Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Will God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?
Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.
Reviewer: Valerie Jackson
I don’t normally read historical novels, particularly Christian ones, as I can rarely relate to the culture of the characters. However, having recently studied Hannah’s story I thought I would give this one a try. It is usually difficult to retain interest in a work of fiction if you already know the key points of the tale, as well as how the story ends. But in this case, I was never bored, as Jill Smith surprised me again and again with the direction in which she took her tale.
Both the frustrations and the determination of Hannah were very relatable. A picture is also painted of the backgrounds of the other main characters, so that we may understand their motivations and, at least somewhat, empathize with them also. The author also tackled the cultural climate of trying to worship under a corrupt priesthood. And the daily cycles of the life of a woman of this period is also well delineated, with no jarring hints of a modern mindset.
There was not a lot of depth of characterization at the beginning, but then again, the very young rarely have a lot of depth of character. As Hannah faced the challenges of being a barren wife and unhappy daughter-in-law, we see her faith grow. By the tale’s end, the combination of strength and femininity that was Hannah’s from the very beginning, became the fully mature hallmarks of that woman whose faith and compassion are the result of a trial by fire. She is the sort of woman we would like to become. And the sort of woman we would like to know.
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing.