Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release Date: February 27, 2024
Experience the story of the great flood as you never have before
Zara and Noah have walked together with the Creator for their entire lives. They have done their best in an increasingly wicked and defiant world to raise their three sons to follow in their footsteps. It has been a challenge--and it's about to get much, much harder.
When the Creator tells her husband to build an ark to escape the coming wrath against the sins of humankind, Zara steps out with him in faith. But the derision and sabotage directed their way from both friends and extended family are difficult to bear, as is knowing that everyone she interacts with beyond her husband, her sons, and their wives is doomed to destruction.
When the ark is finally finished and the animals have been shut up inside, Zara and her family embark on an adventure that will test their patience and their faith as they await deliverance and dry ground.
Reviewer: Katelyn Sponaugle
I’ll begin by saying that taking on even a portion of Noah and his wife’s lifetime to cover in a book was a gargantuan task, to say the least, both due to length and incredible events.
I was on a Biblical fiction kick and was excited to see The Ark and the Dove pop up since I’ve not read one based on that account. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but some things took me very off guard from the beginning, and I struggled to enjoy the book. Largely, the prominence in the book given to the Watchers. Many things described in regard to them seem to have been derived from extra-biblical texts, which I found hugely distracting. I contemplated not finishing it because of this, just a few chapters in. Ultimately, I decided it was fiction and I would finish it, but I was troubled by it the entirety of the book.
I also found the characters to be rather flat and didn’t feel them come to life for me in the way I love. This is a two-sided coin as well, because sometimes reading a fiction work attributing more characteristics to people from Scripture than is given can become somewhat distracting when you read the Bible later.
I’m sure the days in the Ark were monotonous and very likely rife with relational tensions. However, I found the description of the tension with Keziah to be repetitive and tiring, even though I found it perfectly plausible.
I enjoyed the last few chapters of the book the most, after they left the Ark. I had never considered or realized that Noah would have been alive during the time Babel was built as well as during Abraham’s lifetime and even all the way through Jacob and Esau’s birth.
I thought it was particularly insightful when Emzara reflected while on the Ark that they had escaped the sin and violence of the old world but could not escape the sin in their own hearts. How true that is! I’m thankful to know the Redeemer she wished for has come, that He is our Ark today, and that His kingdom is coming. May we be reminded to keep inviting others to come into the Ark.
All in all, I wouldn’t advise anyone reading my review not to read this book, but it was also not my favorite of Smith’s work to date. I would advise being aware that some elements are speculated with the aid of sources that are not Scripture. It was not without value, as I learned some things and have been provoked to seek to understand others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through Interviews & Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Trinity Caver
I will start this by saying I do not typically read biblical fiction because it tends to embellish too much on what could have been and then seems to read as if it is a true account of what actually happened. I think Jill Eileen Smith has done a great job putting together a fictional account of the Ark experience. The writing itself and the thought that has gone into writing this story are excellent.
I appreciate the fact that Smith says that she went to the Ark Encounter display in Kentucky to try to prepare for writing this book. I think that was a very wise decision and if anyone wants to write about something true but speculate on what could have happened, they should at least start with the most likely. Smith states as anyone can see in reading the Bible there just is not a lot of information about the ark experience and in particular Noah’s wife, who she is said to be telling this story through. This is where I was not intrigued with the story and how it progressed.
Jill Eileen Smith writes in the author's notes that she used other sources outside of the Bible to add to the story. The problem with these sources is they are not Scripture; therefore, they are not true accounts of what happened. These works or sources are not inspired by God, so they cannot be taken as true in their content, and I believe they should not even be referenced. In my opinion, they, in essence, are embellished accounts of what happened. One such instance is the mention of the watchers, this seems to come from one or two apocryphal works. The watchers appear to be demons, but there is no supporting evidence of this in the rest of Scripture. Some say there is an instance in Daniel, but it is obscure at best. Demons are seen in Scripture, but not these watchers and where they come from. These works (Apocrypha) are not Scripture, though some may think they are or even contend that they belong with Scripture.
I understand that there is not much evidence from Scripture itself to go on to make a story that would be interesting and long enough to hold the reader’s attention in this genre. In my opinion, there were just so many speculative liberties that it detracts from the actual account that God gives us in His Word.
As I stated before, it may seem to many that this account is a true account, and they may start believing it to be true, which can be concerning. I believe there should be a disclaimer with these types of stories to ensure that due diligence is made to warn readers that while it is based on true events, there are many instances in the book that are made up or that cannot be substantiated as truth.
In conclusion, I thought the effort that went into writing this story was very good and it is no small feat to write something like this. I enjoyed some of the speculation since it can be something that we all wonder about, but overall, I felt it was over the top. Some people may enjoy this book very much, I liked it, but I did not find it endearing.
I received a complimentary copy from Revell through Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“The world was not like it had been when I was young. And I did not like what it had become." Zara believes in Jill Eileen Smith’s novel, The Ark and the Dove: The Story of Noah’s Wife.
This three-hundred-and-thirty-six-page paperback targets those interested in Biblical fiction about Noah’s ark and the iconic flood. With no profanity, topics of illness and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note to the reader, acknowledgments, a biography, and advertisements.
This story follows Noah, his wife Zara, and their three sons and wives as they not only build the ark but also lead the animals inside to designated cages and rise above the waters for an extended period. As each individual deals with the past of losing loved ones, their faith and patience are tested as they call on their Creator for deliverance.
I have always enjoyed fictional books about the Bible and recognize that the story of the ark would be daunting in that there is little description in the Word, so I appreciate the research done to write the story (even if it may not be accurate or if I envision it a different way). I liked that the author considered the emotional fragility of the eight individuals on the ark and the burden they carried as the only ones to repopulate the earth. I commend the author for choosing the topic, as she promoted trusting the Creator no matter the outcome.
Those who do not like books that are based on Scripture will avoid this book. Some may disagree with the ample liberties taken that are not in the Bible. The storyline got sidetracked a few times when it focused on other characters instead of Zara. I got tired of the constant bickering, silent treatment, and inconsideration among the family, although it may have happened.
While it is clear that the author did plenty of research with the little information available, I felt she veered off-topic on a few questionable areas that may not have been needed. Adding discussion questions at the end would be thoughtful for book clubs.
If you like a story about Noah building a giant ship in the middle of a field as it becomes the ark of their safety, this one that focuses on the hope of redemption that God is in control is a good read, but be aware it is a fictional account.
Thanks to Revell and Interviews & Reviews for this complimentary book. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
Reviewer: Jeanette Durkin
Wow! Once again, this author awakens my thirst for knowledge about a particular biblical story! Noah and the Ark is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I loved all of the details that were in this book! I could easily picture myself each step of the way as Noah and his family built and then lived on the ark.
The characters are written well. They each have their own personal struggles. Their dedication to God is amazing! I don't know if I could stay on the ark for that long. Zara is my favorite. She's a peacekeeper.
I love how the author always points the reader towards God and his faithfulness. It's so encouraging and uplifting to be reminded of this fact. Each chapter was more exciting than the last. I was so sad when the book ended. I can't wait to read more books by this author!
I was provided a copy of the book from Revell through Interviews and Reviews and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Ark and the Dove by Jill Eileen Smith is an interesting look at the tale of Noah and the Ark from his wife's perspective.
The cover immediately drew me in, as did the concept for the story. What was life like for Noah and his family on the ark? While it is easy to imagine the opposition Noah encountered when building the ark, once God shut them up in it, what was their daily life like?
The author has brilliantly shown, through Zara (Noah's wife), how they might have cared for the animals, but has also allowed for normal family dynamics that occur when we are together too long. Noah and his family had no way to escape each other's presence, and when one family member grates against the nerves of all aboard, it makes for a very realistic view of life on the ark.
One thing that was foremost on my mind while reading this story was that the world is currently in the same situation as Noah and his family. We are living in a time of increased lawlessness, where sin is ignored and even celebrated.
While Noah had one hundred years to warn his friends and neighbours of the impending judgement, we have had over 2,000 years to warn others of the judgement to come. Our "ark" is Jesus. He is our only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, many people don't even believe in God today, so it feels very much like the "ark" is about to set sail, leaving many without hope of salvation and eternal life.
Many times, talk of a coming redeemer was mentioned in this book. I hope that all who read it take it seriously and "get on the boat."
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest review.
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