Queen of Hearts (by Jill Briscoe)

Over the years, we've said goodbye to many friends. Several of them decide to leave behind some of their books. Knowing how much I like collecting books, I'm frequently offered as many as I care to house. It was a result of one of these events that I picked up three or four books by Jill Briscoe, a writer I had not previously come across. She's British but has lived many years in the USA where she has a fairly significant teaching ministry. Over the years, she's apparently written around 40 books.

'Queen of Hearts' has sat on my shelves for many years, but - wanting something different to read - I finally picked it up about three weeks ago. The subtitle is, 'a woman in today's world'. The blurb on the back tells me that it's based on Proverbs 31, the chapter in the Bible about an ideal woman, although probably not describing a real person. Over the years I've met many people, both on and offline, who would like to live up to this lady, with varying degrees of success.

The premise of the book is that God calls us all to be 'Queen' of our husband's heart, our children's hearts, in our workplace, and to God himself. Each chapter looks at one aspect, with some anecdotes, some Scriptural pointers, and some summaries and points to ponder at the end. I thought I'd get through it quite quickly, reading a chapter or so each day. But in the event, it took me about three weeks.

There's nothing to disagree with, really. It's not that I found myself overwhelmed with new ideas, or pondering what was said. In its way, it was quite readable, and the writing was good. I suppose it might be useful to Christian women feeling discouraged or useless, but I didn't find anything in it that was inspiring or particularly thought-provoking.

'Queen of Hearts', written in the mid 1980s, has long been out of print. I'm sure Jill Briscoe has written far better books since then; I might even try to get hold of some of them, since it's not really fair to judge a writer based on a 25-year-old book written in the period when there was a lot of evangelical fluff. It's not a bad book. But it felt like what it was - a run-of-the-mill 1980s typical Christian book, supposedly encouraging to women... but in fact not saying very much.

Or perhaps I'm just a middle-aged cynic.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 24th August 2010

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