I am somewhat familiar with Mesu Andrews since I’ve read her book Love in a Broken Vessel. It was based on the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible. I wasn’t very impressed with it. However, I was blown away with In the Shadow of Jezebel. It was an incredible and extremely believable read. Mesu Andrews really truly revealed her skill in writing this novel.
At first I thought Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, actually had feelings for other people besides herself. However, she slowly reveals herself throughout the plot to be just as ruthless and unfeeling as her mother. The way Athaliah’s character was developed almost left me feeling sorry for her in the end. Almost.
Jehosheba (also called Sheba), Athaliah’s adopted daughter, was a sweet, sweet girl who was continually manipulated and mistreated by her mother. However, Jeosheba was always constant in her love for her mother, no matter what the evil-hearted woman did.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jehoiada, the high priest that Sheba was forced to marry to further both Athaliah and Jezebel’s control and manipulation over the kingdom. He was always loving and understanding toward his new wife, who had been denied the kind of love he showed her all of her life. Athaliah only chose to love Sheba when Sheba did what she wanted. Jehoiada loved Sheba no matter what, understanding that living with Athaliah as a mother had deeply scarred her.
Even the minor characters that were introduced into the story were very well developed. I was extremely impressed with all the author managed to accomplish within 400 some pages. I will say that the beginning of the book seemed just a little slow to me. But it was needed for the reader to understand the depths of Athaliah’s deception and heartlessness.
A few reviews I found said that it was hard to keep up with all of the names. For me, it wasn't. There are a lot of J names but it was easy to keep them straight once I knew who they were. Also, many characters were given shortened names. However, there is a reason for that. One that I found fascinating. There's a character list in the beginning of the book if you do get confused, though.
I can honestly say that In the Shadow of Jezebel is one of perhaps only five books in the last seventy I’ve read that was a can’t-put-it-down novel. I don’t come across many of them. It was intriguing, fascinating and at times downright amazing.
I give In the Shadow of Jezebel 41/2 out of 5 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from Revell publishers. The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. This review is my honest opinion of this book.