This book by Angela Hunt is a part of her Dangerous Beauty series. It alternates between the perspectives of Bathsheba and Nathan-the prophet. The Biblical story line is entwined with a fictional story line to help portray a picture of what may have taken place. The author uses culture, time, and history to enhance what we know from the Bible. Bathsheba plays an important role in history as her son falls in the line of Jesus. We see her family life, her interactions with David’s other wives and children, and over the course of the book we see her pain, humiliation, and bitterness turn to healing, forgiveness and love towards David. In the fictional story, Nathan has always been attracted to Bathsheba but after God makes it clear to him that she is not the woman who he will have as a wife, he follows the will of God. He is transported through visions and witnesses David’s lust and betrayal. Biblically, he plays an important role in the exposure of David’s sin.
I have always enjoyed reading Biblical historical fiction. I feel that knowing the culture, time, and history surrounding the stories that we read in the Bible adds understanding to scripture. However, this puts a burden on the author to carefully interweave Biblical truth with fiction assumptions and/or possibilities without distorting scripture. The author in this case, overall created a good story but I personally think that she went a little too far in some areas. I agree with her assertion that King David most likely raped Bathsheba. As a king, he could take who he wanted, when he wanted. As woman in that time, Bathsheba would have no choice but to submit to her king’s demands. We know from the Bible that David tried to cover up his sin, when Bathsheba gets pregnant, by bringing Uriah home and trying to convince him to go home to sleep with his wife. When Uriah did not do this, David had him carry his own death warrant to the General. After news of Uriah’s death, David brought Bathsheba to his household. The problem I have with the fiction in this book, is how the author portrayed Nathan. It is possible that Nathan and Bathsheba may have known each other when they were young and that he could have been attracted to her. However, there is no indication of this in scripture. Also, the author portrays Nathan as having visions where he is transported to the scenes that he is witnessing. This allows him to see the same scene that David saw on the roof as he gazed on Bathsheba and caused him to momentarily lust after her as well. I do not know how God gave the prophets of old visions but I have a hard time believing that He would purposely put Nathan in the position that would cause him to sin (lust is equal to adultery according to Jesus in the gospel of Matthew). So for this reason, I do not care for part of Nathan’s story line that the author chose to portray. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Biblical historical fiction but only with the understanding that this as a whole is fiction and not to take the place of Biblical truths.
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
By Angela Hunt / Bethany House