by Orson Scott Card
from the back cover
Sarai was a child of ten years, wise for her age but not yet a woman, when she first met Abram. He appeared before her in her father's house, filthy from the desert, tired and thirsty. But as the dirt of travel was washed from his body, the sight of him filled her heart. And when Abram promises Sarai to return in ten years to take her for his wife, her fate was sealed.
Abram kept his promise, and Sarai kept hers they were wed, and so joined the royal house of Ur with the high priesthood of the Hebrews. So began a lifetime of great joy together, and greater peril: and with the blessing of their God, a great nation would be built around the core of their love.
On the surface, this is a well-written work of fiction. Some creative liberties may have been taken where details were lost to history, but that is to be expected in this genre. It fleshes out otherwise two-dimensional characters. Another attribute: Sarah sucked me in immediately, and I fairly devoured this chunky little book.
And yet it left a bad taste in my mouth. Red flag number one appeared on the first page with mention of Sarai's red-gold hair--I'm willing to overlook the European cover art, but really? We're actually going to make Sarai caucasian? Whatever. I'll picture her how I want to. Moving on.
After Sarai marries Abram, we spend a long time in Egypt, which mostly consists of witty conversation (I love the dialogue in this book) and descriptions of the lack of dress in this region. Honestly, Orson Scott Card mentioned women's chests frequently enough throughout the book to make me squirm a little. Following this train of thought, apparently all women except for Sarai/Sarah are entirely and hopelessly vain.
Lot's wife, for example, is painted as so impossibly self-centered that I felt no pity when she turned back to Sodom. It was kind of a relief, really, to not have to read about her obnoxious character anymore. And Hagar, too, seemed to deserve being cast out into the desert. If this book is any indication, Orson Scott Card paints in two colors: black and white.