From School Library Journal
Grade 8-10-Judith is the headstrong daughter of one of King Solomon's priests. She is unhappy with the life that Yahweh, the God of her people, offers women. She and Tamar, her slave and best friend, sneak out at night to worship the Goddess, for which they could be killed. They participate in a fertility ritual in which each girl has sexual intercourse, Judith for the first time, and with someone she loves. Her cousin, Samuel, is a priest who also appreciates the Goddess. He is worried about the future of his people, and believes the only way to unite them is to write down the ancient stories, the words of Yahweh. Judith is the best storyteller, but because she is a woman, the credit must be given to Samuel. Judith decides that she will not betray the Goddess by writing only men's stories, but she will also write of women's strength and courage, and increase their role in religion and society. This original and exciting historical novel delves into the issue of who wrote the Bible and of the rights of women in the ancient religion of the Hebrews. In an author's note, Pfitsch explains that this book is a work of fiction derived from theories, facts, and her own speculation. Judith and Tamar are strong female characters, feminists fighting for rights that may be historically out of place but are integrated well into the story. Although some dialogue is forced and embedded with background information, the exciting plot and romantic love story keep the pages turning.
Elisabeth Palmer Abarbanel, Brentwood School, Los Angeles
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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