There is an era in Israeli history where anticipation is a palpable hum, where the bedouin lifestyle gives way to the birth of a nation, where men gear up for war: The era between their forty-year wandering and their victory over Canaan. This is the era, the setting, the people into which Aggie masterfully breathes life.
The novel opens with the impending death of Zelophehad, father of five daughters and no sons. The personality of Rizpah, his second born, is displayed fully within the first few pages–her loyalty, strength and impetuosity which everyone admires in her, and she herself despises for the weight of the punishment so often meted for her actions.
But when Moses divides the new land among the men of Israel, it is Rizpah who has the courage to fight for her family of sisters. Rizpah appeals to Moses, the God-chosen leader of all the descendants of Jacob, for a place her family can call their own.
Seamlessly woven into the plot is a love story of Rhett-Scarlett-Ashley proportions. Hanniel, Rizpah’s cousin, spends his life in love with her, but she loves the famed Caleb–or is it hero worship, or the desires of a young, foolish heart carried into adulthood?
Her dream of becoming Caleb’s wife is at one point granted, then ripped from her grasp in an example of sacrificial obedience to God. Hanniel’s dream of becoming her husband is rebuked as she holds tight to her adolescent love for a man she could never have.
Along with the rich plot and subplot of the novel, Aggie exhibits a talent for placing the reader in the heart of the bedouin camps, in the very tents and activities of the characters she brings to life, with the economy of words that is the hallmark of a masterful writer. Her characters are full-bodied; her action scenes are tense and exciting; her love scenes are both pure and seductive.
You can get Aggie’s book at her site, Rightfully Mine. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to step away from the ordinary.