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Posted September 12, 2010
great Bible-oriented historical fiction
Twelve-year-old Tirzah, her lame younger brother Oren, her older brother Ram, and their parents, father Jeraheel and mother Leah, are Israelite slaves in Egypt. As the book opens, there have been eight plagues and the Hebrews are now beginning to make their final preparations to leave Egypt. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and even Miriam figure prominently in the plot. However, there are some among the Israelites who do not trust Moses. Among them is Tirzah's uncle Shobal, her mother's brother, who is influencing her brother Ram, although Shobal's own son Abishur is quite confident in Moses's leadership. And Tirzah's best friend Abihail has eyes for Abishur. Oren wants his Egyptian tutor Paser to come with them, but Paser says that he is too old to leave. However, Paser's niece Merrie is among the Egyptians who leave with the Israelites. Ram is falling in love with her, but she is looked upon with great suspicion by many of the Hebrews. Then, as the Israelites make their way through the desert, there are some who begin to long for Egypt, to complain, and even to rebel. What will happen to them?
Tirzah is a great Bible-oriented historical novel for young people. While there is much fictionalization of characters, the events of the book are based on accounts in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The story follows Tirzah, her family, and the Hebrew people in general from the Passover, through the Exodus, the Red Sea, the journey to Mt. Sinai, the Ten Commandments, and the golden calf, to the time of the twelve spies at Kadesh-Barnea. Author Lucille Travis does a good job of weaving the narrative about Tirzah, her friends, and her relatives in the Biblical record in a harmonious way. In addition, the important concepts of trust in God and the consequences of disobedience to the Lord are well illustrated. While there is certainly some sadness in the book, it ends on a hopeful note. By the way, another of Tirzah's uncles, her father's brother, is Caleb, one of the two faithful spies. Travis has also written Timna, a juvenile chapter book about the wife of Shem, son of Noah, and her fears and struggles with belief in God while floating in the Ark for forty days and nights.
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