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Miriam by Mesu Andrews (review)

Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel - Mesu Andrews

Using Miriam as the main character and including others who were barely mentioned, this is a very interesting new take on the story of the Israelites and their Exodus from Egypt.

 

I did have an issue with language use seeming too modern and complex at times. The characterization of Miriam as a prophetess with almost a running conversation with "her" El-Shaddai (God) who becomes resentful, jealous, and petty when she feels supplanted by her returning younger brother, was believable but difficult to reconcile. A lesser issue was the one-dimensional nature of some secondary and tertiary characters.

 

When Moses returns he is a veritable stranger to her, and brings some revelations that seem a bit radical to Miriam (such as a new name for her El-Shaddai), but to the reader he seems very real and very human. This aspect of the story was handled so well by the author, that Moses does not take over the story. It remains firmly Miriam's.

 

The sub-plot of Miriam's nephew Eleazar, a royal guard, and Taliah, a young woman who comes under his protection, added interest and another perspective to the story. It is through Eleazar that the reader sees the engrained, callous cruelty of the Egyptian court along with some of the reactions and repercussions of Moses' audiences and the ten plagues.

 

As a fleshed-out imagining of the Exodus, this is an interesting read. As a story of an older woman struggling to come to terms with changes that are beyond her control, and the loss of a presence she took for granted in her life, it is possibly even more interesting. Recommended for those who enjoy biblical retellings, especially those that focus on the less well-known participants in the story.


This review refers to an Advance Reading Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.