by Marilyn T. Parker
Most of us who attended Sunday School—even if it was MANY years ago—remember Jacob. He and his brother Esau were early poster children for sibling rivalry. Jacob also fathered twelve sons who would go on to father the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Kind of a big deal, right? Furthermore, this part of The Bible inspired both the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and the novel, “The Red Tent.”
The Struggle for Love explores the life of the faithful Leah, Jacob’s first wife. Her greedy father had tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of her more beautiful younger sister Rachel. The father’s deceit caused a lifelong rift between the sisters, giving us yet another example of sibling rivalry.
Understandably, Leah and Jacob were not the happiest of couples. They were imperfect people who while they shared a faith in the God of Abraham, also struggled with profound doubt, guilt, jealousy, and anger.
Author Parker breathes life into her characters. Readers will experience daily life in this time and place, where women’s roles were strictly prescribed. Moreover, deviations from the norm were the subject of gossip, ostracism, and worse. Then as now, some men were brutes; some women were victimized. I especially appreciated Parker’s insights into historic customs including midwifery practices, medicine, domestic life, and food preparation.
Readers of both Christian Fiction and Historical Fiction will find much to appreciate in this great story, well-told.
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