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Michal (The Wives of King David #1) by Jill Eileen Smith: A Book Review

Michal (The Wives of King David #1)
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction, Biblical Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: 2009
Pages:  382
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: As the daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and by competition from her beautiful older sister. When Michal falls for young David, the harpist who plays to calm her father, she has no idea what romance, adventures, and heartache await her.

     As readers enter the colorful and unpredictable worlds of King Saul and King David, they will be swept up in this exciting and romantic story. Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes her readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as one of the wives of David. A sweeping tale of passion and drama, readers will love this amazing story.

     My Review: Michal tells the story of King David’s first wife. Michal is the daughter of King Saul. She is infatuated with David, the harpist. She eventually marries him. However, their marital bliss doesn’t last because King Saul is determined to kill David. In order to save David’s life, Michal helps him to to escape. She waits for him to return. However, when he doesn’t return, she is forced to marry her father’s guard, Paltiel, against her will. Michal gradually begins to love him. Their marriage is very happy until one day, David becomes King of Israel and demands that Michal is brought back to him. Can Michal and David love each other after many years of separation?

   I have to confess that when I read the Bible, I never gave much thought to David’s wives. Yet, as I read Michal, her story was fascinating and tragic. I was glad to learn more of her story. I felt bad that she was the daughter of King Saul and how she was forced to endure his madness. I also didn’t like that she became David’s wife. In this novel, David was not a man to be trusted. He was all sweet words, but  he had no substance. The only person Michal was really happy with was Paltiel. He truly loved her and was heartbroken when she had to leave him. There were times that I didn’t like Michal. Her actions were sometimes ruthless and selfish. Yet, eventually she realizes the gravity of her mistakes and seeks God’s forgiveness for what she has done.

  Overall, this story was about forgiveness. Michal’s story was very sad, and the ending was bittersweet. The writing can be a bit clunky and repetitive at times. It had many time jumps that I thought didn’t add to the story. The novel also had problems with characterizations. I didn’t really believe in the romance between Michal and David. I didn’t really like David. He had many faults. He also lacked emotion. The story was mostly told than shown. This was the Mrs. Smith’s first novel, and it shows. Despite its flaws, it was still a captivating story. The author did a good job of bringing Ancient Israel to life, and she did make me want to reread the Books of Samuel again to see Michal in a different light. I am interested in reading Abigail’s story. I recommend this to fans of Orson Scott Card, Joan Wolf, and Angela Hunt.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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