Biblical fiction is a fairly new genre for me. For years, I avoided it because it just seemed weird to fictionalize the people from the Bible. Then I discovered Lois T. Henderson, and a whole new world opened up to me. I was still picky, though. I wanted to make sure that the author did their research and didn’t try to rewrite the Bible.
I was introduced to Jill Eileen Smith when I reviewed When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams. It’s a nonfiction book about women in the Bible that includes fictionalized stories of each woman. I liked her style, how she brought to life each of the women and made me look at them in a new light. I especially appreciated how she did her research, and in doing so, inspired me to want to turn to the Bible and learn more about each of the women she wrote about.
I jumped at the opportunity to review Jill’s latest book, The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon. I’ve always been curious about the Old Testament custom of multiple wives. How could that even be? How did the women feel about it? What about the man? I couldn’t imagine how an author could write a love story with one man and a bunch of women, but Jill Eileen Smith pulled it off. She focused on one wife at a time, sharing her feelings before marriage, what led to the marriage, and how they felt about being one wife of many. She also included Solomon’s perspective which I found particularly interesting.
After finishing The Heart of a King, I realized it’s a love story, but not the one I was expecting. The primary storyline is Solomon and his struggle to follow God and be the king that he was called to be. We see how he sought wisdom, but in the end, his wisdom led to his downfall. He was so busy doing what seemed wise that he lost track of what was important.
The Heart of a King is not a feel good romance. It’s a story of searching and longing and making choices that may be acceptable to our world but that are less than God’s best for our lives. It’s a story that will whisk you away into the exotic world of King Solomon but will open your eyes to the issues that we all deal with in our modern world. It’s a story that will have you eager to open your Bible and read the words of Solomon with a new understanding.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.