Tuesday, February 9, 2010

E is for Eve

For my fifth installment of The Alphabet in Historical Fiction which is hosted by the lovely ladies over at Historical Tapestry, I read Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott.

Here's the blurb of the book (taken from Amazon):
It is the world’s oldest tale: the story of Eve, her husband, Adam, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons…. In this luminous debut novel, Elissa Elliott puts a powerful twist on biblical narrative, boldly reimagining Eve’s journey. At once intimate and universal, timely and timeless, this unique work of fiction blends biblical tradition with recorded history and dazzling storytelling. And as it does, Eve comes to life in a way religion and myth have never allowed—in a novel that explores the very essence of love, motherhood, faith, and humanity.

In their world they are alone…a family haunted by banishment, struggling for survival in a harsh new land. A woman who has borne and buried children, Eve sees danger shadowing those she loves, while her husband drifts further and further from the man he was in the Garden, blinded by his need to rebuild a life outside of Eden. One daughter, alluring, self-absorbed Naava, turns away from their beliefs. Another, crippled, ever-faithful Aya, harbors a fateful secret, while brothers Cain and Abel become adversaries, and Dara, the youngest, is chosen for a fate of her own.

In one hot, violent summer, by the shores of the muddy Euphrates, strangers arrive on their land. New gods challenge their own. And for Eve, a time of reckoning is at hand. The woman who once tasted the forbidden fruit of paradise sees her family unraveling—as brother turns on brother, culminating in a confrontation that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve takes us on a breathtaking journey of the imagination. A novel that has it all—romantic love, lust, cruelty, heroism, envy, sacrifice, murder—Eve is a work of mesmerizing literary invention by a singular new voice in fiction.

If you search the reviews on Amazon about this book you'll find that it runs either hot or cold. Either you love it, or you dislike it, there's even one that calls this book blasphemous. And who can resist reading a book that is considered blasphemous? Ok, I'm making light of someone's opinion, but you're reading a fictionalized account of the first woman, and the main point is: it's fiction. There's no way for us to really know what happen then, but speculating cannot hurt any in my opinion.

It's not only Eve's voice in this narrative, you have the added perspective of her daughters. The beautiful Naava, the nurturing Aya and the inquisitive Dara. Each one of them brings light onto what actually triggered Cain and Abel's final fatal disagreement and how each of them were directly and indirectly involved in it.

I loved the way the author was able to bring out the characters emotions, the wonder, the confusion, the delight, the anger and the fear, were so believable and so tangible that it felt that I was right there experiencing them along with the women.

I found the novel very poetic and I'm seriously considering buying a copy for my shelves. I enjoyed it that much.

Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott (4.5/5) Historical Fiction: Biblical; Published: Delacorte Press (1/09); New Author; Year of the Historical (2); Alphabet Historical Challenge (5); Books 2010 (13);


Linda said...

I just finished it this morning. I enjoyed it too.

Rowenna said...

Sounds like an interesting read--I love that it takes the story out of the garden and into one of (what I think is) the most interesting Biblical stories--Cain and Abel. Thanks for posting, and for giving your insight on the book.

Muse in the Fog said...

Ooh, I forgot that the letter e is due soon! Glad you enjoyed the book so much :)

Cat said...

Great review - thank you. I'm adding this one to my list as it sounds my sort of reading.

Marg said...

I do enjoy biblical fiction. I might have to see if my library has it!