Every Knee Shall Bow by Bryan Litfin

(image coming soon)

Release date: October 12, 2021

Author: Bryan Litfin

Plot summary: The year is AD 316. Imperial persecution has ended, but Christianity’s future still hangs in the balance. For the first time in history, the Roman emperor supports the church. Bishop Sylvester sends Flavia from her convent to seek Emperor Constantine’s permission to build great churches and determine the canon of Scripture. But the enemies of God are on the move. Joined by Rex, Flavia’s beloved protector who has fought his way out of exile, the two friends cross the empire by land and sea on an epic quest to free the Roman people from the tyranny of the ancient gods. Bristling with tension and undergirded by impeccable historical research, this tale of courage, defiance, and humble submission to God continues the captivating saga of two unlikely allies in the age of imperial Christianity.

Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith (March 2021)

Miriam's Song  -     By: Jill Eileen Smith

Author: Jill Eileen Smith

Release date: March 2, 2021

Plot summary: Prophetess, songstress, sister to one of Israel’s greatest heroes—Miriam’s story is often overshadowed by Moses’ own. In her vivid retelling of the life of one of the Bible’s most fascinating women, Smith reimagines how Miriam navigated the challenges of building a family, serving as a leader, and holding onto hope as she learned to trust God

Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt

Daughter of Cana (Jerusalem Road): Angela Hunt: 9780764233845 ...

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (2 points)

Angela Hunt’s latest work, Daughter of Cana, is the first installment in her new Jerusalem Road series. The novel gives a nice overview of Jesus’s life and ministry from the perspective of Jesus’s brother Jude and Thomas’s fictional sister Tasmin, but fails to offer any groundbreaking or original content. The opening chapters of Daughter of Cana introduce us to Tasmin, who Hunt presents as the disciple Thomas’s twin sister. Tasmin and Thomas live at home with their widowed father and run a wedding party business in Cana. Tasmin has never been interested in marriage and views it as a frivolity, instead preferring to keep busy and act responsible. Thomas enjoys socializing and taking time to relax, and though he is practical, Tasmin feels that he does not take their business seriously. One day while the siblings are hosting a wedding for a friend, Jesus and His mother and siblings suddenly arrive as guests. Thomas is immediately enthralled with Jesus, but Tasmin has heard rumors that He is a radical preacher who shouldn’t be trusted. When Jesus saves the bride and groom’s reputation by turning water into wine, Tasmin is even more confused about Him. Her confusion turns to anger when Thomas agrees to become Jesus’s disciple and leaves suddenly for an extended period of time. Tasmin decides to go after her brother, and departs with Jesus’s brother Jude on a cross-country journey to bring Thomas home. As previously mentioned, the plot and storyline in this novel give us a brief overview of Jesus’s entire adult life and ministry, and detail Tasmin’s journey to find Thomas, and ultimately, her life purpose. The strengths of the storyline include that it moves along at a steady pace, covers a lot of time without being choppy, and gives the reader a glimpse of someone who did not believe in Jesus until after His death. In comparison, the weaknesses are minor, but do pull down the overall quality. First, the novel does not hold the reader’s attention very well, and has a very simplistic, humdrum writing style. This is very unlike Hunt’s past writing style. Second, the storyline tends to plow forward in an attempt to cover all the high points in the Gospels and brushes over character development and depth. Finally, there is not really a personalized spiritual connection for Christian readers – the novel is primarily marketed towards people who are not familiar with the Gospels. In summary, there are no major errors in Daughter of Cana, but there is also no memorable content. For this, Hunt receives an average score for her plot and storyline.

Character Development (2 points)

In comparison, Tasmin is a fairly good protagonist who responds in relatable ways to life’s challenges and has a partially defined personality. Her flashbacks are also a great addition to the story, but needed further exploration. Jude is also a fairly good character who is understandably skeptical that his brother is the Messiah, (spoiler) but aside from loving Tasmin, what is his overarching purpose? Much the same, the reader has no emotional connection to Tasmin or any of the secondary characters. This makes everyone feel a bit like a shell of what they could have been. Unfortunately, this concept also applies to Hunt’s depiction of Jesus, who feels more like a nice concept than the Risen Christ. In contrast, Hunt did well to use first-person for both Tasmin and Jude, and included some interesting minor characters. However, because the strengths and weaknesses are equal in this category, Hunt receives an average score here as well.

Creativity & Originality (1 point)

In conclusion, Hunt earns a full point in originality for creating two characters who did not fully embrace Jesus at first, but avoid becoming strawmen. We really appreciated that Hunt portrayed her two main characters as having realistic doubts and honest concerns about how following Jesus would alter their lives. If only more authors would catch on to this concept. Unfortunately, there is nothing especially creative about Hunt’s portrayal of Jesus’s life and ministry, so we leave it up to filmmakers as to whether or not they want to bring this book to the big screen. The book would need several additions, such as bringing Tasmin’s flashbacks to the forefront of the story, but it could be done right in the right hands.

Wish List Rating: 5 out of 10 points

Star of Persia by Jill Eileen Smith (BTSNBM)

Star of Persia: Esther's Story  -     By: Jill Eileen Smith

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (2 points)

In Star of Persia, Smith retells the familiar Bible story of Esther in an everyday fashion that contains no conspicuous errors, nor does it contain anything particularly groundbreaking. King Xerxes is a mighty king with ample political power and influence. Though he has two wives and a full harem of concubines, he loves only Vashti. Vashti struggled to have children for some time, and finally succeeded in giving Xerxes a son. However, because Vashti is only half-Persian, her rival’s son will be his successor. One evening when he has been drinking too much wine, Xerxes gives in to social pressure and summons Vashti to appear before his nobles. She refuses, a fact which earns her eternal banishment from the kingdom. King Xerxes regrets his decision the following day and longs for someone to fill the empty space Vashti left behind. Hadassah grew up as an orphan in her cousin Mordecai’s family after her parents died when she was very young. Mordecai’s wife Levia has been like a mother to Hadassah, and though she is not close to his other children, her life has been pleasant overall. As Hadassah grows older, she begins to take on more household responsiblities in preparation for her eventual betrothal to an eligible male in their community. One day Levia suddenly falls ill, and despite Hadassah’s vigilant care, she does not recover. Following Levia’s death, Hadassah and Mordecai are left shocked and saddened. Hadassah is even more confused about her future when her best friend Jola is betrothed to a young man she liked. When King Xerxes issues a decree that will change the lives of all the unmarried women in the empire, Hadassah becomes Esther, and has her future decided for her. Star of Persia’s plot moves along at a steady pace and contains no continuity errors, but sometimes it fails to hold the attention. Additionally, it contains one historical error. (spoiler) The prologue depicts a young Hadassah visiting Queen Vashti on palace grounds at night. It is very unlikely that a peasant girl would be allowed to wander through the palace gate, let alone speak to and touch the queen. In contrast, the storyline follows the Biblical narrative almost to the letter, but tends to romanticize Esther and Xerxes’ relationship, and contains very little depth. Therefore, Smith earns an average rating in this section for writing a story that is fine at face value, but failing include any content that is especially memorable or unique.

Character Development (2 points)

Similarly, the character development in this novel is pretty good, but not great. Esther is the weakest character – not a good fact when she is the protagonist. She is continually portrayed as an almost perfect character who displays almost angelic obedience and complacency even as a child. What we need here is a little spirit and rebellion! Esther was human after all, and it must have taken some kind of gumption to appear before Xerxes uninvited. The girl had spirit I tell ya! Anyway, Xerxes is a slightly better character than Esther because he makes irrational decisions he later regrets and learns from these bad choices. Haman is a partially developed antagonist who lacks motive for his actions. The other characters, like Moredecai and Levia, are fairly good minor characters who have a clear role in the story. Because of this mix of good and bad, Smith receives an average score here.

Creativity & Originality (0 points)

Finally, there is nothing particularly original or creative about Smith’s depiction, so this section is awarded zero points. Likewise, we do not believe that this novel contains content that should be made into a film or series. There have been many unsuccessful portrayals of Esther in film thus far, and as of now we do not expect this to change. It would be pointless for someone to try again with incomplete content. If someone attempts to make another movie or series about Esther, they will need to avoid making it a romance, think outside the box, and depict the historical setting as it actually was.

Wish List Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Isaiah’s Legacy by Mesu Andrews (BTSNBM)

Image result for isaiah's legacy

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Andrews’ latest novel, Isaiah’s Legacy, takes a different turn than many of it’s counterparts by thinking outside the box regarding Biblical narratives, but falls a bit short in several areas. Manasseh is a young boy who lives mostly in his own little world and struggles to cope with noise and crowds – two things that are very prevalent in the life of a future king. Zibah, his mother, fears for his future and feels helpless to teach him how to cope. Hezekiah, whose is living on borrowed time, doesn’t fully share Zibah’s level of concern about their son, but knows that something must be done if he is to rule Judah successfully. Shebna is a jealous man of Levite heritage who has been scheming for an advantageous political position for many years. On a visit to his brother Haruz’s home, he meets his niece, Shulle, and learns that she has a way with people society rejects. Shebna brings her to the palace under the guise of being a companion for Manasseh, but is secretly training her to influence the future king as he sees fit. As Shulle grows older, Shebna and his servant Belit, a sorceress, lead Shulle astray; and as Manasseh grows older, Shulle leads him astray. By the time Shulle and Manasseh are adults, they are fully immersed in the cuttthroat world of politics and surrounded by bad influences. Will they choose Yahweh’s way before it is too late? As previously mentioned, this story contains both strengths and weaknesses. On a positive note, the latter half of the novel has strong Biblical themes of redemption and forgiveness. Additionally, it is clear that the bad decisions Manasseh makes in this depiction are not related to his disorder, but his bitterness against his Maker. In contrast, the plot and storyline contain four central flaws. First, the storyline starts out on shaky ground with an information dump from Shebna that seeks to give the reader a historical background for coming events – it would have been better to divide the vast content in this novel between it and a sequel. Second, the last third/fourth of the novel tries to cover over ten years of content, which makes the ending a bit rushed. Third, there is too much page time spent explaining how pagan rituals were carried out, and author also dwells on sensual scenes between Manasseh and Shulle (before they follow Yahweh) for a bit too long. Lastly, though it is a noble idea to portray one of Israel’s kings as having Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD], it is not clear why Andrews chose to do this. As a special ed major, I wholeheartedly affirm the inclusion of people who have special needs in literature, and think that they should be represented more than they are. However, every good story needs one or more specific reasons for why it’s characters exist as they do, and great stories will use these reasons as pivotal parts of the plot. If Manasseh having ASD does not directly tie in with the plot somehow, why does he have it at all? The answer to this question is never made clear. In summary, Andrews earns slightly below an average score in this section for numerous plot and storyline errors.

Character Development (2 points)

Comparatively, Manasseh is a fairly good protagonist who has realistic responses to change and tragedy. Shulle is a good secondary main character who makes realistic wrong decisions based on duty and the desire to protect her father. (spoiler) However, at times it is hard to know what her role in the story is, outside of calming Manasseh down and trying not to have children. As for the rest, Zibah is a relatable, flawed mother figure who wants her son to follow God and make good choices. Isaiah is a good minor character, but comes off as a bit too saintly at times. Shebna is a weak antagonist who is usually angry at someone or plotting…something. Lastly an additional error to note here is that Shulle’s father basically disappears shortly after the author introduces him, then reappears at the end of the novel with no explanation. This creates a plot hole. Overall, character development is mixed, which leaves Andrews with an average score here.

Creativity & Originality (0 points)

Unfortunately, there is not really anything creative or original to note in this novel that has not been done before in varying forms. Needless to say, this was not our favorite book by Andrews. As such, we do not recommend that it be made into a film or series. Early on in Andrews’ career, she had a rare talent for crafting original characters and deep, meaningful dialogue – see Love Amid the Ashes for an example of this. Because of this, we believe that she still has the potential to be a great author, and maybe even a screenwriter. But she, like many other authors, needs to consider collaboration as the key to future writing success.

Wish List Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar

Image result for daughter of rome by tessa afshar

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

Tessa Afshar’s latest novel is a great concept that does not quite reach it’s fullest potential. The novel covers multiple different timelines, but centers around Priscilla and Aquila’s young adult lives and the early days of their ministry. Priscilla is the daughter of a revered Roman general and a Germanic mother – much to her brother’s chagrin. When her father died, he left her with her freedom, but no real way to make a living. As such, Priscilla lives in her brother’s home. Following a dark period in her youth that still haunts her, Priscilla decided to seek help at a local Jewish synagogue. She soon found that many of the attendees were secretly Christians. Despite her unfortunate home life, Priscilla found sincere friendship and support in this group of people who follow Yeshua. Just when she thinks her life is settling down, Aquila steps into it. Aquila, a recent convert to Christianity, comes from a staunch Jewish background and still has trouble treating Gentiles as equals. He carries his recent hurtful experiences deep inside, and sometimes lashes out at others instead of being honest with himself and God. While he is suspicious of Priscilla at first, he soon finds himself attracted to her against his will. The problem is, both Priscilla and Aquila are afraid to open their hearts to love again. To find out what happens, read the book, and leave your opinions in the comments section below!:) As I previously indicated, the plot and storyline in this novel contain both strengths and weaknesses. The plot starts out strong with a well-placed flashback to a tragic, life-altering decision Priscilla almost made, but fades to a pedestrian pace after that. While the storyline improves greatly in the last two-thirds of the novel, the first third tends to meander along through the daily lives of Priscilla and Aquila, all the while hinting at their shadowy backstories. For example, throughout the first third of the novel backstories are revealed in third person to the reader early on, then from one character to another via dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with this technique, but it does not hold the reader’s attention in this case. Furthermore, the secondary and minor characters’ sub-plots are interesting but feel incomplete. In contrast, the novel contains many well-placed Scripture references and a clear Christian message of Jesus’s grace and redeeming love. It also contains realistic portrayals of marriage relationships and friendships. Lastly, the attention given to historical detail – without lapsing into wordiness or boring narration – is impressive and adds much to the plot. Thus, Afshar earns just above an average score for her plot and storyline that improved as they unfolded.

Character Development (2.5 points)

In comparison, the character development in this novel is also above average. Priscilla is a great protagonist who is portrayed as someone earnestly seeking after Jesus, while also trying to pay penance for past sins. This paradox is a very relatable illustration of how people try to earn Jesus’s free gift of salvation and forgiveness. Antonia is a great antagonist who has a realistic motive and changes in response to her life experiences. Making the effort to craft meaningful antagonists is sometimes what saves Christian novels from obscurity. Aquila is a fairly good character, but throughout the first half of the novel we hear more about his life experiences than who he is. Although this error is nonexistent in the second half of the novel, his character feels incomplete in the end because of it’s rocky beginning. However, the minor and secondary characters are above average and round out the story well. Thus, Afshar earns a slightly above average score in character development as well.

Creativity & Originality (1 point)

In conclusion, Afshar’s original idea to portray Priscilla and Aquila before they were married and in the early days of their ministry together earns her a half point in originality, while her effort to bring Biblical accounts to life in meaningful ways earns her a half point in creativity. While the novel could have been better, we here at BOR still think it could make a great Christian series. If the novel was converted to a series screenplay, the screenwriters would have more space to flesh out Aquila’s character and improve both him and Priscilla through the use of flashbacks. It is no great secret that the Christian film world suffers a great shortage of excellent Bible-based films. We sincerely hope that Christian filmmakers will look to Biblical fiction novels like these for inspiration on how to proceed in future.

Wish List Rating: 6 out of 10 points

King’s Shadow by Angela Hunt

Image result for king's shadow angela hunt

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

Angela Hunt’s latest novel, the last installment in The Silent Years series, has a pretty good storyline and average characters, but does not reflect the usual pathos demonstrated by this author. Hunt set a high bar for herself with novels like Uncharted and The Offering, a standard that has not been reached by this or her other most recent novels. The Silent Years series as a whole has been a mixed bag; some novels have been better than others, but none have demonstrated the author’s true potential. Egypt’s Sister was a very slow-paced novel, Judah’s Wife was the best of the series but had a predictable ending, Jerusalem’s Queen was wordy, and this novel is average. Salome is the sister of King Herod and the wife of her uncle, Joseph. She navigates tumultuous palace politics by knowing everything about everyone in order to ensure her own survival. Salome is a hard, selfish woman who rationalizes other’s deaths when her life is on the line. Her world is rocked when her longtime servant and friend dies suddenly, but she finds consolation in the young girl who takes her friend’s place. Zara is a young Jewess who has just been betrothed to a shoemaker in her village. She has suffered the loss of her father in the recent war, which also left her mother paralyzed. Though her aunt helps out here and there, Zara shoulders most of the responsibility around the house; however, when the opportunity to leave her mundane life presents itself, she takes it. Zara has always found solace in working with her hands, a talent that serves her well as Salome’s new hairdresser. Together these two women from completely opposite social spheres must carefully navigate the dangerous waters of Herod’s court if they expect to come out alive and sane on the other side. On the whole, this story holds the attention and contains only minor plot errors. Additionally, the unique depiction of Herod as a human, not a tyrant, is much appreciated. Similarly, Hunt makes an effort throughout the novel to portray people as neither all good or bad, a choice that demonstrates her grasp on crafting excellent characters. In comparison, the novel’s pace is inconsistent at times, likely due to the vast amount of time covered in the same. Moreover, there are no ‘wow’ moments here – just a good bordering on average story. Nothing that happens to the characters is unexpected, and nothing that occurs in the plot especially groundbreaking – there is no particular climax. Therefore, Hunt rounds out with just above an average score in this section.

Character Development (2 points)

In contrast, Salome is a very interesting character with a clearly defined personality and consistent tendencies. Zara is also a good character, but she seems a bit too good at times. It would have been nice if Hunt had made her a little more imperfect like she did with the other characters. Hunt’s portrayal of Herod is one of the best I have seen, but without a first-person perspective from him the novel feels unfinished. It is my opinion that the novel would have been great if it revolved around first-person perspectives from Herod and Salome. The main errors to point out here are few, but they do affect the quality in this section. First, Alexandra is a weak villian who needed further development, and Mariamne needed a bigger role in the story – she has little involvement in the plot overall. Lastly, these characters do not stand out from the others Hunt has crafted in their genre – they are good but not great. Thus, Hunt earns an average score here because we know she can do better.

Creativity & Originality (1 point)

Finally, Hunt earns a half point in creativity for her portrayal of little known pieces of Biblical history, and a half point in originality for her well-balanced characters. Despite the fact that this is not the best novel in the series, we still think The Silent Years book series would make a great Christian series or show. Some of the books would need to be heavily edited and all the characters given greater depth and emphasis. Additionally, the filmmaker would have to give Hunt a place on the screenwriting team to ensure quality is upheld, but such a project is possible. Even when Christian novels aren’t perfect, we continue to hope Christian filmmakers will realize the film potential in the same.

Wish List Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith

Image result for the heart of a king jill eileen smith

Author’s Note: We were provided with a review copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

Jill Eileen Smith’s newest novel is unique in many ways and is overall a great portrayal of the life of King Solomon. While the novel is imperfect, it stands out among many works of Biblical fiction for being both honest and relatable. The opening chapters introduce the reader to Solomon, a young man who lives in his father’s shadow and longs to be named co-regent. In the midst of his struggle to climb the political ladder, he runs into a young woman named Naamah who he has not seen in five years. Naamah is a somewhat spoiled and willful Ammonite woman whose one desire is marriage to Solomon. Despite her flaws, Naamah worships Yahweh rather than the gods of Ammon, and believes that love can overcome all obstacles. Solomon and Naamah are wed and soon have a child together – Rehoboam. However, Solomon’s increasing desire for political alliances leads him away from his first love and in many different directions. Abishag is a young virgin who cared for King David until his death. She is devout in her worship of Yahweh and seeks peaceful relationships with others. Now a king, Solomon marries her for reasons both of love and political advantage. Following this marriage, he goes on to wed Siti, princess of Egypt, the queen of Sheba, and many other women. Will Solomon’s wisdom prove to be a blessing or a curse? To answer this question, read the book!;) This plot holds the attention quite well from beginning to end, and is punctuated with creative musings of The Teacher that became the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon). Smith tastefully weaves passages from Song of Solomon into the story and uses them to shape Solomon’s personality and relationship choices. Furthermore, Solomon’s chaotic personal life and wrong choices are portrayed in a realistic manner. The main flaw here is that the five main characters – each with their own story – make for a bit of a choppy read, especially in the second half of the novel. Additionally, the ending, although well done, feels a bit rushed. However, this remains the best fictional work of King Solomon’s life that I have read to date, therefore earning the storyline an above average rating.

Character Development (3 points)

Smith’s character development is the strongest part of her novel because it demonstrates her clear understanding of different personalities and tendencies among people. Solomon is the best character because his arc slowly develops throughout the novel and is punctuated with a creative look at poetry and philosophical musings he actually wrote. Additionally, his rationalization of disobedience and distrust of God’s promises are relatable and add much to the storyline. Naamah’s character is quite good at first, as is Abishag’s, however, both women feel left unfinished. In contrast, Siti has a clearly defined personality, and Smith’s queen of Sheba is unique and realistic. The only other flaw to mention here is that Naamah and Abishag have a somewhat choppy arc. In spite of these flaws, Smith’s portrayal of court politics and royals using one another is quite good and would make a great Bible miniseries. Therefore, Smith earns an above average score in this section.

Creativity & Originality (1 point)

Finally, Smith earns a full point in creativity for weaving Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon into her story in such a way that the Biblical accounts and her fictional story are interdependent upon one another. The flaws that exist in this novel are mainly a result of it being a standalone work. It is my opinion that these errors could be corrected on the big screen by breaking the novel up into a miniseries. This series should focus on one character at a time and eventually tie their stories together to make for better continuity. It is our hope that Christian filmmakers will recognize unique Christian novels such as these for their potential, and act on this realization soon. Good job Ms. Smith! Your creativity is much appreciated!

Wish List Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

Author’s note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Plot & Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

Mesu Andrews’ soon to be released novel, Of Fire and Lions, is a step up from her most recent novel. This new novel takes an unconventional look at the story of Daniel, and introduces a fictional character who demonstrates Andrews’ understanding of real people. While the novel isn’t perfect, it stands out in a crowded genre. The opening chapters introduce the reader to Abigail, the daughter of a palace servant. One day, as they are performing this task, Israel is invaded by their enemies. Abigail’s mother locks her out of the king’s chambers and tells her to hide in the Temple. Abigail hides in the Holy of Holies, where she experiences God’s presence for the first time in her life. This holy moment is interrupted by her being captured and taken in captivity. Abigail is made responsible for caring for the needs of a group of brilliant young scholars -Daniel and his friends – during the march to Babylon. However, when they arrive, she is ‘relieved’ of her duties and given a much more unpleasant occupation to perform. (spoiler) Although she is reunited with her friends for a time, extraordinary circumstances lead Abigail to other, darker places and a new name – Belili. Belili is a hardened priestess who holds power over men of high position. Under her hard and manipulative facade, Belili longs to be Abigail once again. On the whole, the plot holds the attention and contains multiple unexpected plot turns as time goes on. The main errors to point out are an overall choppiness throughout the novel, and seemingly convenient plot elements, such as Daniel escaping the fate of being made a eunuch through his marriage. Additionally, there are some moments of inconsistency towards the middle of the plot – sometimes the story is a bit slow, and other times it moves too quickly. This may be due to the absence of proper editing. (spoiler) However, Andrews’ unique and unsurpassed portrayal of Nebuchadnezzar’s God-induced insanity saves the novel from being commonplace. Therefore, Andrews earns an a slightly above average score in this section.

Character Development (3 points)

Andrews’ unique talent has always been making Biblical characters accessible to the average person – a fact that remains true in this novel. While there are a vast number of characters in the story, they are mostly well-balanced and each have a clear purpose. Nebuchadnezzar his wife are a great addition to the plot and could easily go to the big screen because of Andrews unique, and likely accurate depiction of both characters. One error to point out is that some of the minor characters needed further development or omission, a fact likely resulting from the vast amount of time covered in the novel. However, a major strength of this book is found in Andrews’ imperfect depiction of Bible characters. Thus, she earns a nearly perfect score in this section.

Creativity & Originality (.5 point)

In conclusion, Andrews earns a half point in creativity for her depiction of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year insanity. This novel would make a interesting multi-season Christian TV series that gave Andrews a change to collaborate with another screenwriter and expand on and edit some of her ideas. Mainly because it seems like her potential was reined in for this novel, a fact that could be remedied on the big screen – a filmmaker could go many directions with this novel. In conclusion, Andrews continues to produce some of the more original content in the Biblical fiction genre, however, we feel that she can do more.

Wish List Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Angela Elwell Hunt: The Dangerous Beauty Series Book 3

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The third and final (?) novel in Angela E. Hunt’s Dangerous Beauty series continues her previous decision to bring depth and meaning to Bible characters that the church does not usually bring to the forefront. In this novel, Hunt gives her depiction of the story of Delilah, a woman famous for betraying the famous Biblical judge Samson. In the Bible, Delilah was the second wife of Samson; a woman who appeared to be willing to do anything to get what she wanted, including betraying her own husband. Hunt invites one to look past this famous offense and into the very heart of this woman named Delilah. The novel focuses on two main characters, Samson, and Delilah. Told in first person by these two characters, the story teaches the reader that while neither of these people are perfect, both are loved by a Holy God. In Hunt’s depiction there is no greater penalty for Delilah’s sins than for Samson’s. Throughout the story she reinforces the Biblical truth that all sin is equal in God’s eyes. The opening chapters of this novel introduce the reader to Samson as a young man, and Delilah as a teenage girl. Samson is depicted as a somewhat spoiled and arrogant young man who thinks that he can use his gift from God for his own benefit. While he does care for his nation, he cares more for himself. Against the advice of his parents, Samson marries a spoiled young Philistine woman who will only bring him grief in the end. After the tragic death of his young wife, Samson vents his anger against the Philistines, but finds that it brings him no relief. Alone, still angry, and somewhat humbled, Samson sets off on his own to discover his purpose. Delilah is a fiery teen who grew up in a somewhat tumultuous environment. Her mother was a slave, until she fell in love with a rich Philistine businessman and they married. This gave Delilah’s mother both social standing and a roof over her head. However, Delilah’s stepfather has a bitter son named Achish who is waiting for his father to die in order to claim the inheritance. Delilah does not understand why Achish is always taunting her and seems to appear wherever she goes. The sudden death of her stepfather grants Achish his coveted inheritance…and control over the futures of both Delilah and her mother. Achish sells Delilah’s mother back into slavery, and keeps Delilah as his concubine/slave. Delilah suffers abuse of the worst kind at the hands of Achish, and becomes bitter against God and the world. Eventually she escapes her physical captivity, but is still a prisoner in her own mind. A group of traveling tradesman save her life and find a safe home for her with a widow known as a talented weaver. Delilah discovers that she is pregnant as a result of Achish’s abuse, and is more grateful than ever for her home with the widow. She hardens her heart against love for the child, because it reminds her of her captor. In the novel, Samson and Delilah are depicted as two hurting people looking for the answer to their grief. Initially they find distraction from their pain in their love for one another, but soon learn that this is not enough to heal old scars. The ending of the novel is accurate to the Biblical account…with a twist. To find out what it is….read the book!;) This novel, like the others in the series, would make an excellent Bible film, if done correctly. As I have said before, I believe that Christian authors should be involved in the creation of movies based on their books. Which is why I believe that Hunt would need to be involved in the making of this hypothetical movie. We here at Box Office Revolution continue to wait for that glorious day when Christian movie makers will realize the potential found in Christian novels.

Angela Elwell Hunt: The Dangerous Beauty Series Book 2

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In keeping with the spirit of the first novel in her series, Dangerous Beauty, Angela E. Hunt continues to bring life and new meaning to familiar Bible stories in this second installment. Titled Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty, the name is somewhat confusing…..until one reads the novel itself. In the Bible, Bathsheba was a woman who caught the lustful eye of King David, a woman who was an object of temptation to a man who thought that he was too righteous to fall into sin. Many see Bathsheba as the cause of David’s sin, however, the truth of the matter is the David made the choice to commit adultery, not to mention the fact that he killed her husband to cover his sin. Bathsheba was partly a victim, and partly a participant in this familiar case of adultery found in the Old Testament. Hunt invites the reader to look at this Bible story with new eyes, with eyes that see past the blockade of sin, and into the heart of the characters. Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty deals with subjects such as sin, adultery, secrets, devastation, loss, confession, redemption, God’s unfathomable forgiveness, and how God puts the broken pieces of a person’s life together, creating a beautiful picture of His love. The opening chapters introduce the reader to the two main characters, a young woman named Bathsheba, and a prophet called Nathan. As the story is told from their perspectives, the reader will see how God uses our darkest sins for His glory. Hunt points out how having a dysfunctional family life shaped the habits and influenced the choices of the man Israel knew as King David. She makes the reader see that while he did commit a sin in the eyes of the Lord, any of us are capable of doing the same, so who are we to judge? I especially enjoyed how Hunt brought Bathsheba to light as a real person, not merely a victim or a participant. Hunt’s Bathsheba feels that she is to blame to provoking the king to his sinful choice, because of her beauty. Bathsheba, on the whole, is wiser than the king, but she still made the decision to follow his bidding. If you are interested in a Christian novel about forgiveness, then this one is for you. This novel is another brilliant piece of work from Angela E. Hunt, and deserves to be on the big screen. However, because of the rather sensitive subject matter, I absolutely insist that Hunt would have to be involved in the making of such a film. It can be done, but it must be done right, or not at all. We here at Box Office Revolution have seen too many “stories of the Bible” films with wasted potential.