The story of Rebekah, found in the book of Genesis, is one known to multiple faiths. Rebekah, the young woman at the well, shows an act of charity to strangers and is richly rewarded with a marriage. Almost fairytale-like in its simplicity, the story of enigmatic Rebekah continues throughout her marriage to Isaac as she makes a significant impact on her family members’ lives.
In this second of the Wives of the Patriarchs series, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith attempts to reconstruct the gaps in Rebekah’s life by shedding light on her relationships with her family. The character of Rebekah’s brother, Laban, is prominent and well-constructed, and readers get a sense of his motivations and cunning, an important factor for his future dealings. Abraham deals with the family politics of multiple wives and children, including a strained relationship with one of his sons. Rebekah’s willfulness puts a strain on the delicate balance of power in their complicated family.
Interwoven with source material, Rebekah is a heartbreaking journey of faith and betrayal chronicling the story of strangers becoming lovers, and lovers turned rivals, as in the tumultuous relationship of Isaac and Rebekah.
This review first appeared in the August 2013 issue of Historical Novel Review. I was provided with a copy of this book for the purposes of a review.