Book Review: This Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf

Within one of the Old Testament’s most famous battles lies one of the most tender love stories.

Hidden within the battle of Jericho is the story of Rahab, a beautiful and brave young Canaanite woman who aided the Israelites by hanging a piece of scarlet cord from a window. This act of faith changed her life by placing her in the genealogy of Christ.

Rahab is the youngest daughter of a Canaanite farmer, taken to Jericho for the pagan New Year so her father can find her a wealthy spouse. Sala, the Israelite boy who had once saved her from being kidnapped, is also in Jericho. When the two young people meet again they admit their love for one another, but their different religions make marriage impossible.

Their love story plays out against the background of Jericho’s pagan rites. It is only when the One True God of Israel comes into Rahab’s life-and she realizes what He is calling her to do-that she and Sala can come together.

Witness Rahab as a young woman determined to find her destiny as she follows her heart toward true love . . . and the One True God.

This is a difficult review for me to write. I only offer to review books I anticipate enjoying and I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t :(.

There isn’t much in the Bible about Rahab, other than she saved the spies [who in turn saved her] and she later became the mother of Boaz [from the Book of Ruth] and in an ancestor of Christ, so the vast majority of this book is, by necessity made up.

I’m good with that. I love reading good Biblical fiction and I really looked forward to this one.

Rahab is a young girl here – twelve then fourteen. Sala is a few years older than she is. I enjoyed the spunkiness Rahab often showed, but despite the difference between today and life centuries ago, I just didn’t buy Rahab as old enough to marry and set up her own household. My impression is that children matured faster in many ways than they do today. Today we wouldn’t expect a fourteen year old to be ready to be a wife and mother the way Mary, mother of Jesus, would have been. Just a for instance.

But this Rahab [and Sala who was, I believe seventeen by the end of the book] seemed more like the 14 and 17 year olds of today. Relatively immature and nowhere near ready for the responsibilities of their own household. That was one of the problems I had with the book – stilted dialog in many places was another.

I thoroughly enjoyed several of the secondary characters – particularly Rahab’s sister-in-law.

Stephen King once said Stephanie Meyer wasn’t a very good writer, but was an excellent storyteller [or something to that effect]. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I felt like that statement applied, to a lesser degree, with this book.

The story, despite the problems I had with it, was compelling enough that I kept “turning the pages” to the very end. [It was an e-book so no actual pages ;).]

I will likely pick up the next book by Ms. Wolf and give her another shot, but if you’re looking for a good story about Rahab, I’d recommend Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar instead.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.