Review by LifeWay Fiction Buyer, Rachel McRae…
I just finished reading Love’s Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews and I’m utterly devastated. I now have to wait another year before I get a new novel from one of my favorite authors. This is Mesu’s second book and I can wholeheartedly say that there is no sophomore slump here.Here’s a glimpse into the story:
Standing the shadow of his famous father, young King Solomon wavers between fear and bravado, longing for a love that is true and pure – a love that can be his cornerstone.
A shepherdess in the northern city of Shunem, Arielah has known since she first laid eyes on Solomon that it was her destiny to become his bride. When her father secures a promise from Solomon to marry Arielah as a treaty bride to help unite the kingdom, it seems her dreams will come true.
But how can this simple shepherdess live as part of Solomon’s harem? Can Solomon set aside his distractions to give himself completely to just one woman? Or will he let duty, deception, and the daily routine divide his heart?
I am a pretty fast reader (which is a good trait for a book buyer since there is so much to read). However, I found myself slowly savoring each chapter of this book in order to make it last longer. There are some stories that are so lovely, so enrapturing that you just don’t want them to end. Love’s Sacred Song ended far too quickly for me.
Biblical fiction can be a tricky area for authors to venture off in. There is only so much we know about biblical characters or events. Authors have to fictionalize large portions of their story while maintaining the accuracy of the biblical account. Mesu has devoted herself to biblical study and she expertly weaves scripture throughout the novel. Each chapter in Love’s Sacred Song begins with the passage that the storyline will be centered on over the next few pages. It not only sets the atmosphere for what you’re about to read but it also gives you fascinating insights into scripture. She takes us through actual events in Solomon’s life as well as Jeshoshaphat, who is portrayed as Arielah’s father. You will also learn more about the customs and laws that were part of Israel’s fascinating history. For example, the whole concept of a harem. I knew that Solomon (as well as his father David before him) had several wives and concubines but I had no clue that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines by the end of his life. That’s a lot of women!
The novel is based on Scripture from several Old Testament books including Song of Solomon. I think I may have just heard a few of you gasp! Song of Solomon?! Yes! As the most romantic book in the Bible, Mesu takes verses and weaves them into the dialogue between Solomon and Arielah. It really makes the Scripture come alive as you read it as it was originally written, as a conversation between a man and a woman.
Despite the many wives in Solomon’s life, Arielah seeks to be the only woman who holds his heart. He can’t believe that she is asking him, the king, such an audacious request. How can he devote his life and his heart to one woman when there is so much riding on future marriages in order to keep peace throughout his kingdom? Marriages were more about political gain then the affairs of the heart. But there is something in this shepherdess from Shunem that sets Solomon off to dreaming of a life where his heart is devoted to just one woman, a woman who God has ordained to be his wife since before her birth.
Love’s Sacred Song is sure to engage any reader who has a fondness for rich historical novels that are told by an expert storyteller. I’m willing to venture a guess and say that you, too, will not want this story to end.