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Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Stephanie Landsem's The Tomb ~ Reviewed
The Tomb: A Novel of Martha
by Stephanie Landsem
Series: The Living Water Series
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (March 17, 2015)
In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.
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?
The Tomb is a story of what Martha, Mary and Lazarus's lives might have been like leading up to Lazarus being raised from the dead. It shows the qualities of Martha and Mary that we are familiar with from Scripture and expands upon it. Mary's character is a care free spirit, who is devoted to the Lord and doesn't worry about what the other people in the village think of her. Martha sticks to the rules, attempting to be the perfect example of a Jewish woman, and everyone looks up to her. However, in this story, she carries a heavy secret which gives insight as to why she might have been the way she was.
While I was engaged in the story, I also had to try to disconnect myself from the fact that it was about people in the Bible. Since it gave a storyline that's not in the Bible, but a presumption of what might have happened, I think we need to be careful not to influence our reading of the scripture, reading things into it that aren't there. I feel like I now have to really be careful because of the picture painted of Martha in this story, not to let it effect the truth in the Word. Not sure if that makes sense, but that's the best way I can explain it. It was interesting for what it was, but I feel you need to be very careful when making up a fictional story about real people in the Bible so as not to warp the reader's view. Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers