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Sarai (Wives of the Patriarchs Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 18 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I could not put this book down. Of course, the story of Abraham & Sarah has always been once of my favorite stories in the Bible. While reading you must keep in mind that Sarai, is a fictionalized version of the Bible story, yet it brings to life the emotions that Sarai and others might have been feeling, emotions that we would possibly feel if in the same situation. For me it opened my eyes to just how strong Abraham's faith was. It was amazing how he so easily recognized the Lord's presence and His voice. Sarai struggled to have the same faith, but Abraham was a strong example to her so that she had the stronger pull toward pleasing the Lord and her husband rather than the false God's of her neice. I will probably read this again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Jill amazes me with the in-depth insights in her Biblical histor

    Jill amazes me with the in-depth insights in her Biblical historical novels. Sarai: A Novel is no different! Though this may be a familiar story from the Bible to many of you, Jill brings it to life through the depths of her characters and their interactions throughout the unfolding of their lives.

    From the introduction of idol worship, the call of Abram to Canaan, and the eventual settling in the land, we see the personal struggles, jealousies, regrets, greed, and anxieties of each character, particularly Abram, Sarai, Lot, Meleh, and Hagar. The nomadic lifestyle challenges their constitution, spiritual life, and their trust in God, having come from a more comfortable lifestyle. Jill is able to bring you into the story and let you experience the uncomfortable bedding, the ‘archaic’ method of cooking, the grit of the dust storms, the whispers of barrenness, the mocking of Hagar, and the fear of Pharaoh in Egypt.

    The inner thoughts and emotions of betrayal, rejection, barrenness, and grumbling are aptly described, making them personal to your own thought life. Repentance and forgiveness become a necessary component of the story, as well in our lives. Abram and Sarai’s faith in God’s promise to Abram is resonant and tested throughout the whole book.

    The relationship between Abram and Sarai is so intimate, and yet strained with the birth of Abram’s first son. The latter situation is one that I would find difficult to deal with. Sarai’s feelings came across loud and clear, and I doubt I’d feel much different! Only by the grace of God could one withstand such a predicament!

    Jill brought this ancient story into today’s world without compromising the Biblical rendering of the story. For a touching, revealing version of Abram and Sarai, this is the book to read!

    This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Publicity Assistant at Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    Very, very good! Brings Sarai/Sarah & Abraham alive to me!

    Outstanding book -- historically more accurate than the majority of stories of Biblical characters. I felt as if I were watching the life and struggles of a woman I could understand and feel with and for as she lived with Abraham. Also brought Abraham to life as a real man with real problems and a deep faith in God. Fascinating, and will look for future books by this author on the wives of well-known Patriarchs of the ancient times of the Bible! Read through non-stop in one reading and had trouble with just having it end! Wanted more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Wow!

    Love this series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Awesome

    Absolutely loved this book. It was extremely well written and very enlightening!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    I enjoyed this book. The author makes this story come alive!

    I enjoyed this book. The author makes this story come alive!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Highly recommend

    This book makes the Bible come alive. As I read the book, I also read the story in the Bible. It accurately follows the Bible, but the author's imagination in "reading between the lines" makes for a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    I would highly recommend this book!

    This was the first book by Jill Eileen Smith that I had read, and I enjoyed it very much. I have since read her book, Bathsheba, which was also very good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

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    This novel brought the Old Testament to life for me. Once again

    This novel brought the Old Testament to life for me. Once again Jill Eileen Smith has given me a greater appreciation for the scriptures. I knew from reading the Old Testament that Sarai was bitter and jealous of Hagar when she felt like she had to give Abram her maidservant at the time she believed she was no longer physically capable of bearing children. This story shows how difficult it was for her, and for me it created a greater empathy for her plight because I better understood her pain. The culture in her day placed such importance on child bearing, and to have everyone around you bearing children had to be really hard. The scenario shown by the author was a great illustration of how taking matters into your own hands often makes things ten times worse than just trusting God. I pitied Hagar and her situation more than ever once I saw her suffering through the character in the story. I love how the author does this with each novel.

    When it came to the whole situation with Abram telling Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister, I always understood the story in part, but this novel gave backing to the many fears that Abram had for his deception by showing the reasons he said those things. I never understood how deeply it must have hurt Sarai not to be treated as his wife for so long and to be neglected (in many ways) by her husband in the name of protection. I could see how this was selfish on Abram's part and at one point I laughed when Sarai asked Abram if he cared if she died (and implied he was only worried about his own neck.) So while the novel shows the struggles Abram, Sarai, and Hagar had, it also showed their faith. I enjoyed the subplot with Lot as well and his family drama. All in all this was an engaging read. I didn't see any inconsistencies with Scripture and feel like the author did a great job filling in the blanks to bring about a clearer picture of the past. Well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully developed story

    Really enjoyed this retelling of a familiar biblical tale. Well-researched with beautiful historical detail. Characters were fully developed. A really page-turner even though you already know the story from the Bible. Can't wait for the second book in this series (February, 2013)!

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    Great Book!!!!!

    I could not put this book down!

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Sarai brought to life

    I have never read Biblical fiction books quite as engrossing as the books that I have read by Jill Eileen Smith. Her series on the wives of King David was just riveting and now she has started off with the Wives of the Patriarchs and who better to start off with than Sarai, wife to Abraham. She has done it again by sweeping me away to the past and thrusting me in the middle of the scenario that Sarai lived in. Jill has a gift for recreating the setting and times of that era in such a way that you would think she had lived at that time herself, which would of course be impossible but I would believe it. I honestly don't know how she does her research but I will just sit back and enjoy her bringing the Old Testament to life for me as I eagerly anticipate her next book in this new series.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    Sarai - A Great Biblical Read!

    This book tells the Biblical story of Abram and Sarai. If you are a believer and a follower of Christ you will know that this book follows very closely to the writings of Moses. I found this to be a great fictional read. I was so caught up and absorbed in this book that I didn’t want to put it down. I picked it up and read it every chance I got. The author did an awesome job with the dialogue between characters. I felt like I was right there traveling with them on their journey and listening in on their conversations. I experienced their joys, sadness, anger, frustrations, and their hope. Jill Eileen Smith is a new author to me and Sarai is the very first book I’ve read of hers. It won’t be the last. I have the Wives of King David series on my TBR list. I am eagerly looking forward to reading these books and the next book in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

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    Jill Eileen Smith once again brings the Old Testament to life in

    Jill Eileen Smith once again brings the Old Testament to life in her new Wives of the Patriarchs series. The first book in the series, Sarai is based on the Biblical account of Abraham and Sarah and their struggles to conceive a child. Smith uses rich period detail and emotional and spiritual insight to bring this story to the reader. Readers will see Sarai and Hagar in a new light and sympathize with their plights. A great fictional rendering of a one of the Bible's greatest stories!

    I first became acquainted with Jill Eileen Smith's writing with her Wives of David series which is still one of my favorites. Smith is very gifted when it comes to characterization. If you think about it, it's a daunting task to take characters that are considered sacred and build backstories and voices for them. In Sarai, Smith is taking the story of Abraham and Sarah and showing it to readers in a much more intimate way.

    When reading the Biblical account, the focus is primarily on Abraham. The only thing we really know about Sarai from the story is that she was barren, that she gave Abraham her maid Hagar in order to provide him an heir and that she laughed when God said he would give her son in her old age. It also mentions that she eventually had Abraham send Hagar and her child away, which alludes to the fact that she was jealous of Hagar, but the Bible doesn't tell us much more about Sarai. Smith says very true to the Biblical telling of the story, but she adds details about Sarai's personality, her feelings, what was going through her mind. It is a very compelling view of a woman that many people know of, but really know little about.

    Smith's character Sarai, is a woman that many readers will find resonance with. She made a promise to give Abram a son, a promise that she had no idea would be that difficult to keep. I think as Christians and as people we often make vows or promises that we think we can keep, but we really don't know for sure. This story always illustrated the fact that vows and promises to God or others is a very serious thing. We must be careful not to make promises we don't know if we can keep. That generally comes back to haunt us in the long run.

    Sarai also struggles with the fact that she is barren. Smith clearly shows that during this time period, if a woman could not produce a child, she was looked down upon, pitied and even degraded. That was the purpose of a woman, to bear her husband children and Sarai really has trouble with this. She is a very beautiful woman, yet she is considered unworthy because she has no children. Today's society isn't like that, but I think there are many women who can relate to the fact that not being able to have a child is devastating in many ways. I liked how Smith dealt with the issue and showed the lengths that Sarai went to, to give Abraham a child.

    Though I wished Smith had taken readers through Sarai's pregnancy and the birth of Isaac, I still loved every page of this book. It was intense and showed Sarai more as real woman, that a character in a Bible story. I think it is so important that these kinds of stories be told. A book of this kind may reach a person who would never pick up a Bible. It is a very powerful tool that I think Smith understands and uses it to get her message of God's grace across to readers. If you love the old Bible stories and accounts of what God was doing before the birth of Christ, this is definitely a book for you!

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

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    Beautiful retelling of a captivating story!

    I became a fan of Jill Eileen Smith, when I first read book one in her Wives Of King David series. She took Biblical facts and mixed them with fiction, and created stunningly beautiful novels that pull the reader into the past, and the story, instantly. Now, she's created yet another wonderful Biblical fiction series, starting with this one, and it's AWESOME! I felt the pull to the heart of the story instantly and held on for an incredibly moving ride. Ms. Smith created Sarai's story with rich detail. Sarai's story is one of betrayal, faith, hope and trust. Sarai longs to wed her half-brother Abram. It's with a promise of bearing him a son in turn for a promise to be faithful from him, that she's able to marry him. But, as years pass and still now heir is conceived, she starts to worry. Will Abram keep his promise to stay faithful to her, if she's not able to conceive? This book is filled with the answer to that and so much more. The accuracy of the story is incredible. I haven't read the Sarai/Abram's story in long a time, but each page turn brought something with it that sparked my memory from my Bible studies. The richness in the meaning behind the story of trusting in God (or Adonai as he was called in the story) is beautiful. The trust and the betrayal, the sacrifice...all of it was captivating. I definitely recommend this 5 Book worthy novel to everyone. There is passion (though it's clean!), there is hope, there is mysteriousness, and there is fact. You'll be swept away to a time before Jesus was born and live among the people of the story, as if you, too, were a part of it. Once again, Jill Eileen Smith has created a fabtastic start to a wonderful new series and I am in awe of the feeling I get after closing one of her novels. I can't wait for book two to release! Great job, Ms. Smith!!! This review originated at Reviews By Molly in part with a blog tour.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    I’m grateful I was given the opportunity to review Jill Ei

    I’m grateful I was given the opportunity to review Jill Eileen Smith’s book, Sarai: A Novel. Although my barrenness didn’t last as long as Sarai’s, I did experience a time when experiencing childbirth seemed an impossibility. Thankfully, as with Sarai, Adonai proved faithful.

    Our story begins shortly after the marriage of Lot, Abram’s nephew. The family, including Abram and his wife, Sarai, Lot and his wife, Melah and Terah, the father of Abram and Sarai, live in the pagan land of Ur. Sarai, unable to conceive, finds herself in a hopeless situation. Her marriage promise, the promise to give Abram a son, was long overdue. Many years had passed since her pledge and she still finds herself unable to produce a male child or any child, for that matter. Desperation causes her to look for help from among the god’s of Ur, after being nudged in that direction by her niece, Melah. In the midst of disappointment month after month, year after year, Abram remained faithful to his God, the one true God, Adonai.

    While in the fields, pondering the fact Sarai was yet to conceive, Abram felt an unusual stillness. The stillness was soon followed by blazing light and a stiff warm breeze. The uncommon event caused Abram to begin his journey back home. It was in that moment, he heard his name called. Wariness came over him as he pondered whether he was simply hearing things. He was hearing something, something that would change his life forever.

    Adonai gave Abram a command and made him a promise. The command: leave this land behind along with his father’s house and go to the land Adonai was going to show him. The promise: He would be made a great nation, Adonai would bless him and his name will be made great. He would bless those who blessed Abram and curse those who cursed him. Through him, all the families of the earth would be blessed.

    With the command spoken, Abram packed up his household, including Lot and his family and his father, Terah, and ventured out to the land he was promised.

    The journey proved a difficult one. The nomadic lifestyle was tiring, exhausting. In addition, fear drove Abram to lead his family to Egypt, a place which would have a significant impact on the lives Abram and Sarai, a far greater impact than either of them could have imagined. Sarai, still longing for a child, obsessed with birthing a son to fulfill her promise to Abram, takes matters into her own hands. The lengths to which she’ll go to have a child seem to surprise even her while trying Abram’s patience.

    The author unfolds this story beautifully. Her ability to capture the emotion of each moment is masterful. The lives of Abram and Sarai come to life, leaping right off the page, making this one of the best reads I can recommend.

    I give it 5/5 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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