Sisters of Lazarus Mar12

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Sisters of Lazarus

I purchased this wonderful book from the author at a writer’s event recently, and since I picked up several other books with it and set them amongst my other stacks of books I’d bought but hadn’t yet read, it took me a while to get around to reading it. But when I did finally pick it up, I could hardly put it down.

SisterSidebarAdI found myself reading it in between stirring and pouring and getting kids ready and waiting in the line to pick up after school – Always during coffee in the morning, and then again late into the night. I’m normally not a huge fan of biblical fiction, but this book has made a believer out of me! Sisters of Lazarus was not just a delightful read, it drew me headlong into the 1st century world of Lazarus and his two sisters from the first page to the last.

Paula Parker unfurled a vibrant, breathing, dusty world of Jewish life and culture normally expounded upon monotonously by many-degreed scholars, but she did it in such a way that I not only learned a few fascinating historical nuggets, but I also truly began to feel the character’s hopes and fears in a visceral way. There I was, wanting to help in the kitchen, or tagging along with the sisters to the marketplace, or gasping with indignation at an injustice. I could almost taste and smell and feel what it might have been like to live in that time period, in that culture.

Parker really did her research and it paid off big time. The detail with which she describes the native clothing styles, the daily routines, and the social and religious customs of the Jews of that time period gave me a deeper insight into many significant events of Scripture as well as the character and possible motives of each person involved in the story. Each foray into a fictional version of a recorded biblical event was not just merely plausible, but was completely believable. Events I didn’t consciously tie together were connected in such a way that they made so much more sense in the flow of the narrativeā€¦ more than once I found myself saying, “Wow!” or talking to (and sometimes fussing at) the characters right out loud.

The cultural concept of beauty and femininity was so different in the days of Jesus than it is now, but the struggle to understand true beauty and embrace who God has created you to be is a timeless struggle that transcends the centuries. In Sisters of Lazarus, each sister must wrestle with the perception of beauty they see in their own lives, just as many of us do throughout our modern lives until we are either crushed in spirit or until we find unshakeable peace.

I highly recommend this wonderful story as an essential addition to your library, and even if you are not a fan of biblical fiction, I’d wager this book will make you one.