Eeeeee, I am so excited about this one!!! Enjoy this review, and stay tuned for the give-away info and the recipe at the end!!
“The Tomb: a Novel of Martha” by Stephanie Landsem
Book three in The Living Water Series (though can easily stand alone)
Review copy from the author
My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
*Sigh* What a perfectly lovely book, that is not just full of fluff. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I had not one thing that I didn’t like. Stephanie Landsem continues to amaze me with her awe-inspiring books. This is the third book in her fantastic “Living Waters Series” and the encounters the characters have with Jesus are all superb! It’s heart-moving, really, it is. I have cried through all three of these books, so yes, as you can see, “The Tomb” was no exception.
Again, God is so good to have me read it at the exact right timing – I needed to read about Martha. And Mrs. Landsem just completely brought her to life in this amazing book. The Bible account is beautiful, and Mrs. Landsem just accents that.
What would Martha’s day to day have been like? What did she feel, believe, struggle with? Oh, it is all showed and handled so well in “The Tomb”! And each character was beautifully constructed. I got so attached to all of them.
Having read the Bible account of Lazarus many times, I knew what was going to happen, yet when Lazarus died – and came back to life by Jesus’ power – I cried. It was so emotional.
Along with tears, this book had me laughing, as well as yelling at it. My family can attest to that. =D There were some edge-of-the-seat moments, I tell you.
But I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want the whole book to end, because I loved it so much. It is one you just want to stay in – forever. And I can’t wait to return to the lovely world Mrs. Landsem has shone light to.
What I love about Biblical fiction is it is so full of godly wisdom, and makes you read the Bible in a whole new light. I sometimes forget that when I’m reading just your regular ‘romance’ or ‘historical’ fictions – even if they’re Christian – Biblical fiction just gives me such a peace and fills me. Praise God for Biblical fiction. :) (This is not to say that I do not enjoy romance/historical fiction, if they are Christian. Some are very God-filled, in which case I like them equally)
Oh and at the end there was a part where two characters from the previous Living Water’s Series book made it into the scene! It was adorable, and made me very happy. :)
I could rave on and on about this book, but I will try to stop and make sure this review isn’t too lengthy. But please, do check out all of Stephanie Landsem’s books – you won’t be disappointed!
One of the quotes I loved:
“He [Jesus] loved her- not because she could cook a feast, and keep her household clothed, not because she immersed the vessels and kept the law. He loved her…because she was Martha.” – Chapter 49 page 282
ALSO readers, I’m delighted to share with you two extra things with this review. Below is the image for the give-away Stephanie Landsem is holding on her blog, so be sure to click on that and go check it out!
And second, I have a recipe of Martha of Bethany’s to share! It looks yummy. :)
Martha’s yogurt with pomegranate syrup
This is a simple, yet beautiful and delicious recipe that will make you feel like you’re having breakfast in Bethany with Martha, Lazarus, and Zakai. You only need two ingredients for this breakfast treat:
Plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt but regular would work fine also)
Martha would have had to break open the pomegranates, take out the seeds, pound them and strain out the juice. We can use a bottled pomegranate juice like POM to make this much easier.
Pour 2 cups of pomegranate juice into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil gently until it is thick and reduced to about ¼ cup, it should take about 40 minutes. Watch carefully toward the end. Pour into a small pitcher or measuring cup to cool. When cooled, it will be thick and deep red.
Scoop yogurt into a bowl and pour the cooled syrup over. (The pomegranate syrup will be slightly bitter and not as sweet as we are accustomed to in our culture.)
Enjoy the flavors that would have been familiar to Martha and her family during the time of Jesus.
attribute for the pomegranate pic: “Pomegranate close up” by Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pomegranate_close_up.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Pomegranate_close_up.jpgAnd the last picture is thanks to Mrs. Landsem herself!
And let me say a BIG THANK YOU to Stephanie Landsem!! It was a JOY and BLESSING to be our your team and I adore your books :)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given.