Blog Tour: Song of Songs by Marc Graham: A Book Review
Song of Songs: A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
by Marc Graham
Song of Songs: A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
by Marc Graham
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Blank Slate Press
Paperback; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
When Makeda, the slave-born daughter of the chieftain of Saba, comes of age, she wins her freedom and inherits her father’s titles along with a crumbling earthwork dam that threatens her people’s survival. When she learns of a great stone temple being built in a land far to the north, Makeda leads a caravan to the capital of Yisrael to learn how to build a permanent dam and secure her people’s prosperity.
On her arrival, Makeda discovers that her half-sister Bilkis (also known as Bathsheba) who was thought to have died in a long-ago flash flood, not only survived, but has become Queen of Yisrael. Not content with her own wealth, Bilkis intends to claim the riches of Saba for herself by forcing Makeda to marry her son. But Bilkis’s designs are threatened by the growing attraction between Makeda and Yetzer abi-Huram, master builder of Urusalim’s famed temple. Will Bilkis’s plan succeed or will Makeda and Yetzer outsmart her and find happiness far from her plots and intrigue?
My Review: Makeda inherits the throne of Saba when her family is killed by war and floods. As soon as she sits upon a throne, she must find a way to rebuild a dam made of mudbrick that threatens her kingdom’s survival. When she learns of a temple being built in Jerusalem that is made of stone, Makeda believes that the temple’s craftsmanship may provide an answer on how to build a permanent dam to safeguard her people.
Makeda leads a caravan to Yisrael and is shocked that the sister she thought had been swept away from flood was now the queen of Yisrael. Her sister, Bilkis (who is most known as Bathsheba), desires the queen of Saba’s wealth for herself. She plans to have Makeda marry her son. However, Makeda falls in love with the temple’s builder Yetzer. Can Makeda find a way to refuse Bilkis plans and find her own happiness?
Song of Songs is centered on three main characters, Makeda (the queen of Saba), Bilkis (the queen of Yisrael), and Yetzer (Jerusalem's temple builder). As soon as the novel begins we are introduced to Makeda. Makeda is the daughter of a slave and the chieftain of Yisrael. She is jealous of her older half-sister Bilkis because of her beauty and status. When her sister is swept away by the flood, she finds herself thrust upon a throne that she was not prepared for. However, Makeda’s main strength is her compassion. She cares for her people and her kingdom.
While Makeda is the protagonist in the novel, Bilkis is the villain. Bilkis is the foil to Makeda. While the queen of Saba is compassionate and caring, the queen of Yisrael is power-hungry, manipulative, ruthless, and self-centered. The love of Bilkis’s life is her throne. She is willing to do anything (including committing murder) to obtain it. She wants to build a temple for Jerusalem to bring glory for herself. Thus, Bilkis is not a likable character. I kept reading, hoping that she would get her just desserts.
Yetzer is Makeda’s love interest. He was a man from Yisrael, but he grew up in exile in Egypt. He planned to work in a temple until he failed his test and he was made a slave. Throughout his time as a slave worker, he becomes compassionate and caring toward those of a lower class. Therefore, he shares the same elements as Makeda, for they care for the well-being of the people. Yetzer is also an ambitious and an intelligent builder. He dreams of building Jerusalem's temple into the most magnificent structure in Yisrael.
Overall, Song of Songs has turned the first Book of Kings from the Old Testament into The Other Boleyn Girl. This novel has sibling rivalry, courtly intrigue, and betrayal. Because Makeda’s journey to Yisrael does not take place until the book neared its end, it took a long time for the three characters to meet. Therefore, the characters background story could have been shortened in order to focus on the main plot. Still, Song of Songs has plenty of soap opera elements that will keep you entertained as you await Makeda’s journey. I recommend this for fans of Deborah Rising, The Queenmaker, and Jerusalem’s Queen.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
Marc Graham studied mechanical engineering at Rice University in Texas, but has been writing since his first attempt at science fiction penned when he was ten. From there, he graduated to knock-off political thrillers, all safely locked away to protect the public, before settling on historical fiction. His first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, was published in March 2017.
He has won numerous writing contests including, the National Writers Assocation Manuscript Contest (Of Ashes and Dust), the Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest – Historical (Of Ashes and Dust, Song of Songs), and the Colorado Gold Writing Contest – Mainstream (Prince of the West, coming from Blank Slate Press in Fall 2019).
He lives in Colorado on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and in addition to writing, he is an actor, narrator, speaker, story coach, shamanic practitioner, and whisky afficianado (Macallan 18, one ice cube). When not on stage or studio, in a pub, or bound to his computer, he can be found hiking with his wife and their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
Blog Tour Schedule:Tuesday, April 16
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, April 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Thursday, April 18
Review at Bookfever
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Friday, April 19
Feature at What Is That Book About
Guest Post & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read
Saturday, April 20
Excerpt at Spellbound by History
Monday, April 22
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Tuesday, April 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, April 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 25
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Friday, April 26
Review at Red Headed Book Lady
Tuesday, April 30
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
Wednesday, May 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Friday, May 3
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews
Monday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, May 7
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, May 9
Excerpt at Kimber Li
Friday, May 10
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, May 13
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Tuesday, May 14
Review at Amy's Booket List
Wednesday, May 15
Feature at Donna's Book Blog
Friday, May 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Giveaway:During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two paperback copies of Song of Songs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Song of Songs