Monday, February 01, 2016

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty by Angela Hunt ~ Book Review

This is book #2 in the A Dangerous Beauty Series by this author.  It focuses on 3 different women from the bible who's supreme beauty didn't necessarily benefit them but, if fact, betrayed them or put them in danger.  I reviewed the 1st book, Esther:  Royal Beauty here.

When King David looks out from his rooftop and sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing in her courtyard, he sends for her and forces himself upon her in spite of the fact that she is married and married to one of his most loyal soldiers at that.  To see this side of David who worshipped God with such great abandon, was a shock to Bathsheba and it threw her young life into great turmoil.  She loved her husband, Uriah, and hoped she would have a lifetime of loving him and bearing his children.  But when Uriah left for war, young Bathsheba still had not conceived a child.  Now with King David forcing himself upon her she finds herself pregnant.  With this news, David furthers his sin, by bringing Uriah home from the seige of a city and trying to get him to go be with his wife, but in his loyalty Uriah refuses so David has him killed.  He then takes Bathsheba into his palace as his wife.

The story of David and Bathsheba is not a happy, fluffy romance.  The consequences of David's sin reverberated throughout his life and caused much sorrow not just for him but for Bathsheba as well.  Modern movies and stories have always involved Bathsheba as a quite willing partner in the whole affair but this author has taken a different viewpoint.  Bathsheba lost her sense of self, her husband, her child, her home and everything she knew of her life.  And probably at a very young age in a very short space of time.  From the author's notes in the back, which are well worth taking the time to read, she once again states that she took great care to not purposely contradict anything in the bible.  The viewpoint of Bathsheba not being a willing participant in the affair and that her whole life was ruined and changed against her will was one I never thought of before and it took her story in another path with emotions for me.  The whole tale, even straight up from the bible is so sad. I love how this story explored the feelings of devastation Bathsheba would have been going through and how she had to learn to forgive and not turn bitter.   For the most part, I really enjoyed this look into Bathsheba's life and emotions and thoughts from this perspective.  And I appreciated how the author conveyed that through it all God remained faithful and the story is filled with Bathsheba trying to raise her sons to honor the Lord.   I also really liked the the exploration of how David's other wives would have reacted to Bathsheba and everything she had to overcome in trying to make friendships within the palace so that she didn't lead a totally isolated and lonely life.  The story is told in alternating chapters in Bathsheba's words and in Nathan, the prophet's words.  In all honesty, there were just a handful of paragraphs or sentences that made me uncomfortable from the perspective of this being Christian fiction, but it was not anything near what you would find in secular novel and can easily be skipped if you are sensitive to that.  I also was a tad uncomfortable with a storyline concerning Nathan's feelings for Bathsheba which I don't think added anything to make the story better.  

Reading this really made me pause and reflect on the story of David and Bathsheba and all there is to be learned from their lives and  I gave it a 8.5 out 10.


Faith said...

Great review! I actually heard our pastor preach a sermon about this part of David's story (or maybe it was also a beth moore study since I took a class on her book about David). anyways...i learned that bathsheeba was NOT a willing participant. That David thought he could have whatever and whomever he wanted. I'm going to look for this series at my town library. It sounds really good!!

Monica said...

OH! I think I am going to have to add these to my list! Thanks for bringing them to our attention! :)

Barbara H. said...

I've heard this presented both ways - that when he called for her, he was the king after all, so what could she do, so it was his fault - or, what was she doing bathing where she could be seen by other men, so it's her fault. It's probably some of both. I like stories like this in that they bring up aspects we probably never thought of (like the extent of her loss and how the other wives would have received her), but I am wary when the author's imagination puts possibilities in that the Biblical text neither includes nor implies, like Nathan's having feelings for Bathsheba.