Book review: Michal’s Window by Rachelle Ayala

 

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475081480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475081480

About the book . . . 

 

In ancient Israel, where women are property, Princess Michal loves her father’s worst enemy, the future King David. She sacrifices everything to save his life, but will her heart survive war and separation?

 

A novel of betrayal, forbidden love, and redemption, Michal’s Window is an imaginative retelling of King David’s story through the eyes of the woman who loved him first.

 

 

Paperback at:

 About the author . . .          

 

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

 

Visit her at: 

 

 

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Reader review . . . 

 

King Saul, leader of ancient Israel, has gone mad.  He fears losing his throne to the young man God has anointed as the next king.  David, a young shepherd boy, quickly gains favor in the eyes of the Israelites when he defeats Goliath, the Philistine giant.  David also has gained the favor of Saul’s younger daughter, Michal, and with the death of Goliath, he wins her hand in marriage.  

 

Soon after the marriage, however, David must flee in the middle of the night for his new father-in-law has put a price on his head. This begins a decades-long saga of departures and reunions for the couple.  While they are apart, Michal is tempted to love another, but remains faithful to David.  However, the future king of Israel is not as strong, and follows the custom of the day, taking multiple wives.  The couple survives separation, violence, and the loss of children, but when King David takes Bathsheba as his queen, it is almost more than Michal can take.

 

Biblical-based fiction has become popular over the last few years, and I have particularly enjoyed the trend of authors exploring the lives of the women of the Bible.  So often, we hear of the men, but the women in their lives are little more than a footnote.  So it is with Michal, first wife of King David.  Although she married him in her youth and remained with him until her death, most of us only know of her from II Samuel 6:16-23, when she looked upon David from her window as he danced before the Ark of the Covenant.  The Bible tells us that Michal despised David in her heart, but it doesn’t actually say why.  Most seem to infer that it was because of his undignified worship, which it probably was, but the argument could be made that any man who had that many wives and concubines could be considered to be a ladies’ man, and perhaps Michal thought he was trying to draw attention to himself.  Not trying to start a theological discussion, here; just offering an alternative, and that’s really the point of this novel.  

 

Ms. Ayala has a beautiful command of the written word, causing scenes to come alive in the reader’s imagination.  I could see Ancient Israel almost as clearly as if I were there.  I could feel Michal’s anguish, first as a young bride separated from the man she loved, and then later as she grieved over the loss of their child, and then over David’s continual betrayal. The story alternates between the point of view of Michal, and a more neutral third-person narrative.  The scenes told from her point of view are most compelling.

 

All of the cast and characters of the Biblical story are here, with the addition of a few fictional characters to round out the story.  I understand the need to flesh out the sparse details given in the Old Testament tale, but some may be uncomfortable with some of the artistic license the author has taken, but I don’t feel that it’s too far from the story to be a real problem.  Also, some readers could be shocked by the sometimes graphic romantic scenes, but again, David was obviously a very sensual man or he would not have gotten into so much trouble.  We just don’t usually think of Biblical characters being that way, but remember that the Bible also says that there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)  And as for the violence that some reviewers have mentioned, it was a violent, cruel time, and I’m sure this story only scratches the surface.

 

5 stars

 

The author provided a copy of the novel in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.