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Miriam, by Mesu Andrews: Review

The children of Israel have suffered four hundred years of bondage to the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, clinging to El Shaddai's sacred promise to one day deliver them. Miriam is a prophetess—the one Hebrew who hears El Shaddai's voice in their time of tribulation—but as the four hundred years reach their end, she feels as if El Shaddai has gone silent. Without His voice whispering in her thoughts, Miriam is lost.

When her long-exiled brother, Moses, returns from the wilderness, bringing a promise of the Hebrews' deliverance by the hand of the One God, Yahweh, Miriam struggles to understand how God could reveal himself to others and be silent to her. As the Pharoah's heart hardens against the Hebrews and plagues ravage Egypt by God's hand, Miriam and her family must seek to understand the God whose power can shake hard hearts, and whose goodness alone can deliver them.

Miriam is a continuation of Mesu Andrews Treasures of the Nile collection, the sequel to her novel, The Pharaoh's Daughter, which I reviewed not long ago. While The Pharaoh's Daughter sheds light on the Egyptian mother who raised a Hebrew infant as her own in ancient times, this story illuminates Israel's Exodus in a new and exciting way. As a huge Moses fan, I loved Andrews' take on his character, his family, and what it might have felt like for Miriam to watch her younger brother rise to such importance in the plans of God.

As was the case in The Pharaoh's Daughter, the world featured in this story is thorough, well-researched, and vivid. The detailed context alone provides such helpful insight into what the biblical account of Moses might have looked like on a literal level. The plot, though not necessarily entirely biblical, was filled with plausible storylines to connect the dots between the verses of the original account; though it may not have happened exactly the way Andrews' depicted it, it's always eye-opening to experience this story through the lens of real lives, real events, and real people. The embellishing elements of the plot make the factual elements shine all the brighter, reminding us of the reality that Exodus really happened.

Content Notes: One female character served as a tutor in a harem for most of her life, and as a result many of the Hebrews assume she has participated in sexual immorality. She is attacked and almost defiled by a slave-driver at one point, but it is not shown; another woman is said to have been defiled by a slave-driver later in the story, a phenomenon that is established as common. Married couples' wedding nights are suggested but not explicitly shown. The Egyptians worship false gods. No profanity is found.

I loved the character of Moses in this story and thoroughly enjoyed Andrews' creative insights into what Miriam, Aaron, Moses, and their family might have been like as people. As ever, her writing is detailed, heartfelt, and clean, always pointing to God as the giver of life, the fulfiller of promises, and the deliverer of his children.

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