“Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty” by Angela Hunt
Review copy source: Bethany House Publishers
My rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
About the Book
After receiving God’s promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier’s wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king’s household.
I hadn’t read any books by Angela Hunt before and so when “Bathsheba” came up for review,I was interested in reading it. And indeed the cover is beautiful (besides the unrealistic amount of makeup… ^.^).
But this book was unfortunately, not a favourite for me. There were several parts that I had to skip because they were really inappropriate – it would make a person blush, truly. I don’t think that is necessary at all to have it in any book, but especially Biblical Fiction.
One quote I liked: “A complacent man would eventually neglect the Lord, because he would depend upon HaShem’s promise, and not HaShem Himself.” – I agree with this, but sadly, the characters did not follow this. Bathsheba did rely on The Lord’s promise and not so much God Himself. Her faith was quite strangely portrayed. She was mostly angry at God, and at some point she switched her attitude towards Him, but it was not clear or obvious.
One of the over-all themes that I didn’t care for at all was the great emphasis on physical beauty. The fact that Bathsheba was a “Tob” woman (meaning, very beautiful) was referenced and repeated a thousand times. And there was way too much stock put into her beauty. I was also very disappointed with the prophet Nathan’s attitude towards his wife. He compared her to Bathsheba continually, and it was very degrading. It would be one thing if no physical description was given, but they did describe the looks of each, and to say that one figure type is more pleasing than another is just terrible. Every woman is made beautiful in Yahweh. There is absolutely no size or shape that is better than the other. Period.
Nathan as a character, as a prophet, was very discouraging to me. Yes, he was a man, but he was a man of God, and I do not believe that a prophet would behave as he did, in many aspects. In comparing his wife (who was extremely sweet, and probably the best character of the whole book) to Bathsheba, he thanked God that his wife wasn’t as pleasing as Bathsheba. It was just so wrong.
I get that this series is about ‘dangerous beauty” and that, in theory, is why so much emphasis is placed on it, but I don’t think it is godly, especially to give descriptions of what is “remarkably beautiful” because everyone’s perception of beauty is vastly different and unique. To talk down about one figure type is very detrimental to a reader who could be that figure type. I fear that any young lady who is not secure in God with how He has made her, will read this and feel inferior, inadequate and will compare themselves with the book’s interpretation of what is beautiful. I feel that to be dangerous. We can not put beauty in a box and say it is only one type of person. We cannot put beauty on a pedestal and say it is so important, because it is not. The important beauty comes from the heart overflowing with Christ’s love. We are to reflect His beauty, and that comes from inside us.
There were quite a few other things, like the pride issues, but I don’t want to keep going on negatively. I am afraid I cannot recommend this book. I hate to give unfavourable reviews, but this book sent off so many alarms to me.