Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release Date: March 2, 2021
She has prayed for deliverance from Egypt.
But perhaps the greatest liberation happens within the heart.
From the very beginning, Miriam has lived in her younger brother's shadow. Thrust into the role of protective older sister before Moses was even born, she will grow up into a woman who not only keeps her family's secret but bears the burden of leading a new nation.
In her mind, she knows that she is serving both her God and her people. But in her heart, Miriam yearns for more. She longs to experience the privileges Moses has--to talk with God face-to-face. But when God finally does speak directly to her, the outcome is not at all what she expects.
With her impeccable research and keen eye for detail, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith offers this epic novel to fill in the gaps in Miriam's story, following her from childhood to motherhood, obscurity to notoriety, and yearning to fulfillment as she learns that what God promises He provides--in His own perfect timing.
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
Miriam's Song is a new biblical fiction novel by veteran author Jill Eileen Smith, and I feel blessed to have the chance to read it. I love biblical fiction because it prompts me to go back to check the true source, God's Word, and Miriam's Song is no different.
Much of this story is Smith's conjecture, but it's apparent that she devoted a lot of time and effort in her research. Miriam was the older sister of Moses, and Smith paints her as a very human person. She is portrayed as deeply loving her family, and being especially protective of Moses, but there is also aggravation and jealousy that is common is all sibling relationships. As Moses continues to do God's bidding, Miriam wants her brother to be present in her life but she realizes that "There was nothing they could do. God wanted her brother, and her brother seemed to want God more than he wanted anything else."
One of my earliest memories of Sunday school is of hearing the story of baby Moses, and seeing a picture of him in a basket, hidden in the reeds along the river bank. My young mind thought that it was amazing that his mother was the one chosen to help Pharaoh's daughter care for him, and that his young sister was there to make it happen. As I've grown in my knowledge, I now know that God was orchestrating all of this, and this book heightens my appreciation of His Plan. Miriam's thoughts and actions are only assumed as she witnesses the many events of Moses's life, but they are very poignant. The extreme cruelty of the Egyptians, the desperate attempts of the Hebrews to escape, and the parting of the Red Sea are all mentioned, and Smith also shows Miriam's regrets when the people continuously complain about God's actions. "No food...nothing but manna...we want meat." Complaining people even then some things never change!
If you love Old Testament history, you will certainly enjoy this book. Miriam's Song has a powerful faith message, and it's a story that I won't soon forget!
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
If you are looking for an imaginative re-telling of a Biblical story that doesn't stray far from the Scriptures, then Miriam's Song by Jill Eileen Smith is an excellent place to start.
Looking at Moses's story and Israel's redemption from Egypt through Miriam's eyes is a challenging task to write. Mainly because there is so little about Miriam in the Bible. We know she was a prophetess and watched over Moses when his mother placed him in the Nile as a baby. That's about it. So the author did a fantastic job of extrapolating what might have been and gives the reader a sense of being there during the turmoil of living as slaves in Egypt. And as they try to live as a people chosen by God.
One of the things that hit home to me in this novel was the differences between how Christians come to God now compared to how the Israelites approached Him. It made me wonder if we are too familiar with our mighty God. As if we have lost our reverence or awe of Him. We approach whenever we want and at times almost too casually. Yes, we have that privilege because of Jesus, but it is good to remember once in a while that we have a powerful and fearsome God. Something the author portrays quite brilliantly in this novel.
While the author brings the Bible to life through Miriam's eyes, I, unfortunately, felt nothing for these characters. I hoped for more of a back story from Miriam and the love story between her and Jephunneh. However, the author stuck to the story in the Bible and didn't really deviate from it. This is a good thing if you want the Bible brought to life, but not if you like to be invested in the story's characters.
While Miriam's Song didn't quite hit the mark for me, I still look for Jill's next book with anticipation. If you like the Bible brought to life, you would enjoy this book.
I received this book courtesy of Revell through NetGalley.
Reviewer: Raechel Kelly
I'm sorry to say that this book was a miss for me. I so enjoyed the author's past two books that I had been eagerly anticipating this one, but "Miriam's Song" did not sit well with me.
As it started out, I was pulled in and interested, moved by the glimpse we got into the time of Moses' birth, how his life was spared when so many baby boys were killed by the Egyptians. But as the novel continued, and much time passed, my concerns grew. With how much the book jumped from time period to time period (sometimes only days, or months, but then other times by a decade or more), I didn't really get the chance to bond to the characters themselves. But even so, I held on, knowing that covering such a significant time span would be difficult but necessary. However, I got such a feeling of disrespect from the female characters for the male characters and God even, that it could not sit well with me. Miriam came across extremely prideful for the majority of the book, but it wasn't portrayed as if that was bad. And from each of the female characters, it was so often stressed that they were the real leaders, and stronger at least emotionally than the men...and the men came across as much weaker characters. I'd even go so far as to say that the way Moses was portrayed for a portion of the book was almost wimpy. He never stood up to his wife, and just came across as weak.
I don't like to give a book a low rating, but for many reasons, I'm afraid I can't personally recommend this book. Even the portrayal of the Holy character of God felt watered down. Yes, it was stressed how Holy He is, but when I read the sections revolving around Him in this book, they didn't seem to really be of Him, but rather a watered down portrayal of a fictional character.
Perhaps this book won't sit this way for others. And I'm hoping that I will enjoy the author's next works as I have her previous two.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Lynn Rountree
JILL EILEEN SMITH IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS!!!!!!!!
She has such a beautiful imagination and does her study work to open up the past.
Miriam's song takes you deeper into the story of Moses. If you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, you'll enjoy this.
Sit back and let Jill open up scripture in a deep new light.
Book received for an honest review by Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
This quote is a favorite because it is Moses telling Joshua, "You understand much already, Joshua. It is hard to wait on the Lord, for He sees far beyond what we can see. Excellent advice, my friends! God's timing is not ours. His ways can be hard to understand." Yes, God's ways are hard to understand, but the way Smith writes this story makes it a lot easier.
Miriam's point of view from the story of Moses was wonderful! It's like Moses's story has taken on a whole new and fresh look at this beloved story of our Biblical hero. Moses was wise beyond his years, and I liked how he really listened to God in his later years. Sometimes we just have to grow up and grow with God in those years.
I enjoyed Miriam's story because it offers hope through the book and wisdom too. My favorite thing about this book was learning about Miriam's life, and I was tickled pink to know that she had a family of her own. I loved her integrity, and I think that we can all relate to Miriam at one time or another. Most especially in her feelings. I loved that she was flawed.
There were lessons as well, which I liked the most. Lessons on the patience of God's love and how far and how much He can take of our sins. God is merciful and mighty. His Love is greater. God knows when we are ready to listen. He has plans for us that we could never begin to imagine.
Smith did an excellent job with Miriam. I finished the book in one day. I love Smith's books, and this one is my favorite. This book has earned a place on my list for my favorite 2021 reading list. Five stars for this favorite story! I highly recommend it!
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. Received courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Marie Edwards
As much as I was new to Historical Fiction as of last year, I am also new to Biblical Fiction. In fact, this is only the second book I've read in the genre. This is my first introduction to Smith's writing, and this book was a perfect introduction to it. This is a standalone book, so readers won't have to read any books before it or after it to know the complete story. I recommend reading the Exodus chapter in the bible to get a sense of the story's entirety.
For those who are unsure of who Miriam is, she is Moses' older sister in Exodus. She was five when she placed her baby brother in the Nile River, later found by Pharaoh's daughter and raised as her child. Beyond minor mentions, not much is known about her. She lived, she died.
Anyone familiar with the Bible knows that Exodus is the story of Moses' birth, his upbringing as an Egyptian, his return as a Hebrew, the plagues of Egypt, and the journey from slavery out of Egypt.
Given the disparities between Biblical history and Egyptian history, it is hard to know with any accuracy which Pharaoh was ruling during the time of Exodus (Approximately 1500 B.C). Egyptian, Hebrew, and Biblical records were not in sync at the time. So, the author does her best (with some errors) to try to bring the two together for this story and to put it in perspective.
Miriam's Song is the Exodus story from Moses' sister's point of view (POV). Smith's novel covers Miriam from about age five until her death at around 126/127, about the end of their time wandering in the desert.
It is the story in between, written with such authenticity, that is captivating, uplifting, tragic, and draws the reader in. At times, it can feel as if the reader is right there. The use of authentic terms (Ima – mother; Abba – father) gives it a realistic feel and becomes a visual telling of the story. And, it starts right off with a gorgeous and prophetic looking cover. I loved Smith's use of short chapters to advance the story. In addition, Smith also doesn't rush the story but doesn't linger on any event and/or year too long.
Since most of the story takes place during the Hebrew's time in Egypt as slaves, there are references to slavery, cruelty and abuse, discrimination, infanticide, and potential rape. There are mentions of arranged marriages and, by today's definition, child marriage.
Since Miriam's Song is based on a bible story, spoilers are inevitable as anyone reading the bible or having read it will know what happened. Told over five parts and 54 chapters with prologue and epilogue, Smith weaves the story's threads to bring it to life.
Without going into detail, Smith highlights the effect the plagues had on the Hebrews. She doesn't spend too much time on the Egyptians' suffering. Smith also details the harshness and complaining of the Hebrews during their delivery to freedom. She also shows the family dynamics of belief between Miriam, Aaron, and Moses – even more so when Moses remarries yet another woman, not of their tribe.
This is not a happily ever after read, but an inspiring and uplifting read about hope, faith, and perseverance under the harshest of terms that life back then had to offer. This is a testament to the will and faith of the Hebrew people.
As I said, this is a genre I am very new to. To be captivated by such a compelling story, so much so I did not want to put it down, attests to the writer's storytelling ability.
Fans of the author and genre are sure to enjoy this particular story.
Thank you to the publisher, Revell (a division of Baker Books), for providing an advanced review copy through Interviews & Reviews. A positive review was not required, and all words are my own.
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