Book Review: Reign

7 Nov

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse.

As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah — a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

Ginger Garrett graduated from SMU in Dallas, Texas, with a degree in theatre arts and a focus on playwriting. Although she applied to the CIA to become an international master of espionage, she had to settle for selling pharmaceuticals for a large corporation. She eventually travelled the world on her own dime and without a disguise.

Ginger now lives in Atlanta with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs. She spends her time baking gluten free goodness for her friends and family, and mentors middle school students who want to become working writers. Passionate about science, history, and women’s studies, Ginger loves exploring new ideas and old secrets. She especially loves good books read late at night.

Ginger is a popular speaker and a frequent radio and television guest. She has been featured by media across the country including Fox News, USA Today, Library Journal, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta, FamilyNet Television, National Public Radio, Harvest Television, and more.

My Impressions:

I lead a Bible study at my church that combines exploring scripture with a supplementary novel inspired by what we are studying. We call it The Faith And Fiction Bible Study, and it has been a great way to dive into the truth of God’s word in a unique way. I chose Reign by Ginger Garret to accompany our look into the life of Ahab and Jezebel. The study has been eye-opening for me, and Reign made real the cultural influences of the era. While many in my group described it as a hard or unpleasant read because of it’s depiction of the depravity of pagan worship, I appreciate the research that Garrett used to bring one of the most vilified characters in the Bible to life.

Reign depicts the life of Jezebel — her early life in Sidon and subsequent marriage to Ahab. A princess of the Phoenicians, Jezebel and Ahab’s marriage cemented the trade and political fortune of Israel with the seafaring nation. Unfortunately, with the increased economic prospects, Jezebel brought pagan worship to the northern kingdom and made it state-recognized and approved. This was the crux of God’s anger and judgment towards Ahab’s reign. While the framework of the novel rests on facts, the fictional life of Jezebel, the what-ifs, were fascinating. Garrett develops a character who is very much influenced by her past experiences. Pagan worship, though horrific in its implications, was a normal part of Jezebel’s upbringing. That point leads to all kinds of questions of how our own beliefs and experiences impact our actions, even if in opposition to God’s word. There’s not much to like about Jezebel and Ahab — really nothing at all. But the secondary character of Obadiah, mentioned as Ahab’s steward in the Biblical record, provides good insight into how godly people may react when faced with direct opposition to the God they believe in. God’s truth is a big part of Reign and is presented by Elijah, Obadiah and other named and unnamed prophets. Could life for Jezebel been different? I loved the very subtle wooing by God (and the depiction of the counter-action of evil) that she ultimately rejects.

Reign, as I stated above, was not an easy read. But it did provide good insight into a very dark time in Israel’s history. If you like Biblical fiction, give this one a try.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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