Review: Rachel by Jill Eileen Smith

Beautiful Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister Leah to wed and move out of their household. Maybe then she would not feel so scrutinized, so managed, so judged. Plain Leah wishes her father Laban would find a good man for her, someone who would love her alone and make her his only bride. Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob is making his way to their home, trying to escape a past laced with deceit and find the future God has promised him.

But the past comes back to haunt Jacob when he finds himself on the receiving end of treachery and the victim of a cruel bait and switch. The man who wanted only one woman will end up with sisters who have never gotten along and now must spend the rest of their lives sharing a husband. In the power struggles that follow, only one woman will triumph . . . or will she?

The third in the Wives of the Patriarchs series focuses on Jacob and Rachel – and Leah, Rachel’s much-despised older sister. The two women don’t like each other very much, and never have. Half-sisters, Leah is older, but Rachel’s mother is Laban’s favorite. Plus Rachel is by far the more beautiful of the two.

When Jacob arrives, he and Rachel are immediately smitten with each other and he agrees to work for Laban for seven years in exchange for Rachel as his wife. We all know the story. Laban and Leah tricked Rachel and Jacob, with Jacob marrying Leah instead.

Ms. Smith, obviously, uses her imagination along with meticulous research to fill in the blanks. Rachel and Leah, sharing a husband. Jacob loving one of them. Or can he learn to love both? Can they learn to get along?

To an extent, I was disappointed the book ended before Joseph was sold off to Egypt, but a girl can dream Ms. Smith might write that story someday too ;).

My heart ached for all three of them. Leah just wants to be loved but has little hope of that as she ages (though she’s certainly not old by today’s standards). Jacob intended to marry only one woman and be with her for life, but ended up married to not only two sisters, but eventually, two of their maids as well. Rachel had to share her husband, though she had more of him than any of the other women.

I’m saddened this is the end of the Wives of the Patriarchs series, but I look forward to her next project (which, I believe, is a series of novellas – The Wives of King Solomon).

Overall Rating: 8.75 out of 10 stars

Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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