There was quite a division in the response to this book by Francine Rivers. It was made up of a series of five portraits of women featured in the lineage of Jesus, as it appears in St. Matthew's gospel. Some of the women, featured, such as Ruth have quite a lot of detail given about them in the Bible and others of them have just a verse or two. Some of us felt that too many modern attitudes to patriarchy, marriage and family were imposed on characters whose take on life would have been very different to ours. Others enjoyed the imagination that developed the tales of these women.
The book was written by someone who took at face value the information given in the Old Testament, and this came through and did not sit happily with those of us who liked to approach the stories as more mythic or legendary in nature. Read as historical novelettes, some found them enjoyable but felt they had little of spiritual value. One reader referred to the book as a 'woman's book', and, as a woman myself, I hope he had his tongue in his cheek when he said it!
We felt that the twist in the story of Bathsheba was the most problematic of the stories, and that the story of Ruth needed little modern addition to what was already written in the Bible. Not everyone had read all the stories, but we all, with some reservations, enjoyed some of them. It was easy to read, and attempted to give a wider understanding of the life and times of these women to the reader.
All in all, we shared a lively and stimulating discussion.