I love the Biblical story of Hannah. The scripture tells us of her deep longing for a child; her anguish at the hands of her husband’s other wife; her bedrock faith in the God she loved and served. I’ve rejoiced with along with Hannah as God answered her prayer and then been amazed that she could offer that same child, Samuel, back to serve in the temple with Eli.
Jill Eileen Smith brings all those emotions and more to life through her excellent storytelling. After reading the first two chapters, I found myself completely immersed in Hannah’s story and felt an even stronger emotional tie to the characters. I always appreciate Jill’s attention to historical detail and the research she brings to her books. Through this book, I feel I have a better understanding of the times and culture in which Hannah lived and how her barrenness influenced her standing in the Jewish community. The book also brings out the wickedness surrounding the Jewish people and the difficulty of serving God at a time when even the priests were vile men.
The only drawback to the book is one that I often find when reading historical novels. There were a couple of phrases that the characters used that didn’t quite fit the time period. However, that did not distract from this beautifully written story.
Parents: There are mature themes in this book that are relayed in an appropriate manner. There are accounts of the abuse of women portrayed throughout the storyline. For this reason, you may want to consider reading the book yourself before allowing a junior high girl to read it.
This book deserves a five star rating. I did receive an advanced reader copy and this is my honest review.