Michal (by Jill Eileen Smith)

I would probably not have come across Jill Eileen Smith, an American Christian writer, had I not been browsing - as I do fairly regularly - the Kindle store on Amazon, to see what was available free. These change from time to time, and often seem to be the first in a series of books, designed to make readers want to buy others by the same writer.

That's how I came to download 'Michal' a few months ago. It's a fictional account of the story of Michal, who was one of the daughters of King Saul, in the Biblical book of Genesis. Michal was also the first wife of David, who became King of Israel later on.

The author has managed to bring this young woman to life in a biographical kind of novel which begins when Michal is a teenager. We see her in daily life, which includes realistic squabbling with her sister, and also developing a crush on the handsome warrior, David. Life as a wealthy princess is described well, but without excessive detail. This gives a good backdrop to this story of love and loss that takes place over many years.

The story follows the Scriptural account from Genesis, taking into account all that was written about Michal - which is not actually very much. The rest is from the author's imagination, but is consistent with Jewish life in those times as well as the Bible stories, and seemed very believable to me.

I was surprised how readable this book was, despite the fact that it took me a while to finish it, just reading a little at a time over several weeks. I found it quite exciting in places, despite already knowing the outline of the plot from the Bible. I had not thought much about Michal before, and found this version of her to be intriguing, and realistic.

Recommended. It's not necessary to have read the Biblical version of the story first, or even to believe that it was true - as a novel about a young Jewish girl it also works well.

Although this is still available on the Kindle, it's no longer free. I have linked to paperback versions of Michal at both Amazon stores.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 8th September 2011

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