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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. Abra 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. Bestselling author Orson Scott Card uses his fertile imagination, and uncanny insight into human nature, to tell the story of a unique woman--one who is beautiful, tough, smart, and resourceful in an era when women had little power, and are scarce in the historical record. Sarah, child of the desert, wife of Abraham, takes on vivid reality as a woman desirable to kings, a devoted wife, and a faithful follower of the God of Abraham, chosen to experience an incomparable miracle.


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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. Abra 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. Bestselling author Orson Scott Card uses his fertile imagination, and uncanny insight into human nature, to tell the story of a unique woman--one who is beautiful, tough, smart, and resourceful in an era when women had little power, and are scarce in the historical record. Sarah, child of the desert, wife of Abraham, takes on vivid reality as a woman desirable to kings, a devoted wife, and a faithful follower of the God of Abraham, chosen to experience an incomparable miracle.

30 review for Sarah

  1. 5 out of 5

    Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)

    For being such a nonbelieving atheist-pants, I can get into a Biblical yarn like nobody's business. Whether you believe the tales in the Bible hold any shred of truth or are pure imagination, there's no denying that they have had a mighty influence on Western culture, and I am nothing if not a product of my awesome, cheeseburger-eating, fossil-fuel-burning, Bible-thumping culture. Even if I am a godless heathen. Being that I am a) a big fan of Biblical fiction and b) objective enough about the Bi For being such a nonbelieving atheist-pants, I can get into a Biblical yarn like nobody's business. Whether you believe the tales in the Bible hold any shred of truth or are pure imagination, there's no denying that they have had a mighty influence on Western culture, and I am nothing if not a product of my awesome, cheeseburger-eating, fossil-fuel-burning, Bible-thumping culture. Even if I am a godless heathen. Being that I am a) a big fan of Biblical fiction and b) objective enough about the Bible to take it as fair game for fictionalizing to the content of any author's heart, I feel I am an especially credible reviewer of such novels. I will take no offense at, say, scenes of Jacob-turned-Israel fondling his nether shepherd's staff, as happens in Anita Diamant's masterful Bible-based novel The Red Tent. Depictions of Biblical characters as real, fallible human beings faze me not one tiny iota, and I am far more concerned with an author's craft -- narrative, prose, character, dialogue, plot -- than with adherence to the Biblical source. Therefore, if The Lavender gives a Biblical novel a five-star review, you can be assured that you will find between its covers a genuinely enjoyable reading experience, judged in terms of readability and craft, and not merely a kowtow to the Book of Genesis. That disclaimer aside, Card has done a remarkably good job of rendering the actual content in the Abraham/Sarah/Lot/Lot's Wife segment of Genesis into a very enjoyable historical novel. Par for the Card course (if you don't count his most recent books, anyway), the characterization is expertly crafted. The dialogue flows splendidly. And the plot never drags. This book should appeal to both the godless heathens who are just after an engaging ancient-history yarn and the fans of the Bible who want to see a faithful (pardon the pun) adaptation. Card does depart from Biblical record in one relatively minor way: SPOILER ALERT: Lot's wife, the eminently smack-able Qira, is destroyed in what appears to be an asteroid strike/fireballs from heaven when she turns back for Sodom, rather than being turned into the familiar pillar of salt. However, I actually liked that Card chose to use a more plausible means of ridding the world of Qira, and his explanation of how he came to that decision in the author's afterword is quite satisfying. Also satisfying to this non-believer is the way the Noah story is given roots in the Utnapishtim tale from the Epic of Gilgamesh, making Card's Sarah feel thoroughly based in the real world, where real cultures interact and influence one another, rather than a purely fantasy world where everything is exactly as it's depicted in the Bible. The Noah bit is more of a brief sideline, though, and it, too, should not be a big deterrent to readers who prefer their Bible fiction to be extra-Bibley. From a historical perspective, although I lack a great knowledge of ancient Hebrew herder culture, I am fairly well-versed in ancient Egyptian culture, and I was well pleased with the section of the novel spent in Pharaoh's Egypt. Card clearly did his book-learning and depicted Dynastic Egyptian culture -- and its contrast to herder Sarai's more conservative culture -- well. The characters are very well-drawn in this book, and the relationship between Sarai and Abram is wonderfully sweet and touching, particularly as they grow older. The decision to end the book at the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers was a good one -- it leaves the reader to imagine for herself how Sarah might have reacted to Abraham's return from his little father-son jaunt, especially if the convenient ram in the thicket hadn't shown up. Sarah's internal monologue of love and gratitude as she watches her husband and only child depart for their fateful journey is so much more poignant because Card deftly leaves the reader hanging on Sarah's plucked heartstring, picturing her heartbreak, her rage, or her joy and devotion when the whole morally questionable episode is concluded. All in all, this is a fun historical read with some images that will stick with the reader long after she's closed the book. I recommend it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    I chose this series of books wanting to learn more about the time period in which the women of the scriptures lived, and some insight into their lives. That said, I knew that due to the small amount of information we are given about these women in the Bible, the author's telling of the story would constitute his best guess into Sarah's personality, emotions and family life. Even though Sarah is one of the women of the scriptures we know the most about, we still know very little. Having that in m I chose this series of books wanting to learn more about the time period in which the women of the scriptures lived, and some insight into their lives. That said, I knew that due to the small amount of information we are given about these women in the Bible, the author's telling of the story would constitute his best guess into Sarah's personality, emotions and family life. Even though Sarah is one of the women of the scriptures we know the most about, we still know very little. Having that in mind, I was able to read the book and enjoy the story that was focused around events that we know happened in Sarah's life (her marriage to Abram, her barrenness, her stay in Egypt where she had to pretend to be Abram's sister, Hagar bearing a son for Abram, the birth of Isaac in her old age)including the fictional conversations, emotions and people that Card included. In the afterword, Card says this, "I did not whimsically discard anything from the story. Every important omission or change from the common interpretation was deliberate and took place only after great thought and serious attempts at research into what is known about the surrounding culture at the probably time of these events. So, if I have erred, it was in the attempt to approach the truth contained in the Bible, and never in disregard of it." He acknowledges the difficulty in writing a book like this, and I appreciate his explanation and really did enjoy the book. I look forward to reading the other two in the series to learn how the women's lives connect through the generations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    "She did not know what the future would bring, but because she was married to Abram, she knew that her life would matter, that the world would change and she would be a part of it." I don't think I would have ever read this book if it hadn't been a book club pick, and I am so glad that it was because I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was absolutely perfect and capture Sarah's voice so well. She really brought this book to life for me and made it a memorable exper "She did not know what the future would bring, but because she was married to Abram, she knew that her life would matter, that the world would change and she would be a part of it." I don't think I would have ever read this book if it hadn't been a book club pick, and I am so glad that it was because I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was absolutely perfect and capture Sarah's voice so well. She really brought this book to life for me and made it a memorable experience. I loved how Sarah and Abraham took on a new life and were not what I was expecting from the bible account. This managed to be inspiring and thoughtful without being overly religious or preachy. Card managed to make me think of Sarah and Abraham in a whole new light. I am a religious person so I'm familiar with their story yet I was surprised by how Card managed to interpret it in a different way. He mentions in the afterward his research, and I have no doubt that he captured what life was like for Sarah. I know this is fiction and what was portrayed in the book is probably not exactly what happened, but what I did appreciate was being forced to see the prophet and his wife as real people. They had faults and doubts, made mistakes and life was hard. Sarah's struggles were especially moving as was her relationship with Abraham. I like to think they did in fact share a great love like Card showed in this book. This book really impressed me and made me think about a lot of things in my own life. I'm equally impressed with Card for being able to write such a different book from his most well-known book, Ender's Game. I wasn't expecting the amount of depth he managed to give Sarah, and was surprised that her emotions and fears were so genuine. Just a really great book overall.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I have mixed feelings on this book. I didn't love the writing, and some things really bothered me. Because I hold The Bible close to my heart, it was kind of hard for me to read someone else's interpretation of how it may have been- I didn't always agree with his explanations or interpretations of characters. I think he made the "good" people (Sarah, Abraham, Lot) almost TOO good and the "bad" people (Quira, Hagar) too self-absorbed and obviously wrong. I felt that some of characters were just t I have mixed feelings on this book. I didn't love the writing, and some things really bothered me. Because I hold The Bible close to my heart, it was kind of hard for me to read someone else's interpretation of how it may have been- I didn't always agree with his explanations or interpretations of characters. I think he made the "good" people (Sarah, Abraham, Lot) almost TOO good and the "bad" people (Quira, Hagar) too self-absorbed and obviously wrong. I felt that some of characters were just too one-dimensional. But I do respect the license to interpret things however he chooses. And, overall, I felt that he was able to capture the time period and help the reader feel a part of it. It was interesting and has changed the way I'll read and understand Sarah's story in the Bible. I'm glad I read it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah Polcar

    When I was looking at the reviews, I was looking for something that would let me know if this was enjoyable to non-Christians (or despite that it is a Christian/Jewish story). I could only find one review on that issue and that was by someone who claimed to read a lot of fictionalized biblical literature and compared Sarah to that, but since I don't read almost any Christian fiction, I was still hesitant going in. My problem was not the religious element per se, but that it seems to me much Chri When I was looking at the reviews, I was looking for something that would let me know if this was enjoyable to non-Christians (or despite that it is a Christian/Jewish story). I could only find one review on that issue and that was by someone who claimed to read a lot of fictionalized biblical literature and compared Sarah to that, but since I don't read almost any Christian fiction, I was still hesitant going in. My problem was not the religious element per se, but that it seems to me much Christian fiction is horribly written, but since it spreads the word of God/Christ, still gets great reviews (e.g., the Left Behind series). However, I was pleasantly surprised by Sarah. This is not a great work of literature, but it is a good story. I was curious about the characters and what was going to happen to them. I thought the book seemed well-researched and the portrayal of what daily life was like at the time was fascinating. I would strongly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the Bible and the stories it contains. If you are completely against anything biblical, don't waste your time with this read. You'll just get angry and the book isn't meant for you; without the biblical context -- so treating it only as a novel -- it's premise is unrealistic and the characterization thin. However, in the context in which it is meant to be read -- as a fictionalized development of a biblical story -- it is good. Do be warned that it is a Bible story, so you aren't going to get a new perspective on God or spirituality, but the way God is handled in Sarah is completely consistent with Christianity and does give one a lot to think about in terms of what God's will would mean for His people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amidey

    I really enjoy Orson Scott Card as an author. He really makes his characters come to life. I am a little frustrated with mixing the fiction aspect with scripture. I feel almost guilty for assuming these people were this way just because he says so, on the other hand he makes them into real people that I can relate to and I find myself thinking how I would handle the situations they were placed in. A little tougher to read than some other books I have read but well worth it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I really liked the idea of what Card was trying to do with this novel: to take the very limited view of what happened to one of the women of the old testament and flesh it out into an interesting story. And he was successful, by and large. The story was quite interesting, and Card's admitted literary license fleshed out Sarah and her family to a certain extent. But there are a couple of reasons I didn't enjoy this story as much as I hoped I would. For starters, the characters, while fleshed out, I really liked the idea of what Card was trying to do with this novel: to take the very limited view of what happened to one of the women of the old testament and flesh it out into an interesting story. And he was successful, by and large. The story was quite interesting, and Card's admitted literary license fleshed out Sarah and her family to a certain extent. But there are a couple of reasons I didn't enjoy this story as much as I hoped I would. For starters, the characters, while fleshed out, seemed a little one-dimensional. I suppose that is what happens when you tell a story from the point of view of a single character...the reader sees what the character sees, whether or not it's the complete story. But the "fleshed out" characters in this arc seemed to be lacking in any real arc that made them grow or change. The characters were, essentially, the exact same people at the end of the book as they were at the beginning, and all that changed was their situation. Secondly, this is a personal preference, but Card made the choice to write in a voice that is a little affected--rather like the language of the King James version of the Bible itself. As a reader, I read books like this to make the stories and characters of the Bible more relatable. Instead, this tone seemed to distance the characters from me as a reader. As I mentioned previously, this is personal preference, but it was disappointing to me. As it is, I found this novel interesting enough that I will likely read the remaining novels in the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Mixed feelings. It was good enough I will probably read the rest of the Women of Genesis series. I loved how strong Sarah was and how she was portrayed in a multi-faceted way. Strong, but still always doubting herself, her own faith, God. She didn't just stay one way and always stay strong. She had her strong days and her doubting days, like so many of us humans. I also loved that Abraham also struggled and had conflicting feelings and was sometimes humbled. He was a good man and a great prophet Mixed feelings. It was good enough I will probably read the rest of the Women of Genesis series. I loved how strong Sarah was and how she was portrayed in a multi-faceted way. Strong, but still always doubting herself, her own faith, God. She didn't just stay one way and always stay strong. She had her strong days and her doubting days, like so many of us humans. I also loved that Abraham also struggled and had conflicting feelings and was sometimes humbled. He was a good man and a great prophet and I think it helps me to know that even prophets are human. However, I also felt that the characters, Sarah especially, acted and spoke in too modern a frame of mind. Too liberated. Honestly, though, who am I to know how women thought and acted then - it's just my own prejudices and assumptions. I could be wrong. Thus, the mixed feelings.

  9. 4 out of 5

    T.W. Fendley

    I was familiar with this Old Testament story, but Orson Scott Card does a nice job of making the events come to life. As he explains in the epilogue, he includes a lot of historical information from other sources, which gives it an authentic feel. Of course, the story ends at a pivotal moment, foreshadowing the next book in the series, Rebecca (Isaac's wife). To be fair, I didn't find this as enthralling as Anita Diamant's recasting of another Old Testament tale in The Red Tent, but perhaps that I was familiar with this Old Testament story, but Orson Scott Card does a nice job of making the events come to life. As he explains in the epilogue, he includes a lot of historical information from other sources, which gives it an authentic feel. Of course, the story ends at a pivotal moment, foreshadowing the next book in the series, Rebecca (Isaac's wife). To be fair, I didn't find this as enthralling as Anita Diamant's recasting of another Old Testament tale in The Red Tent, but perhaps that's partially because her story was my first encounter with the culture. BTW, I listened to the audiobook and it was easy to follow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really liked this book--it's similar to "The Red Tent," except not quite so harsh. The story is absorbing, and while it's obvious that Card takes some pretty big liberties, I thought it was for the most part quite believable. It's always uncomfortable for me to see revered figures such as Sarah and Abraham humanized, with less than admirable thoughts and feelings. And I don't agree with his portrayals completely, but he does make you stop and think about what these people really went through-a I really liked this book--it's similar to "The Red Tent," except not quite so harsh. The story is absorbing, and while it's obvious that Card takes some pretty big liberties, I thought it was for the most part quite believable. It's always uncomfortable for me to see revered figures such as Sarah and Abraham humanized, with less than admirable thoughts and feelings. And I don't agree with his portrayals completely, but he does make you stop and think about what these people really went through-and how they were refined in the process.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I loved this book. It got a little slow in the middle because I knew the story, but I really enjoyed how it brought the characters to life. It is one thing to read the Bible and learn doctrine, but it is another to realize that these people had lives. They had to deal with such different issues with regards to their faith and every-day life. It was interesting to think about. It makes me want to re-read the story in the Bible...I think I will right now! See ya!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    Abraham and Sarah are presented as heroes who can do no wrong in this book, but I think that the Biblical account shows them both as deeply flawed people, prone to mistakes and bad decisions. It would have been a more interesting book to me if it had treated them as complex humans instead of mythical righteous beings.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan MacFarlane

    I rate this book 3 stars. It was an interesting point of view about the Avraham Genesis account, as well as understanding it from a Mormon perspective. However, I feel that Card took more than a few creative liberties. The total piousy of Avraham and Sara annoyed me somewhat, I must admit. (An extreme example was when God told Avraham to lie to Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister. In the Bible, it seems to be more of Avraham's fear and weakness, as the scriptures seem to hint.) A major problem I I rate this book 3 stars. It was an interesting point of view about the Avraham Genesis account, as well as understanding it from a Mormon perspective. However, I feel that Card took more than a few creative liberties. The total piousy of Avraham and Sara annoyed me somewhat, I must admit. (An extreme example was when God told Avraham to lie to Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister. In the Bible, it seems to be more of Avraham's fear and weakness, as the scriptures seem to hint.) A major problem I had was the way the characters thought. It was too modern and heavily Greek oriented. I understand that Card needed to use it to address modern questions. However, it just seemed out of place.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Prolific Science Fiction/Fantasy author puts his pen to the service of narratin the lives of the Hebrew Matriarchs in The Women of Genesis series. Here Card beautifully and sensitively narrates the story Sarah, filling in the gaps with consumate and imaginative skill. Unlike some novels, such as Sarah by Marek Halter and The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, where the women are portayed as worshiping idols and other gods, Sarah is shown as a strong women, devoted to the service of Yahweh since she was Prolific Science Fiction/Fantasy author puts his pen to the service of narratin the lives of the Hebrew Matriarchs in The Women of Genesis series. Here Card beautifully and sensitively narrates the story Sarah, filling in the gaps with consumate and imaginative skill. Unlike some novels, such as Sarah by Marek Halter and The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, where the women are portayed as worshiping idols and other gods, Sarah is shown as a strong women, devoted to the service of Yahweh since she was little, as are the other matriarchs in the Women of Genesis series. In this account, Sarai was ten years old, a bright and inquisitive child, when she first met the desert nomad and priest of Yaweh, Abram, who had come to her house to negotiate the marriage of his cousin Lot to the to Sarai's wilful and selfish sister, Qira. Abram captures little Sarai's heart, and and seals her destiny by promising that he will come back and marry her, within ten years. Sarai, a princes of the Royal House of Ur, is promised by her father as a priestes to Asherah, but renounces this future, and instead devotes her herself to the worship of the one living G-D Yahweh. Her prayers are answered soon after she prays for Abram to be spared by the vengeance of an Egyptian official, Suwertu-an earthquake shakes Ur and Suwertu is killed. Abram and Sarai are married in a union of love and faith, joining the Royal House of Ur to the high priesthood of the Hebrew Nation. The epic of love, faith and peril follows from Haran to Canaan to Egypt and back to Canaan, where Abram and his tribe settle in Hebron. Card gives us an interesting perspective on Sarai and Abram's experiences in Egypt where she is passed off as Abram's sister, rather than his wife. Sarai's great kindnes to her handmaiden who she is given in Egypt, the Arab slave-girl Hagar. The wickedness of Sarai's sister and Lot's wife Qira and the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah, and Qira's death there- only Lot and two of his daughters survive. Finally Hagar's birth of Ishmail and Hagar's newfound spite against Sarah. The miraculous birth in Sarah's old age of Isaac (after G-D's promise), and the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmail from Abraham's household after Ishmail's brutality to the little Isaac. The narrative is told with sensitivity and prose. The slight deviations from the Biblical account do not in any way take away from the spirit of the Biblical narrative. I actually preferred the idea of Qira being killed by the flames and lava, rather than being literally turned into a pillar of salt. The author's Biblical understanding is supplemented by his comprehensive study of Canaan, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East. What results is a living saga of love, courage and everlasting faith.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeanna

    First off, if you don't like Orson Scott Card, don't read it. Also, if you don't like the idea of taking biblical figures and making up possible stories surrounding them, don't read it. That said, I really enjoyed this book. I always feel like Card is a master at looking into the internal logic of his characters and showing why their behavior makes sense to them even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else. And what a valuable skill! I wish that we could all develop some of that in real life. Any First off, if you don't like Orson Scott Card, don't read it. Also, if you don't like the idea of taking biblical figures and making up possible stories surrounding them, don't read it. That said, I really enjoyed this book. I always feel like Card is a master at looking into the internal logic of his characters and showing why their behavior makes sense to them even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else. And what a valuable skill! I wish that we could all develop some of that in real life. Anyway, I enjoyed reading Card's concept of what might have happened to fill in the very minimal story we get from the Bible. Of course I don't take it as gospel truth, but it's a great read. Plus, I think it makes Sarah and Abraham seem more like real people. Yes, this is fiction, but just the idea that their fictional characters feel so believable makes their real life versions seem a little more understandable and approachable too. If that makes any sense. Also, after reading it, I wanted to go back and read the actual Genesis accounts. So that was good too. One thing about Card, though: He's impressively sure of himself sometimes. Reading his afterword was hilarious because he was just so sure about his analysis of the geography and time periods he talks about. It's something I love-hate about him, and something that is downright hilarious sometimes. If you ever get to hear him lecture, do it. It's just a hoot to hear him be sure he's so right all the time. Of course, I don't particularly envy his friends and family. It's funny from a distance but possibly really annoying up close. :) Rating: PG-13. It is, after all, biblical stuff. See also my reviews of Rebekah and Rachel & Leah.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shanee VonStrahl

    I have great admiration for the thoroughness of Card's research and for the wisdom of the decisions he makes for these novels when faced with contradictory historical information. I enjoyed reading his "afterword," where he talks about his research and his decisions for the novel, almost as much as I enjoyed reading the novel. Some people are offended with the concept of revered Biblical characters being "fictionalized." It doesn't bother me. I find it thought-provoking, and I feel like I am abl I have great admiration for the thoroughness of Card's research and for the wisdom of the decisions he makes for these novels when faced with contradictory historical information. I enjoyed reading his "afterword," where he talks about his research and his decisions for the novel, almost as much as I enjoyed reading the novel. Some people are offended with the concept of revered Biblical characters being "fictionalized." It doesn't bother me. I find it thought-provoking, and I feel like I am able to keep clear in my mind what is scripturally-based "fact," and what isn't. I value the thoroughness of the portrayal of the characters, settings, and events based on information that is not limited to the Bible, but a wealth of other credible sources. I did not enjoy this book, as much as I enjoyed Rebekah. I think this is mainly because I struggled to feel a connection with Sarah, as her character was portrayed in the book. But I don't blame it so much on bad writing, as I do on the author's insistence on portraying her and her life based on the factual evidence of her and her life. I gave the book 3 stars with this logic. In my mind, it was a 4-star book based upon it's educational value, a 2-star book based upon it's entertainment or satisfaction-level value.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    This book was really enjoyable. I loved the characters and especially loved the way that Card wrote Sarah. I felt he did an amazing job describing what she felt in regard to Hagar. It's a topic that rarely are writers (especially men) very good at addressing and I truly was happy with how he wrote her. However, I gave this one only 3 stars because I wished that he would have delved a little deeper in the relationship between Sarah and Abraham. Maybe this is because I read Rebekah first and loved This book was really enjoyable. I loved the characters and especially loved the way that Card wrote Sarah. I felt he did an amazing job describing what she felt in regard to Hagar. It's a topic that rarely are writers (especially men) very good at addressing and I truly was happy with how he wrote her. However, I gave this one only 3 stars because I wished that he would have delved a little deeper in the relationship between Sarah and Abraham. Maybe this is because I read Rebekah first and loved how Rebekah and Isaac's relationship was written. You could definitely feel that Abraham and Sarah loved each other and were committed to each other but I don't think that Card gave enough of a foundation for that love. He seemed to just glance over it accepting that the reader would already know they deeply loved each other. And while, yes, I do know that, considering this is a story of their lives together I wished the building of their love would have had a more central part. All in all I really enjoyed it. A loving quick read that sparked a desire to read again the Bible accounts.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Where do I start with all the things I did NOT like about this book? First off - I don't care what people say, Orson Scott Card writes like a "Junior High" novelist. You know, all the books you had to read in jr. high? That's about the caliber of his writing. I'm sure his science fiction stuff is better, and he can weave an interesting plot, but his actual writing skills are pretty amateur. He uses the same descriptive words over and over, and tries so hard to describe whatever it is, that it co Where do I start with all the things I did NOT like about this book? First off - I don't care what people say, Orson Scott Card writes like a "Junior High" novelist. You know, all the books you had to read in jr. high? That's about the caliber of his writing. I'm sure his science fiction stuff is better, and he can weave an interesting plot, but his actual writing skills are pretty amateur. He uses the same descriptive words over and over, and tries so hard to describe whatever it is, that it comes across as weak. The plot of this book was somewhat interesting, but he took so many literary liberties that it was beneficial to fallow along in Genesis so you actually knew what he was talking about. He introduced main characters that hugely influenced the plot, but are not in the scriptures. Don't tell me this is a historical fiction when it is SO far off base, its astounding. Also, even though this book is about "Sarah"...I found her to be the most uninteresting, predictable character in the whole book! He should have called the book "Hagar" for she was much more interesting and well developed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Breanne

    I don't mean to sound harsh in my critique but this book left me wanting in many ways. I read the author's explainations for his rendering of the biblical Sarah, and agree that he was justified in his plot lines. In fact, the plot is not really what is wanting but rather it feels like he tried so hard to make her a believable woman, and identifiable with all women, that he forgot to make her wonderful. She has very ordinary processes of thought, sub-par persuasion, and in matters of Godly worth I don't mean to sound harsh in my critique but this book left me wanting in many ways. I read the author's explainations for his rendering of the biblical Sarah, and agree that he was justified in his plot lines. In fact, the plot is not really what is wanting but rather it feels like he tried so hard to make her a believable woman, and identifiable with all women, that he forgot to make her wonderful. She has very ordinary processes of thought, sub-par persuasion, and in matters of Godly worth and wisdom she comes across as fairly idiotic. On a personal note, I detest bad dialogue and the dialogue in this book is pretty terrible. I expected more from the acclaimed author of Ender's Game. With that out of the way, I was pretty wrapped up in this book for a few days and my thoughts still linger on the setting. Sarah is and always has been a beautiful woman of countless virtues in my mind and I really appreciated having a painted environment to see her in. I look forward to enjoying the collection of the Women of Genesis as told by Orson Scott Card...just with anticipations more in tolerance with badly written dialogue.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I love Orson Scott Card, but I think the constraints of working within a historical storyline hindered him from doing his best work. Some sections of this shine, and I especially liked some of his comments in the afterword. To quote: "…in an era when women did not show up much in historical records. It’s one of the things that’s so remarkable about the book of Genesis. There aren’t many other writings from that period that give women so much stage time as the chapters about Abraham, Isaac, and J I love Orson Scott Card, but I think the constraints of working within a historical storyline hindered him from doing his best work. Some sections of this shine, and I especially liked some of his comments in the afterword. To quote: "…in an era when women did not show up much in historical records. It’s one of the things that’s so remarkable about the book of Genesis. There aren’t many other writings from that period that give women so much stage time as the chapters about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of course, the whole of Israelite scripture has this remarkable trait—Eve, Deborah, Jael, Naomi, Ruth, Esther, Bathsheba, Abigail, Tamar, and even Shiphrah and Puah—the Hebrew scriptures are, by the standards of the day, practically bursting with women, named women, who are often the heroes of the story. The writers of the old Testament took women very seriously." Great comments!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    I don't typically read fictional books based on biblical accounts because as someone who has spent years reading and studying scripture I find such books annoyingly inaccurate, if not downright blasphemous; for me there's something distasteful about sacred writing being used as fodder for someone's imagination. So it's only fair to say that if this had not been a selection for one of my book groups I'd probably never have picked it up. Having said that, I did think Card did a decent job of explai I don't typically read fictional books based on biblical accounts because as someone who has spent years reading and studying scripture I find such books annoyingly inaccurate, if not downright blasphemous; for me there's something distasteful about sacred writing being used as fodder for someone's imagination. So it's only fair to say that if this had not been a selection for one of my book groups I'd probably never have picked it up. Having said that, I did think Card did a decent job of explaining some of the Abraham/Sarah story in an interesting, thought-provoking way. However that couldn't balance out the less-than-good aspects of the book: the characters were one-dimensional and overly melodramatic, and the dialogue was sometimes grimace worthy, trite and much too modern to be believable. Mildly interesting take but not enough to recommend. 2.5 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    Because this is the story of one of my favorite heroines I feel like I should give this a better rating, but a 3 star "liked it" is the best I can do. It is well researched and interesting, but not entertaining. I didn't love the writing, in part because the dialog is, well...lacking, as is the one-dimensional character development. Somehow these wonderful characters were not "fleshed out." I feel he did a better job with Rebekah. I very much enjoyed reading his "afterword." Favorite quotes: “Fai Because this is the story of one of my favorite heroines I feel like I should give this a better rating, but a 3 star "liked it" is the best I can do. It is well researched and interesting, but not entertaining. I didn't love the writing, in part because the dialog is, well...lacking, as is the one-dimensional character development. Somehow these wonderful characters were not "fleshed out." I feel he did a better job with Rebekah. I very much enjoyed reading his "afterword." Favorite quotes: “Faith doesn't mean you never doubt. It only means you never act upon your doubts.” “Sometimes happiness consists of finding the right balance of misery.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I have read the author's science fiction books, and did not really like them. Granted, science fiction is not my favorite genre. I have often felt that the Bible (strictly speaking about it as a historical work, not denying the spiritual value) was fairly male-centric. There are some great women in the Bible and I would like to know them better. Even as a fictional account (and we must never confuse fiction with reality) this story was well researched and very interesting.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I actually liked this book better than I thought I would while I was reading the first chapters. It just got more and more engaging. I'm fascinated that Orson Scott Card did so much historical research on the book. Of course I have different opinions on how the story could have gone down, but this was an interesting perspective.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    {Feb. 2017 book group selection} Very interesting novel told from the perspective of Abraham's wife, Sarah. Using what little we know of her from the Bible as well as various historical sources, Orson Scott Card has created a touching and thought-provoking story of someone I think most women can admire for her strengths but also relate to because of her struggles. As usual when I read these types of books, my interest has been piqued to go back and reread the sections covered in the Bible to see {Feb. 2017 book group selection} Very interesting novel told from the perspective of Abraham's wife, Sarah. Using what little we know of her from the Bible as well as various historical sources, Orson Scott Card has created a touching and thought-provoking story of someone I think most women can admire for her strengths but also relate to because of her struggles. As usual when I read these types of books, my interest has been piqued to go back and reread the sections covered in the Bible to see what is part of scripture and what is the author's creation. Making Lot and his family part of the story was an interesting addition to me since I didn't remember that Lot and Abraham were closely related. My favorite thing about this type of book is that it helps me integrate the big picture of what was going on during a certain time in history (the geography, customs, political climate, important historical figures, etc.) with the way relationships may have played out during that period and under those circumstances. This big picture integration is something I don't do very well on my own but love to read about because it helps broaden my perspective and understand history and the world I live in a little better.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chalay Cragun

    This book was definitely different than anything I've read before. The fact that it was technically a historical fiction from so long ago was a weird thing to wrap my head around. I had a hard time not getting to cynical about whether or not things really would have been the way Orson Scott Card wrote them. That being said if you go in thinking that it is a work of fiction and no one knew exactly how conversations would go or if they would live exactly the way that was imagined then it was a goo This book was definitely different than anything I've read before. The fact that it was technically a historical fiction from so long ago was a weird thing to wrap my head around. I had a hard time not getting to cynical about whether or not things really would have been the way Orson Scott Card wrote them. That being said if you go in thinking that it is a work of fiction and no one knew exactly how conversations would go or if they would live exactly the way that was imagined then it was a good read. I do love that it was the perspective of Sarah since we don't hear from women in the Bible too frequently. It definitely was an interesting concept and I would recommend it to many people I know. I will admit though I did end up reading Genesis to refresh what we really know about Abraham and Sarah after finishing the book to compare it to what was added. I do believe that Orson Scott Card did a good job with what we were given in the scriptures. I also thought the afterward by the author really added to the book and made it go from 3 stars to 4 for me. It provided a lot of insight as to why he went with certain things.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Orson Scott Card usually writes science-fiction. As requested by a friend, we have SARAH. Based upon the story in the King James version of the Bible, Mr. Card writes of Sarai from the time she is 10 until her last days--how her name was changed to Sarah, and Abram's name changed to Abraham. In Mr. Card's own words, "All I've written here is a novel, one view of how things might have happened, and what kind of people they might have happened to. A very interesting story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leya Ruth

    Orson Scott Card is a Mormon author. Anyone reading his books needs to know this first and foremost. Many of his novels all center on his theological background and beliefs (Mithermages, Alvin Maker, Homecoming). The only books he does really well with keeping that out of the story is the Enders Game books, and then only Enders Game in reality. That being said, this book is his approach to the Old Testament stories of Sarah and Abraham. Like other reviewers stated, the writing is rather juvenile Orson Scott Card is a Mormon author. Anyone reading his books needs to know this first and foremost. Many of his novels all center on his theological background and beliefs (Mithermages, Alvin Maker, Homecoming). The only books he does really well with keeping that out of the story is the Enders Game books, and then only Enders Game in reality. That being said, this book is his approach to the Old Testament stories of Sarah and Abraham. Like other reviewers stated, the writing is rather juvenile, but it is an easy read. I would classify it more as Young Adult than anything else. Again, be aware that his approach to this story will be from a Christian and especially Mormon belief structure. His emphasis on the "son redeeming the father, vs father redeeming the son" is purely Christian and Mormon. Judaism and the Old Testament don't really get into that, that is something that is read into them later by Christian theologians. So if you are a bible purist, this may offend or discomfit you. Second, he slides in a few references to Mormon theology as well. For example, there's mention of the sun being a star, with stars being subservient to other stars, going all the way up to the final star that rules them all. This is clearly Mormon theology, not Jewish or Christian. I find it highly amusing that "atheist" readers read this book and then criticize it for being a very personal theological book. The author is a Mormon. He is going to approach these Bible stories with his own preconceptions and beliefs in place. That affects how he will write them. He may be using these books to "spread the word" of his own belief structure. If you don't believe in G-d, don't read historical fiction about the Bible. If you want a historical account of the Bible, there are plenty of excellent non-fiction books out there that will accomplish that. If you are a person of faith, you may or may not like these books. Again, he puts his own perspective into them. I actually enjoyed that he took liberties with the stories. If you've read the scripture (especially the direct Hebrew to English translations), you don't really need to rehash the same story again. What we read this book for is to get the little details, the day to day, and the internal dialogues these characters are having. I think his writing is rather juvenile, but it works. If you are a modern feminist, you probably won't like this book. You'd probably prefer the Red Tent in that case since it seems to be written in a more feminist mindset. Yes, Sarah is a very thoughtful and outspoken woman. But she is also a very obedient and subservient woman. This is how the women in the Genesis stories are often portrayed. As such, I'm not surprised he wrote her that way. I'm not a huge fan of his portrayal of women in this story (as other reviewers have mentioned), but again, I feel it stems from his Mormon background and beliefs. If we were reading a book written by an Orthodox Jewish author, or traditional Muslim author, or a traditional Christian author, they'd all probably have very similar portrayals of women. It is their belief and that is how they will write. I've read ALOT of OSC's books. Some are good, some are great, some are blah. This one is meh. If you like this type of book, The Red Tent is by far a better one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peggy A. Miller

    So very well-written. This author does an amazing job of making the characters come alive and the story is wonderful. This is one of those characters whose story you wish could just go on and on. Mr. Card is truly gifted. I have read about Sarah in the Bible all of my life but she really comes alive in this book. All of the characters have been developed so richly. We don't know exactly what happened and have only old accounts written and re-written, but he writes in such a way that believably f So very well-written. This author does an amazing job of making the characters come alive and the story is wonderful. This is one of those characters whose story you wish could just go on and on. Mr. Card is truly gifted. I have read about Sarah in the Bible all of my life but she really comes alive in this book. All of the characters have been developed so richly. We don't know exactly what happened and have only old accounts written and re-written, but he writes in such a way that believably fills in the gaps. Even if you don't believe it, it is a wonderfully written story. What is really important is to see the heart of these women and how their faith is the one thing that carries them through their good and bad times.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindi

    I am making the assumption here that the author did plenty of research for this book and so I'm considering the historical comments to be correct or close to correct. I REALLY like this book so far. I like the characters that Card is presenting in the books. It makes sense with what I remember of the biblical story (though I'm sure I'll reread that and consider some more). Right in the middle, I was slightly bothered by some psychology (I'm not sure what to call it) in a discussion between Abram I am making the assumption here that the author did plenty of research for this book and so I'm considering the historical comments to be correct or close to correct. I REALLY like this book so far. I like the characters that Card is presenting in the books. It makes sense with what I remember of the biblical story (though I'm sure I'll reread that and consider some more). Right in the middle, I was slightly bothered by some psychology (I'm not sure what to call it) in a discussion between Abram and Sarai about her sister's actions. Update: Finished late last night. The part of the book where Sarai decided to give Hagar to Abram was heart wrenching. I don't know how those women did that! Card does an amazing job of getting into the emotions. His wife must be a major collaborator! Something I didn't like about the book was the talk about breasts. It didn't bother me too much, but it didn't seem necessary to keep bringing it up. There were some statements about faith and God and love that I really liked (too bad I didn't take notes on those). I also really enjoyed the author's note at the end of the book. I think the author made a careful study and was thoughtful about what he included in the book, but was humble enough to say that if he's wrong, that's o.k. Admitting that he could be wrong requires the reader to not hold on too tightly to the story and allows for other interpretations. And, as an afterthought, I need to add that the part about the men in Sodom was quite unpleasant, but I guess considering it was Sodom, it would be.

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