The Prophetess: Deborah's Story by Jill Eileen Smith: A Book Review

The Prophetess: Deborah’s Story 
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biblical Fiction, Christian
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 370
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Canaan has ravaged Israel. The people are in hiding. All that stands between surrender and hope is one untested woman. 

     Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord's tabernacle--or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan's cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him. 

     Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God's people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God's calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?

     With her trademark impeccable research and imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel's most powerful woman in this intriguing and inspiring novel.

     My Review: The Prophetess is a retelling of the Biblical Deborah. Deborah is briefly mentioned in the Book of Judges. She is the only female judge in the Bible. She was a prophet that led a successful rebellion of King Jabin. However, because she is briefly mentioned, there is not much that we know about Deborah except that she was the wife of Lapidoth. In this retelling, Jill Eileen Smith has given us a backstory to Deborah and shows us a strong and courageous woman who is willing to do God’s will.

     It is hard to do a novel about Deborah because there is so little information about her. Yet, Jill Eileen Smith manages to flesh her out. Deborah, in this story, is bold and wise. She is also very strong willed. She is a very loving and caring woman. She could also be overprotective and overbearing sometimes, which causes frequent arguments with her daughter, who is also strong-willed and stubborn. However, she strongly believes in God and yearns to follow his will. She does have some trials and obstacles in her life where she does question God’s judgement. However, at the end, she remains resilient and unyielding in her faith, which causes her to triumph.

     Overall, this book is about faith, love, family, courage, and second chances. The message of this book is to always trust in God’s will and that there is always hope even when there is a lot of darkness and suffering. I loved all the characters, and I found them to be fleshed out. My favorite is Jael, who is headstrong and protective like Deborah, and Barak, who is very honorable and who is undergoing a slow healing process over the death of a loved one. This book is also filled with romance, suspense, political intrigue, and action. I also loved how this novel shows strong women and how these women made a difference in the biblical world. I look forward to reading more books from this author. I recommend this book to fans of Angela Hunt, Joan Wolf, Rebecca Kanner, and Tosca Lee. Deborah’s story will be sure to inspire you and linger with you long after you have finished reading the last page.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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