Customer Reviews for

The Well: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    A beautiful story of love and self sacrifice that will stay with

    A beautiful story of love and self sacrifice that will stay with you long after you finish the book.
    What a beautiful story of love and self sacrifice. I couldn't put it down. I was kept guessing until the end, as to how the story would unfold, I love that in a book! We need more people in our world who believe in Jesus Christ and who are willing to put the needs of others above their own needs, like several of the main characters do. A truly beautiful and inspirational story that will stay with you long after you put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2013

    I do love a good Biblical fiction--and this is one great Biblica

    I do love a good Biblical fiction--and this is one great Biblical fiction!

    Mara is the daughter of the Biblical woman at the well, Nava, and the sister of a cripple, Asher. Many of the people at Sychar have decided they should be shunned. Nava because she sent her husband away and indulges in things she shouldn't; Asher because he is crippled, and it must be because he or his mother deserve punishment; and Mara by association.

    Shem is the son of a wealthy Jewish merchant and a Samaritan mother and the possessor of a hot temper and arrogance that doesn't endear him to the Romans in Caesarea. A fight with two soldiers one night first to protect a woman about to be raped and then to protect his younger brother results in the violent death of one of the soldiers.

    Now Shem's father must send him to Sychar, to his grandparents, to hide. Shem is mortified, at least until he catches a glimpse of Mara.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    I just finished reading this book and HIGHLY recommend it. If yo

    I just finished reading this book and HIGHLY recommend it. If you want to get a feel of what it was like living in Biblical times, Stephanie Landsem takes you back there. It is a very moving story that sucks you in and makes you think. I'm not a huge reader of historical fiction, but this book I had trouble putting down. I highly recommend!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2013

    I love it when someone can take a Bible story I've heard a thous

    I love it when someone can take a Bible story I've heard a thousand times and present it in a way that makes it so much more "real" for me. Stephanie Landsem does just that in this retelling of the Samaritan woman at the well.

    Clearly, Ms. Landsem has done her research on Biblical times. The vivid details in the story give us a glimpse of what it was really like to live in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. With such images in my mind, I can't help but read the Gospel stories in a different light. Even when I hear the story of the Good Samaritan, I "see" it differently because I have a better understanding of the animosity that existed between Jews and Samaritans at the time.

    On top of that, Ms. Landsem has created characters that we care about. We root for Maya and want to see her succeed in caring for her younger brother and protecting her mother.

    I look forward to reading the future books in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    An Amazing Debut Novel Mara is a 15 year old Samaritan girl who

    An Amazing Debut Novel

    Mara is a 15 year old Samaritan girl who lives with her younger, crippled brother and her mother in a small clay house in Sychar. Mara’s mother, Nava, is mentally unstable, and Mara is trying to take care of her mother and brother. She is scorned in the village because of her mother’s sins, so life is not easy for Mara.

    There’s a pagan man named Alexandros who stops by their house once in a while to stay the night with Nava. No one can know about this because the people of Sychar will stone Nava if they ever find out.
    Mara is trying to persuade Nava to turn Alexandros down next time, because she is living in constant fear that her mother’s ‘secret’ will be exposed.

    Shem is a young man from Caesarea where he received a good education, and where he could live a good life…if he hadn’t gotten himself into trouble. His father is sending him away to his grandparents in Sychar. Once there, he rescues Mara from three boys who are bullying her on her way to the well—and in doing so he makes his first enemies in Sychar.

    One day Nava is going to the well where she meets Jesus. He knows all about her husbands and doesn’t condemn her. She receives new life at the well and is changed after that. But the village people refuse to believe she’s changed—they want to punish her for her sin.

    When something bad happens to her mother, Mara is called in a dream by Jesus. Meanwhile Jesus has left Sychar and has gone elsewhere. Mara and Shem go after him—together they travel from Sychar to Nazareth, and further. On the way they get into several dangerous situations.

    Will they find Jesus? Will her mother get healed? And what is the reason Jesus called Mara to come to him?

    I enjoyed this book immensely! It is hard to believe this is a debut novel. The writing is excellent; the author has a pleasant voice, the plot is very well done, the characters are so real, easy to love, and easy to identify with. From the first till the last page, this book is a pure delight. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Ever since reading The Thief, Stephanie Landsem's second novel i

    Ever since reading The Thief, Stephanie Landsem's second novel in The Living Water Series, I felt I missed out on her debut novel, The Well. I was so impressed and lost in her novel, I had to read this one just to see where it all began and to satisfy the longing in my book lover's heart. You know when you find an exceptional author, you have to pick up everything they write. I was not disappointed in my discovery. Thank you to Howard Books for generously sending me this copy to read and review without any monetary compensation for a favorable review.

    One of the things that make Stephanie's novels so exceptional is she doesn't leave out any details when taking a known event from the Bible and expounding on the details that we don't know. Given that very little is known about the Samaritan women at the well that Jesus encounters, I love how Stephanie elaborated on what her life must have been like to bring her to that fateful life changing encounter we all know about from the Bible.

    In the novel The Well, the reader is transported back in time to the Samaritan village of Sychar, where we find ourselves meeting the famed adulterous woman, Nava who is once again bringing much shame and disgrace not only to the village but more importantly to her daughter Mara and her disabled brother Asher. Knowing that her mother has completely lost sight of what this could bring to her family if anyone discovers what she is doing, Mara takes on the role of the mother, providing for the care and feeding of her mother and Asher. Since they are among the poorest in the village, they are only able to get by with the charity of the women in town who leave whatever they can spare so Mara and Asher won't go hungry. But Mara knows the charity will only last for so long as she manages to care for her family any way she can.

    Fate intervenes when Jesus comes to the town of Sychar and meets Nava at the well. Just when it looks like things will get better for their family, those in the town that seek revenge instead of grace won't stop until they ensure that the laws of God are upheld in town. But once her mother is brought before the court, will there be anyone willing to stand up for righteousness against the odds? You just might be surprised at how well Stephanie writes the conclusion of her debut novel.

    I received The Well by Stephanie Landsem compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest opinion. The one thing I didn't realize is how she will preserve some of these characters for their reprising role in The Thief. I don't want to spoil it for you but trust me, if you love Biblical Fiction, you will definitely want to pick up The Well and The Thief. This is such an exceptional journey because you feel as though you're not just reading the story but actually living there. Just the violent act of stoning is something I am glad we don't do any longer and it seems it would be a painful and slow death at the hands of people who believe their are justified in their actions. This reminds me of mob-like vigilante's of the ancient days. I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Couldn't put it down

    Enjoyed this book. Well written.

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  • Posted February 13, 2014

    I loved this biblical-historical fiction novel, The Well.  It is

    I loved this biblical-historical fiction novel, The Well.  It is very well written and such a great read.  It is a story of judgement, love, devotion and calling.  This is book one in the authors Living Water series, and I cannot wait to read the second installment, The Thief.

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  • Posted February 2, 2014

    Incredible novel

    Incredible novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Excellent!

    The story of the woman at the well from her daughter's viewpoint. Love, faith, redemption, healing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Stephanie Landsem has a gift for bringing The bible to life with

    Stephanie Landsem has a gift for bringing The bible to life with stunning imagery and well-developed characters you can't help but fall in love with! Be ready to embark on a wonderful journey of despair, then hope, and finally, redemption.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mara is a young woman shunned and harassed because of her mother

    Mara is a young woman shunned and harassed because of her mother's sinful choices. Determined to provide for her crippled younger brother, Mara must rely on the begrudging charity of the townspeople, but the unexpected attentions of a stranger provokes jealousy she can't afford.

    Wanted by the Roman government, Shem has fled Caesarea to hide at his grandfather's farm in the village of Sychar, but trouble seems to always find him. He must respond to injustice, even if he doesn't always respond wisely. Will his rash actions hurt those he's trying to protect?

    I can't tell you how excited I am about this book. Although familiar with the first century stigma against adultery I never stopped to consider the social implications for the children of an adulterous woman...and these women almost certainly would've had children. Landsem takes a story that you think you know and leaves you breathless with unexpected discoveries. I found myself stunned with the turns in the story and setting the book down to reflect and pray before I could go any further. 

    This is a book you'll tell your friends about.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

      I took a trip to Sychar today, to The Well in the village cent

      I took a trip to Sychar today, to The Well in the village center. There I met a young, half-starved girl who had eyes of jade and amber under her striped headcovering. The girl's name was Mara, which means bitter, and life had mirrored her name for far too long. She was the daughter of Nava, the infamous village scandal: the woman who has been married five times. 
    Her mother's sinful reputation and obvious emptiness left Mara torn to pieces... she wanted to shake her mother for ruining their family, and she wanted to find whatever her mother needed to heal and live again. 

    Over the years, Mara swallowed her sorrow and buried her dreams, providing the best she could for her beloved brother and desperately trying to hide her mother's secret. Nava had been married five times, but she also had another man who was not her husband. No one else knew of this but Mara, and no one must ever know. If Nava's adultery were ever proved to be more than just gossip at the well, no pardon would be granted to her. 
    Samaria was a harsh land, and judgements there were harsher, judgements unmixed with mercy or grace and tainted with pride and revenge.  

    Mara lived with the hope that someday the Taheb (The Restorer) would come. Though of course He would not care to help outcasts such as Mara's mother, would he? 

    After visiting with Mara at The Well, I will not read John Four the same way again. 
    I had never imagined what this woman's children would have felt like, and I hadn't thought too deeply about Nava herself. Stephanie Landsem has made them real people. 

    Stephanie has woven another story into Mara's, the story of Shem ben Ezra. 
    Shem was a cultured young scholar, skilled in languages and laws, exiled to the olive groves of his Samaritan grandparents to escape Roman crucifixion. When Shem found Mara weeping in a moonlit olive grove, he was drawn to help her. 
    Soon, Shem and all of the village must look into the Taheb's face and decide whether they will drink of the living water only He can give. Shem must come to terms with this question: If following Jesus meant denying something you desire, will you lay that desire aside and answer His call? 

    Questions of Law, Mercy, and Love are raised in The Well, leaving you with much to think about.
    The truth of the living water and its source flows through these pages, cool and cleansing, calling us to come and drink deeply. 
    The ending may shock some people, but when I reflect on it I think it is the most beautiful, fitting ending any of our stories could hope to have. 

    Thank you Stephanie Landsem for this worthy Biblical fiction, and thank you for sending me a copy to review. I hope to have the honor of reviewing your next books! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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