|India Edghill: Queenmaker|
Martin's Press (Hardcover), ISBN 0312289189
After Saul learns of his impending kingship from the prophet Samuel, Michal's life changes dramatically, almost overnight. One minute a farmer's daughter and the next a pampered and spoiled young princess, Michal revels in her new importance. But being royal carries its own burdens. Through Michal's eyes we see her father's eventual descent into madness from the pressures and stress of ruling a nation continually at war with its neighbors.
Enter the charismatic and beautiful David. Shepherd, singer, soother of kingly rages and last (but certainly not least) slayer of giants. Michal falls in love with David's P.R. before she does the man. Her older brother, Jonathan, another admirer of David, brings the hero home and introduces him to his sister. Not unexpectedly, Michal falls head over heels with the tall and handsome warrior. Unfortunately, David doesn't live up to his billing. Indeed, as time and treachery prove, David's overwhelming desire to be king -- and his almost pathological need to be admired and loved -- annihilates the people who care for him most.
Treatises and tomes on biblical history the size of school buses abound. Pick one scholar to prove a specific point, and twelve more will jump from the woodwork brandishing their own theories. Queenmaker wades through fact and speculation to give readers an engrossing fictional portrait of a woman caught in circumstances far beyond her control. The novel shows Michal's ultimately triumphant battle to find her own identity and love -- amid the seething background of palace politics, royal lies and personal tragedy surrounding the throne of Israel.
Forget the biblical and historical implications. Michal's journey from spoiled princess to mature, wise (and sometimes scheming) queen touches every base in depicting a woman's strengths and weaknesses as she fights to survive not only those who hate and wish to destroy her, but those who may cause her destruction because they love her. A strong book about a strong woman -- always a good idea -- and in this case, a truly great read as well.
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