Tuesday, April 27, 2010

‘A Stray Drop of Blood’ by Roseanna M. White – Book Review

Buzz this
A Stray Drop of Blood’ is the debut novel from a talented author named Roseanna M. White.  Roseanna’s story is set in Jerusalem.  Here’s the description from the back of the book:

Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter.  Disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all, she never knows love until she receives the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

Here is the biography of Roseanna from the back of the book:

Roseanna M. White is a wife, mommy, writer, reviewer, and lover of all things literary-related.  She makes her home in the mountains of Maryland, where she runs the Christian Review of Books.  She is a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and HEWN Marketing.

The main character is Abigail, a Hebrew girl who finds herself sold into slavery at age eight by the relatives of her parents, who are deceased.  She is living in Jerusalem, and is owned by a family which treats her as a member of the family.  The matriarch, Ester Visibullis, is also a Jewess.  She is married to Cleopas, a Roman prefect.  They have one son, Jason, who is also a Roman soldier; he identifies more with his father’s heritage than his mother’s.  Abigail blossoms into a beautiful young woman who is cherished by one and all.  She is highly intelligent, and, contrary to the norm, Cleopas teaches his slave how to read and write several languages, including Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

These characters happen to be living in Jerusalem at the same time as a rabbi by the name of Jesus.  All of them had heard about him; in fact, He had brought Cleopas’ colleague Jairus’ daughter back to life (which is detailed in the Bible in Mark 5).  Cleopas, in particular, was interested in learning more about this possible Messiah:

….he loved the one God, Jehovah, with all of his heart.  He wanted to serve him, he wanted to be counted as one of his children.  Perhaps he was wrong to expect the messiah, the King of the Jews, to be able to intervene for him; perhaps popular opinion was correct, and the true messiah would be a great warrior to wage battle against Rome.  But just maybe he was a teacher instead, and maybe the lessons this Jesus taught were true – maybe it was the love in a man’s heart that counted with the Lord, not the number of sacrifices he made or how the Sanhedrin viewed him. (p. 91)

It is interesting to see how Cleopas’ colleagues described Jesus:

“Perhaps he will run into the Galilean rebel.  We heard he was moving in that direction.  The governor [Pontius Pilate] is not certain he is a threat, but still, one can never be too certain about these dissidents.  All reports of his actions are heard along with the rest.” (p. 96)

Abigail and Jason were witnesses to the crucifixion of Jesus.  Abigail described what was going through her mind as He passed by:

He was close now, only a step away, and Abigail had a horrible fear that he would look at her.  Quite suddenly, that thought struck her as unbearable.  She knew, knew with every portion of her being, that if he looked at her, he would see her in her completeness.  He would see how black her soul had become with sin and hatred and bitterness.  He would see all she had done and thought to do and wished herself capable of.  He would see that though she wished him spared, it was only so that another could die in his place. (p. 175)

I really enjoyed this book!  Ms. White has created a story with great attention to detail, and the characters are multi-dimensional; I would go so far as to call it an epic.  I thought it was really creative how she used some real people from scripture (such as Jairus and his daughter) in her storyline.  She is a masterful writer who has the gift for creating sympathetic characters.  Abigail is beautiful, intelligent - and flawed, as are all of us.  She ultimately seeks her Messiah and finds Him – as do many of the other characters.  God shows His incredible mercy to the characters in this story, none of which are perfect!  Roseanna has obviously done her research, creating a Jerusalem fully detailed and descriptive.   I would recommend this book highly if you’re looking to read a historical fiction novel. 

You can order this book here.

This book was provided by White Fire Publishing for review purposes.


Roseanna M. White said...

Thanks so much for the review, Andrea! Glad you enjoyed the book.

And to answer the question you asked on Facebook, my next novel, JEWEL OF PERSIA is another Biblical Fiction but a totally different story. This one combines the book of Esther with the history of Xerxes as recorded by Herodotus during the Greco-Persian war. It releases summer 2011.

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Roseanna -

Thanks for stopping by!

Book # 2 sounds fascinating as well! Looking forward to reading that one as well when the time comes!

Blessings -


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