January 29, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt {Book Review}

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty {Book Review}
There are some book covers that just grab you. The ones that you reach for and then look at, LONG before you ever read a summary. I recently picked up such a book--the cover grabbed my attention, and after seeing the author (one of my favorites), I didn't need to know anything more to desire to read it. I looked forward to reviewing Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt and hoped that it would be as good as it looked!

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About Delilah: Treacherous Beauty

Most of us think of one woman, and one woman only when we hear the name Delilah--the infamous woman who brought the great Bible hero Samson down. But what is her story? What led her to that fateful relationship

and betrayal? Christian fiction author Angela Hunt explores the life of Delilah in this latest installment of her Dangerous Beauty series, Delilah: Treacherous Beauty

The book begins when Delilah is about 17 years old living with her mother in Gaza. Things are going well for her, as her mother has just been remarried to a good man and leader of Gaza. With Delilah and her mother being of darker skin thanks to their heritage, they stand out in the land--but especially Delilah because she is stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, the good man that is now Delilah's stepfather has a rotten, debased son who has his eye on Delilah. A tragic change in events puts the son in charge, and Delilah sees her mother sold into slavery and she herself becomes a slave to the debased and abusive son, who uses her for one thing only. The rest of the story follows Delilah as she escapes from slavery, and journey's to find a way to rescue her mother and take revenge on her former step-brother. She ends up in the home of an Israelite widow who agrees to teach her everything she knows about weaving--and there Delilah remains for years. The widow provides everything she possibly could desire, even after the shattering discovery that she's pregnant with her abusers child. She remains with the widow through it all, and in the process learns of an Israelite judge named Samson--seemingly gifted with supernatural strength. A man who, if she could only talk to him, exact vengeance for her. But Samson has his own troubles--the Philistines--and they never meet until after the widows' death. Delilah finally realizes that Samson is the answer to taking care of her problems with her step-brother once and for all, thus setting in motion the events that eventually lead to the great betrayal.

My Thoughts on Delilah: Treacherous Beauty

I have always read books based on major biblical characters with some skepticism. I have seen far too many stray WAYYY beyond the pages of the Bible in their story and it left me with a sour taste. BUT, when the character is in the Bible without a lot of pre-history or "what happened next", I am always willing to give it a try. Delilah is one of those characters. The only information we have about Delilah is found in Judges 16:4--"Afterward it happened that he (Samson) loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah."  We know the story of how she was going to earn MUCH silver if she would help betray Samson to the Philistines, and eventually she did--leading to Samson's capture, blinding, slavery, and ultimately his grand death.

I admit, I have always asked--why? What made her do it? Where did she come from? What did she look like? I therefore, enjoyed seeing how Angela Hunt wove the past of Delilah into the story of Samson. I KNEW it was speculation, but it was actually pretty believable. We know from the Bible Samson was a lover of beautiful women--so we know she had to be stunning. Commentaries can't decide what her true "career" was, yet we know she knew how to weave (Judges 16:13-14)--so having the author give that as a career to Delilah was appropriate.

Delilah is a story of the woman who betrayed Samson, but this novel, also explores what was going on in Samson's head throughout all of this. The narration switches back and forth between Delilah and Samson. So we see his thoughts (some taken straight from the Bible and some fiction) as he journeys from the wedding to the philistine wife that blew up in his face, to the various defeats of the Philistines by his hand. He has a servant named Rei--which we eventually come to realize is a bit more than the manservant Samson thinks he is. We also see tie ins with other parts of the Bible that are going on at the same time, which shows the author's great research to keep those parts of the story accurate.

The story ends exploring the question of whether or not Delilah was in the Temple of Dagon on the fateful last day of Samson's life. I don't mind the redemptive end they gave Delilah. Because it is one of those unknowns--so maybe it DID happen like the way the author imagined. Maybe it didn't.

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty earns 4.5★
All in all, I give Delilah: Treacherous Beauty 4 1/2 stars. I think it did a great job exploring both the life of Samson and Delilah. Because there isn't a lot to go off of relating to Delilah, I didn't mind the author's speculation, and don't think she took it places it definitely couldn't have gone. I think all her speculation was valid and COULD have been a way it played out. I definitely think the portrayal of Samson was done well and she kept to the Bible for most of her work there. I give it an extra 1/2 star because it made me explore the time period more to see if Samuel was indeed a contemporary of Samson, and as it shows he WAS, gave me a deeper connection with the story. Books about Bible characters that make me GO to the Bible to learn more or re-read are definitely worth my time. I DO recommend this book highly--especially to those who like fictional stories based on Biblical events. I am looking forward to reading books #1 Esther: Royal Beauty and #2 Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty in this Dangerous Beauty Series now that I have enjoyed book #3. I just need to make sure my library has them. 

Check out more of Angela Hunt's books from your local bookstore or library for more historical adventures!

(Book #3 of A Dangerous Beauty series)
by Angela Hunt

I am so glad that I took the chance on this book based solely on the cover and author. It was well worth the read. One of those rare--you CAN judge a book by it's cover scenarios! LOL

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