Onward Christian Soldiers was the theme song this weekend as I got on with the five book Christian Fiction challenge under the generalship of Miss Francine Rivers.
Unveiled is the first in her Lineage of Grace series of five novellas (yes I know, a novella but I am truly on a mission here so I’m counting it as one of the five) about biblical women in the genealogy of Jesus. The others in the series are Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
At the age of 14 Tamar is given in marriage to Er, son of Judah. Those who were not paying attention at Sunday School or during productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat may not remember that Judah was one of bad boy brothers of Joseph, who sold him into slavery.
Er is an abusive bad-tempered mama’s boy who is struck dead mid-rant. According to custom Tamar is then given to second son Onan in order to beget a son in Er’s memory. That is not going to happen married to unsavoury old Onan, and clearly the Lord has bigger plans for Tamar than being married to either of these losers, as Onan also dies. Shelah is the third brother but Judah is none too keen on custom by this stage of proceedings so he keeps the two apart. Tamar is sent back to her father’s house where she is treated as little more than a slave before she eventually triumphs.
Unveiled is an engrossing read, short but satisfying. Tamar didn’t appear in my Child’s Big Book of Bible Stories so I wasn’t familiar with her but she’s a compelling character and Francine Rivers isn’t one of the biggest names in Christian Fiction for nothing. I would read more of her but I am now about to embark on a ‘bonnet read’ – that is what Faith Fiction (this term is preferred to Christian Fiction apparently) publishers call romances set in closed communities like the Amish.