I love stories that bring history to life -- especially those around the time of Jesus and the early days of Christianity. This story dives into the lives of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus in a way that makes it easier to relate to people we only know slightly.
Stephanie Landsem has done a fabulous job of researching the time, helping the reader feel as if she/he has walked right into Martha's seemingly perfect home.
I did find the story line a bit disconcerting, although it may have been realistic. I was a bit distracted by the backstory/secrets and found myself fighting against the probability of them being true. Of course any story about people in this time will require a lot of embellishment, since the Bible doesn't cover many details, but I found this one to be too distracting for the story to flow freely for me. There are, of course, disclaimers about the license an author must take to write a story like this.
Regardless, I enjoyed the story as a historical novel, and I loved getting into the 'head' of Martha. I recommend this for anyone who likes historical novels of the time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.
When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.
I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.