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"...so when you take my love out of your secret hiding place, my husband, my son, and look at it, you'll see that even though it's as small and dull as a pebble compared to the stars, I have polished my love so long and fervently, and you hold it now so close, that surely, surely it must shine." So Sarah speaks at the end of a life that Orson Scott Card has lovingly and carefully delineated. Yes, this is a tale of wisdom but one in which the reader can identify with the temptations, dreams, anxieties, passions, and faith formed over a lifetime shared with a man called to greatness by the Almighty One, God.
Set in the time of the great Pharaoh, this novel plays out in scinematic form the couple's deception to the divine ruler; the terrible, unyielding drought that scathingly destroys the foolish and brushes the devout within the lands of Egypt and Canaan; the unfolding destruction of Sodom, experienced by Sarah's self-centered sister, Qira, after years of increasing distance between the two siblings; and oh so much more.
How does a woman come to be trusted to carry the life of sacred lineage? Why must she wait through most of her adult life, only to be blessed with the promised pregnancy in years far too advanced for any normal child-bearing event? Is the broken vow of her youth responsible for her years of waiting with a barren womb? Is it okay for a women to rant and rage against the Almighty Lord who could take her life in a moment's breath? Can she inspire or destroy the faith of her kingly and priestly husband?
A natural storyteller, intriguing and enveloping the reader's deeper and deeper interest in every page, Card has created another awesome winner. This reviewer wants to bypass the author's focus on the "truth" of this story awaiting each reader. Why? As true as that statement may be, it simplifies the marvelous dignity and mystery of this Biblical women permeating this entire novel. I share the thoughts of another reviewer, who described how this story created a still point of peace in an increasingly turbulent world.
This is a must read for everyone who questions, probes, wrestles and rests with the sacred and profane aspects of the smaller and larger facets of life as it was intended to be!