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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Tomb: A Novel of Martha

I can honestly say without a doubt that Stephanie Landsem is one of the finest biblical fictional authors I've read to date. Her ability to take the well known Bible stories that are masked in so much unknown and breath such life into them, you'd swear that they were a part of the Bible. The elements that she utilizes to create the back story for such well loved characters in her previous novels in the Living Waters Series, such as "the thief on the cross," the Samaritan woman at the well," and now the beloved character so many women can relate to, Martha, the sister of Lazarus and Mary.

In her latest novel, The Tomb, is the third novel in the Living Water series. Trust me when I say, if you love those well known stories from the Bible, you will want to pick up this entire series. Before the story opens, the readers are in for an explanation by Stephanie Landsem about how these stories evolve and one I had never really considered, until I got the "A-ha" moment hit over my own head. In The Tomb: A Novel of Martha, is not her attempt to recount the historical events that took place in Bethany two thousand years ago. Instead, it is a re-imagining of how Martha, a woman who was "anxious and worried about many things," might have been transformed into the faith-filled woman of John 11:22, who said to Jesus - as her brother lay in his tomb - "Even know I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."

Another author Jill Eileen Smith, in her praise for the Tomb, captured the essence of this entire Living Water series when she adds, "Often when we read the biblical story, we don't stop to think about who these people were, what they thought, how they lived - especially when we are unfamiliar with the culture of the day. The Tomb gives us a rich glimpse into that culture and into the lives of these characters: their hopes, their joys, their fears. You will never see Martha quite the same way again."

That is precisely what the reader will glean from this inside look into what really made Martha, the beloved character from the Bible, the proverbial worrier, the woman who never stopped and was always busy working hard to make sure everything was perfect, couldn't see where all her efforts were truly going. I had never really considered what her story might be. The Bible doesn't speak of their parents and with Martha being the oldest, one might assume that all the household responsibilities of raising her younger brother and sister would fall naturally to her. Thoughts of her own future would pale with making sure everything else would be addressed before her own needs were considered.

This translates so beautifully in this novel and it truly saddens me every single time, that the novels are over too soon. I feel like I have truly been given a look into the lives of characters of the Bible I had never considered before until I have finished another one of Stephanie's novels. Her introductions to other secondary characters is woven so seamlessly you often find yourself asking if you missed connecting those pieces together when you read the Bible so many times before. From the demon possessed man, to the plots against Jesus by the Sanhedrin, the story is breath-taking, magical, and one I know I will read again and again. These novels are so rich in detail, you can't put them down. You simply won't want to. So be sure to set aside time to take a virtual vacation back to the time of Christ and see for yourself one of the most unforgettable miracles from the Bible as you read, The Tomb.

I received The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem compliments of Howard Books and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. Such a beautiful novel that captures the demon possessed man, Simon the leper, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, as well as the saving grace that can only come from time spent with Jesus Christ as you witness first hand these events as though you are part of the action and not just reading a novel. This is one of those novels when you read it, you want to tell every single person about it, so they can enjoy it as much as you have. My only hope, is that like most series, it doesn't end at the third one and Stephanie has plans for another one, fingers crossed!!! Hands down, a well deserved standing ovation and worth every one of the five out of five stars.

For more information about The Tomb, Stephanie Landsem, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Stephanie Landsem on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Tomb, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliances' book tour page.

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