Abraham and Sarah by Roberta Kells Dorr (Mom’s Bookshelf)

Abraham and Sarah

 There aren’t many stories more epic in nature than the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah.

It spans decades, and encompasses places from the most advanced ancient civilizations to the most remote desert locations. Drama, romance, faith, action, grief, you name it, it’s got it! Writing a novel based on all of this is quite a project to tackle, but Roberta Kells Dorr rose to the challenge in Abraham and Sarah

Roberta Kells Dorr, who passed away in 2010, was  “born in the roaring twenties, survived the depression on a farm in Minnesota. She earned her Masters at Louisville’s Southern Seminary and spent the next seventeen years with her surgeon husband and five children, serving as missionaries in the Gaza Strip & Jibla, Yemen. Here she had opportunity to extensively research and intimately explore the larger-than-life characters of her historical-biblical novels.” (source) River North Fiction is reprinting all her novels in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Abraham and Sarah begins when Abram rescues his young half-sister Sarai from a pagan temple where she’s been sent to participate in their rites and marries her, and ends after her death nearly a century later. All the familiar events are included: God’s call, the time in Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah, Ishmael’s birth, Isaac’s sacrifice, and much more.

I find well-written biblical historical fiction fascinating. When it’s done with respect for the biblical accounts and attention to historical detail, it can bring the people, events, and cultures of the Bible to life, giving the reader a greater appreciation of them. Of course artistic license has to be taken, because the Bible simply doesn’t tell us these details. But it’s possible to paint a historically accurate picture of what it might have been like, and I think when it’s done well, it can help us connect with these familiar stories at a different level, and see those involved as real people with hopes, dreams, and fears just like us.

It’s intriguing to ponder what it was like for Sarah when she was taken into Pharoah’s harem because of Abraham’s deception. What were the people who were part of Abraham’s household and traveled with him like, and why did they choose to come with him? Did people think he was crazy to pack up and head out for parts unknown because he thought his God told him to? Where did Hagar come from and how did she come to be Sarah’s maid?

Ms. Dorr did a wonderful job portraying all of these events and putting them in their historical setting! It’s obvious that she did her research and knew the places and times she was writing about. I have to admit that I found Sarah a rather unlikeable character, very different than I’ve always pictured her. It was good to have my mental picture challenged, though. Overall, I really enjoyed the book!

I’ve also read her other titles, David and Bathsheba, and most recently, Solomon’s Song. I loved the unique take on the Song of Songs, weaving phrases from the biblical book throughout the story, and the conclusion, where she tied it all together, was absolutely fantastic! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her novels as River North rereleases them.

If you enjoy biblical historical fiction, Roberta Kells Dorr’s novels should definitely be on your “to-read” list!

Disclosure: I received an electronic galley copy of this title for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review, nor was I compensated. 

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