weaver, Martha is quick to help others within her community. She experiences the hope of love and love lost, trials, friendship, the death of her father, the overwhelming duty to her family, the discovery of the Messiah, the miracles witnessed at the Temple, and the hospitality she shows to her Lord with dignity and grace. However, when Lazarus becomes ill and Jesus is too late – Martha questions both her faith and the Lord. How could she know that one of the Lord’s greatest miracles was only moments away? Through the life of Martha, Taylor shows readers a new perspective and appreciation for this special woman of the New Testament.
Diana Wallis Taylor enjoys speaking to women’s groups and teaching writing and poetry workshops. She is the author of Journey to the Well, has published many articles, and contributed stories to several books. Taylor lives in California. Find out more at www.dianawallistaylor.com.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.
This book was provided free for review by Revell.