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.

The books I picked & why

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The Red Tent

By Anita Diamant,

Book cover of The Red Tent

Why 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.

Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel

By Mesu Andrews,

Book cover of Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel

Why 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.

Havah: The Story of Eve

By Tosca Lee,

Book cover of Havah: The Story of Eve

Why 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!

Jewel of Persia

By Roseanna M. White,

Book cover of Jewel of Persia

Why 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. 

Thief of Corinth

By Tessa Afshar,

Book cover of Thief of Corinth

Why 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.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Bible, brothers, and Egypt?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Bible, brothers, and Egypt.

The Bible Explore 203 books about the Bible
Brothers Explore 55 books about brothers
Egypt Explore 103 books about Egypt

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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