Captivating from the Very First Word

Bailey Welch

4.5 Stars

November 6, 2017

"Songs are written of sons, but daughters are left to whispers." Sometimes the first line of a novel grabs ahold of you and sets your imagination on fire. This line gave me chills. Captivating from the very first word, Isaiah's Daughter is an elegant unpacking of a less well-known Bible character. Ishma or Hephzibah is given such a human and enthralling tale that you can't help but love, rejoice, despair, hope, and grow right along with her. Getting to see across her entire life from the time she was five years old until she is at the later days of her life gives you such a wonderful example of how much life can change in only a few years. The terror and evil of King Ahaz's reign at the start of the book is chilling. You can't help but pray for the time when the characters are able to get out from under it. Then when Hezekiah is able to take the throne, you want to rejoice with them as they restore Judah to the one true God. Through all of their struggles, you get to see a shining example of what it means to need to put your trust and hope in the Lord regardless of the doubt and fear pressing down upon you. The characters give you a realistic example of how easy it is to question even when they lived at a time with prophecy surrounding them. The incorporation of prophecy was an interesting addition to the story. With the perspective we have in our current age of the meaning of some of those prophecies in relation to the coming of Jesus makes the characters' speculation on when the prophecies could come to pass all the more intriguing. The culture, political tension, idolatry, temple worship, royal customs, and attitudes of the time are done so well that you feel fully immersed in this ancient society. The ending of the book is beautiful and heartfelt. The joy coming from fully trusting God and seeing his promises come to pass is an exhilarating way to end the book. The biggest drawback to the book is the epilogue at the end. I don't think it needed to be there. I appreciate that when you read books like Judges and 1 & 2 Kings it reads like a yo-yo between the people of God turning back to God and then once again doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. But after reading a whole book where the characters were so human, relatable, and trying their hardest to restore Judah to the Lord, to read an epilogue where their son just goes and undoes everything they worked for is a big disappointment. I know that this is the truth of what actually happened. All I am saying is that for the book to be complete we didn't need an epilogue that was such a downer. You could have ended with the last line of the last chapter, and if people want to go and read more about what happened next they can reference the Bible themselves. As I said, I know that the books of the Bible read as sons not following the good examples of their fathers, but when you create a story such as this where your heart becomes so invested in the characters and how hard they have worked to achieve what they did, it turns the whole book into kind of a big letdown when you tack on a few lines at the end about the son undoing everything their parents worked so hard to achieve. The epilogue just wasn't necessary for the completion of the book. Setting that aside, this was a beautiful tale of life in Biblical times that really brought the people to life and pulled on your heartstrings. I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.