Rahab: Hidden Scars by Rebekah Gyger (Book Review)
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This year is proving that with so many extraordinary debut releases as well as releases by veteran authors and each with unique voices and powerful stories to tell, Gyger's included, the future of the Biblical Fiction genre is strong!
When Rahab’s face is scarred and her marriage prospects ruined, her father forces her into prostitution to recoup her lost bride price. With her new place of business near the main gate of Jericho, she is witness to the number of people who have entered the city to flee the approaching Israelites.
Despite Moses' assurance of Yahweh's mercy, Israel is a people always at war, with elders who die in the wasteland of the Sinai desert. And as the leader of the tribe of Judah, Salmon is at the fore, dispensing Yahweh’s justice.
While Salmon wishes to see Yahweh’s mercy, Rahab looks for salvation. Is either possible when the people of Israel are on a course to enact judgment and destruction across the land of Canaan? Or will the survival of a prostitute from the city of Jericho be the mercy Salmon has been searching for?
In Christian fiction and Biblical fiction in particular, you expect to see certain themes or messages on each page—especially when it's a story as popular and oft-retold as that of Rahab. What is a treasure to find, however, is an author who weaves those lessons into the narrative with such skill, you don’t even notice until all the pieces come together to reveal a masterpiece. That's how I felt about Rahab: Hidden Scars by Rebekah Gyger.
I loved this book so much, that saying that seems like an insult to how I really felt because it is such an understatement! This year is proving that with so many extraordinary debut releases as well as releases by veteran authors and each with unique voices and powerful stories to tell, Gyger's included, the future of the Biblical Fiction genre is strong!
Some parts that, in my opinion, made this story a stand-out when compared to other similar novels: The portrayal of Salmon, as a fighting man of Israel, but also as someone who experiences anxiety and symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress or panic attacks. These scenes tugged at my heart and definitely made me tear up with how much I could empathize with those feelings as they were described. His characterization instantly drew me in, and he is definitely going to end up on my list of "favorite main male characters in fiction."
Also, the portrayal of Rahab was especially touching. Naturally, the circumstances of her story are dark and full of their own kind of trauma, but I felt the author did a beautiful job of handling each plot twist and turn (and the "villains" in the story) with care and sensitivity. Rebekah Gyger also emphasizes that while the characterization of Rahab was a victim in many ways, it is her faith that defines her, not what is done to her. She faces distressing situations, but is not a damsel in distress.
Overall, I loved the message of this book, and the ending gave me chills. Chills! Goosebumps up and down my arms! Both characters have scars. Some scars are physical, but some scars are hidden deep inside their hearts. All have far-reaching consequences, regardless, but God heals every kind of wound, and His desire for us is ultimately one of restoration.
Definitely check out this book if any of this sounds like something you'd be interested in! A truly hopeful read, and I am so glad to have read it.
*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
*This book re-imagines the story of Rahab, who was described as a prostitute in the Bible. Readers, should be aware that this book will include mature thematic elements related to her story. I am not a content reviewer, and while I believe the author handles these issues with tact, some readers may be sensitive to these situations. Please consider this carefully before you purchase the book for yourself.