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Defending David by Barbara M. Britton (Book Review)

Battle cries, boundary lines, and amid it all... Love, between us and God, and between each other.

When a quiet journey to Jerusalem turns tragic, newly orphaned Rimona must flee a kinsman set on selling her as a slave. Racing into the rocky hills outside of Hebron, Rimona is rescued by a Philistine commander journeying to Jerusalem with six-hundred warriors.
Exiled commander, Ittai the Gittite, is seeking refuge in the City of David. Protecting a frantic Hebrew woman is not in his leadership plan. Although, having a nobleman's niece in his caravan might prove useful for finding shelter in a foreign land.
Rimona and Ittai arrive in Jerusalem on the eve of a rebellion. In the chaos of an heir's betrayal, will they be separated forever, or can they defend King David and help the aging monarch control his rebellious son?

Let me tell you a story... In June of 2021 I got an email from the lovely Barbara M. Britton, asking if I would be interested in reading an early copy of Defending David with the purpose and intention of reviewing it and writing an endorsement for it... And, OF COURSE, I immediately said yes! I've been reviewing Barbara's new Biblical Fiction releases since Lioness, and I have yet to be disappointed. Defending David is, in my humble opinion, Barbara's best yet.

What I loved about this book: Firstly, the emphasis on prayer. The characters pray so much in their thoughts and hearts, never hesitating to call out to God. This was truly a powerful demonstration of the verse, which is a theme throughout the novel, "I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?"

Secondly, this book was FULL of strong characters, but I especially appreciated the strong female characters. Rimona and Ittai are equal matches for each other. They are strong but each in their own ways; he is a warrior in battle, and she is a warrior wGod's love,ith words. Not only does he save her, but they save each other and make the other better. That is exactly the kind of love story that I love to read about.

Parveda, the wife of Ittai's closest friend who also becomes Rimona's friend over the course of the story, was also a highlight for me. As someone who grew up with very close ties to the military (My dad served in the Navy, and the U.S. Navy and I also share a birthday!), I remember my dad's trips away and his deployment when I was a child very clearly. I also remember how strong my mother was, and how during that time God gave us all peace even in the most frightening moments. For me, Parveda reminded me of so many strong family members of those involved in military service that I know, and I enjoyed that aspect of the book as well. Again, strong characters but especially strong female characters were SO present here and I loved it.

Finally, I loved how this book portrayed King David. We see multiple sides of him in the story: the youthful, hopeful side, the older, wounded man, the king, and the warrior. I enjoyed getting to know the man after God's own heart on an even deeper level, and I loved how this book brought me back to my childhood, listening to my grandma tell me stories about David and his sons and how he was God's chosen king.

I think that the best Biblical fiction books are those written by those who have a clear passion for telling the Bible stories and teaching their truths, and Barbara M. Britton is just such a person. Her stories transport me back to Sunday school, when I along with my peers would gather around a storyteller and wait for vivid descriptions, compelling dialogue, and captivating characters to bring the Bible to life before in our mind's eye... Always complete with a lesson that would stay with us far longer than just that Sunday.

I cannot recommend Barbara's books enough. Pick one up; I assure you, you will not be disappointed. She has a knack for crafting novels that, despite taking place thousands of years ago, remain relevant and relatable today. Absalom's rebellion is retold in Defending David with tact and wisdom, and Rimona and Ittai's journey can teach us all a thing or two about finding our refuge with God. He is where our help comes from, in David's day, in our day, and in the days to come. Purchase Defending David at this link:

Happy reading,

- Jenna Van Mourik

"Barbara M. Britton's best yet! Readers will fall in love with loyal Ittai and strong Rimona as they work separately and together to support the anointed king of Israel and uphold the sovereignty of the Most High God in the midst of turmoil and unrest while also seeking shelter from their own enemies. Defending David turns the Psalms into battle cries, reveals the warrior within the psalmist, and reminds us all exactly where our help comes from in times of trouble." - Endorsement from Jenna Van Mourik, Author of Jerusalem's Daughter

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