The best books that bring women of the Bible to life

Who am I?

I’m a writer who has traveled the world in real life and traveled through time in my research and imagination. In the past dozen years, I’ve researched historical women of the Bible for my own novels and have come to realize that women of the ancient world were much like women of today. Biblical women had dreams and fell in love. They worried about their children, politics, and the world around them. They wished for security and happiness just as we do. I have a special regard for historical fiction that brings these ancient women to life—honoring their lives and their struggles.


I wrote...

The Tomb: A Novel of Martha

By Stephanie Landsem,

Book cover of The Tomb: A Novel of Martha

What is my book about?

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, but what will this miracle mean to the risen man’s sister, Martha?

Martha of Bethany comes to life in surprising and vivid detail as a woman “worried and anxious about many things” and one carrying long-held and dangerous secrets. When her brother, Lazarus, lies dying she must risk all to send for the one man who can save him, Jesus of Nazareth. But when Jesus does not arrive in time, will Martha’s secrets come to light—and her faith in the Messiah fail? The Tomb is a poignant tale of the power of secrets, the strength of love, and the freeing power of grace.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Red Tent

Stephanie Landsem Why did I love this book?

The Red Tent was my introduction to biblical fiction and made me want to look deeper into the stories of the untold women of the Bible. This sweeping tale of the four wives of Jacob and his daughter, Dinah, brings us an intimate portrait of these long-ago women. It’s a story of love, jealousy, and betrayal built upon the ancient text of Genesis, but the glowing prose and insight into their lives bring us as close to these ancient women as we are to our own mothers and daughters.

By Anita Diamant,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Red Tent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Red Tent Anita Diamant brings the fascinating biblical character of Dinah to vivid life.

'Intensely moving . . . feminist . . . a riveting tale of love' - Observer

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her fate is merely hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the verses of the Book of Genesis that recount the life of Jacob and his infamous dozen sons. Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is an extraordinary and engrossing tale of ancient womanhood and family honour. Told in Dinah's voice, it opens with the story of her mothers -…


Book cover of Miriam

Stephanie Landsem Why did I love this book?

I loved Miriam—one of many of Mesu Andrew’s novels of Old Testament women—because this aged woman brings a fresh perspective to the well-known story of the Exodus from Egypt. Her lived experience from slavery to freedom—and from despair to hopeas she searches for the God of her brother, Moses, is both familiar and utterly new. Mesu Andrews weaves a beautiful tapestry of a story that breathes new and fascinating life into a familiar story.

By Mesu Andrews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miriam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 
 Miriam and her beloved family…


Book cover of Havah: The Story of Eve

Stephanie Landsem Why did I love this book?

After reading this imaginative story, I never thought of Eve in the same way again. Havah is a stunning depiction of the first woman—one created, not born. Tosca Lee takes us on an original journey into the life, choices, and emotions of the first woman. It is a story of sin, but more than that, it is a story of creative love and the gift of free will. This story allows us to sympathize with Havah, and even ask ourselves what we might have done in her place. Enthralling and inspiring!

Book cover of Jewel of Persia

Stephanie Landsem Why did I love this book?

This is a lesser-known gem of a novel that has all the hallmarks of excellence in historical fiction. Roseanna White does a brilliant job of weaving solid historical research into a captivating story. This is based on the book of Esther, but is also a compelling story of Xerxes, the Persian king that was her captor and husband. Richly drawn historical detail, page-turning action, and a cast of fascinating characters will keep you reading late into the night. 

By Roseanna M. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jewel of Persia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords?
Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish home with more siblings than luxuries. But when a chance encounter forces her to the palace of Xerxes, she becomes a concubine to the richest man in the world. She alone, of all Xerxes' wives, loves the man beneath the crown. She alone, of all his wives, holds the heart of the king of kings.

Traveling with Xerxes through Europe as he mounts a war against Greece, Kasia knows enemies surround her, but they re not the Spartans or…


Book cover of Thief of Corinth

Stephanie Landsem Why did I love this book?

Although this novel isn’t about a historical biblical woman, both the setting and the premise bring the latter half of the New Testament to vibrant life. In Corinth of the first century, a girl thief is befriended by a Jewish teacher named Paul, leading us into a fast-paced story of action and intrigue. Afshar’s novels brim with authentic historical detail as well as great empathy for what it meant to be a woman in this time in history. Turning the last page of the story, I felt like I’d lived and breathed alongside this long-ago woman.

By Tessa Afshar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thief of Corinth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption―the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s…


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Songbird

By Laci Barry Post,

Book cover of Songbird

Laci Barry Post Author Of Songbird

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Group fitness instructor Mom of two Travel consultant Hiker

Laci's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It's 1943, and World War II has gripped the nation, including the Stilwell family in Jacksonville, Alabama. Rationing, bomb drills, patriotism, and a changing South barrage their way of life. Neighboring Fort McClellan has brought the world to their doorstep in the form of young soldiers from all over the country and German POWs from halfway around the globe.

Songbird is an inspirational, historical fiction novel, dealing with family, faith, strong women, and the American home front. It explores many historical elements of the World War II era, such as women's aid groups, the writings of Ernie Pyle, D-day, radio and music of the 1940s, and the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Songbird

By Laci Barry Post,

What is this book about?

When the perils and social changes of World War II confront a small southern town, faith, family, and love sustain the lives of one young woman and her family. Can those left behind endure?

"I'm waiting for my life to begin. Waiting for the train to come in," Ava Stilwell, a young woman eager for life, sings a popular song with the big band that reflects her heart. In the midst of a world at war, Ava finds love, a passion for her music, and new opportunities, but the war still looms over her, threatening to take it all away.…


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