Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review: "Miriam" by Mesu Andrews


Miriam (Treasures of the Nile #2)
by Mesu Andrews


The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel 
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.


Miriam has been a midwife and prophetess to the Hebrew slaves in Egypt for nearly all of her eighty-six years. Then one day, everything changes. Pharaoh had a dream, Miriam cannot feel the Spirit of El Shaddai, and her brother Aaron experiences a calling to fetch his brother Moses out of Midian. Then Moses arrives, bearing news of their upcoming deliverance and a new name for their God, Yahweh.

Miriam by Mesu Andrews takes up the story of the Exodus begun in Pharoah’s Daughter, and I must say I enjoyed it very much. It takes a new look at the story of Israel’s deliverance, the ten plagues, and the Red Sea crossing through the view of some of the normal people in Israel. After all, not everyone would have seen Moses talking to Pharaoh and would not understand at first why a few dozen frogs suddenly invaded their house. Miriam was a rather fascinating look at some of the physical and spiritual effects of the events in Exodus.

A second main character, other than Miriam, was Eleazar, her brother Aaron’s son. Eleazar, as the bodyguard for one of Pharaoh’s sons, gave insight into what occurred in the palace, since neither Moses nor Aaron were ever POV characters. Also, Miriam told of Eleazar’s growing relationship with a young woman under his care. It amused and frustrated me as I realized how little Eleazar understood women.

The spiritual journey of the various characters was a major focus of the novel. As mentioned in the synopsis, Miriam had held a close relationship with God, having a distinct and unusual sense of God. But she lost that particular sense around the same time Moses received his calling to rescue the Israelites, and she struggled from that point on, feeling deserted. It wasn’t that God deserted her but that the relationship between them had changed. Miriam was no longer alone in her calling to minister to the Israelites, and Moses took her place as spiritual leader. It made the character who I had worried about being able to relate to, due to my age being a fraction of her own, and made her relatable and dynamic.

The historical facts seemed as accurate as they could be, considering how little is known about ancient Egypt. Watching the plagues ensue and the scientists of the time trying to explain away the extreme forces of nature was fascinating. Also, I had never thought about the fact that Pharaoh would have several first-born sons because of his many wives. How horrible it would have been to have lost all of them at once.

In all, Miriam was a fascinating look into the Exodus of the Bible. It touched on the characters and the spiritual and physical effects the plagues would have on them and the way Pharaoh could have reacted as he did. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to anyone who enjoys an interesting, accurate retelling of Biblical history.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

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