Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As author of Michal's Window, I read this book with great trepidation. Here is the woman who made King David stray into adultery. What would her story be like?
The book starts out innocently enough with Bathsheba a teenybopper and her friend Chava giddy with excitement at being invited to dine with the handsome king. While Chava provided all the hysterics, Bathsheba admired David from a distance.
Soon enough, she is married to Uriah, the loyal warrior. She grows restless with her husband's frequent absence and wonders if she'd ever have a normal family, including children.
When she meets the old king wandering on his wall, they flirt and talk about music, their common interest. Talk is soon not enough, and on a hot, restless night, the king wanders out on his wall and decides to take the next step. Oh... he's a smooth devil, that one, he strums her heart with his fingers, singing her life with his words, killing her softly... Not until it's too late does Bathsheba realize the snare... "You have reason to resent your king." "I'm sorry to cause you such pain and loneliness." as he traces a line up her arm and turns her face to kiss her. "Will you stay and accept my love as a token of my apology?" as he drops her robe and probes her private places. Very subtle and very smooth.
Bathsheba's seduction has been written throughout the ages in many different ways, from outright violent rape to a temptress bent on trapping the saintly king. Smith takes an innocent approach, giving both of her characters plenty of excuses--loneliness, grief, boredom, the need for a friend. Yet, if David was so in need of a friend, why couldn't he revisit his love with Michal, whom Smith has redeemed into an angelic being, foster mother of Abigail's daughter. Smith's Michal is a calm, pleasant and cooperative woman who bears no resentment toward David's other wives. She would have been the perfect friend and companion for the aged king.
Bathsheba tells the story of David's later years through the eyes of a young wife--one who was outcast and befriended only by Michal. It is a sad story, as she never really had the normal family she would have wanted. Yet she made the best of it by ensuring her son Solomon was elevated to the throne. The seeds of Solomon's destruction is seen planted by his already roving eye, and his rationalization that he wouldn't commit the sin of his father because he'd simply marry every woman he fancied. Perhaps David's biggest failing after the way he treated his wife, Michal, was his lack of training for his sons. Absalom's rebellion is depicted with its tragic result and Solomon continues the downward spiral.
Smith has done a fairly good job of taking this sordid chapter of David's life and smoothing it out into a December-May romance. Bathsheba is on sale at Amazon for $2.99 until June 24, 2012. Get it at this low price while you can!
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Excerpt from Michal's Window: David Seduces Bathsheba