Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Publisher: Howard Books
“Whatever it was that he’d given her in those moments, she wanted more of it. She wanted it every day for her lifetime. She wanted to never again feel the black despair that had almost consumed her,” Nava explains in Stephanie Landsem’s novel, The Well.
This two hundred and eighty-six page paperback book has a photograph of a woman dressing in Biblical apparel holding an earthen jar at sunrise on the front cover. With no profanity but topics about adultery, fornication and murder, this tome would be targeted toward mature young people or older, especially those of Jewish or Christian faith. The end of the book has acknowledgments and a reading group guide. This reader wishes all pronouns regarding God were capitalized for reference.
In this historical tome, the first-time writer takes fictional liberties of imagination of the Biblical story of Jesus asking a Samaritan woman for water at the well. Using the New International Version of the Bible, she weaves an inspiring tale of Nava being the woman who happens upon the Taheb, the Messiah, at the well and her life is immediately altered.
Indeed, Nava has had five husbands and currently entertains the gruff Alexandros, a pagan from nearby Sebaste while her young, beautiful daughter, Mara, and crippled eight year old son sleep in their dim, dismal shack. Hoping not to let any of the Sychar villagers to know about her sins, Nava fights depression and guilt.
Meanwhile, Shem, a young Jewish man brought up in Caesarea, has killed a drunken Roman soldier accosting a woman so his father sends him to his grandfather’s olive grove in Sychar until things calm down. It is here where he meets the beautiful, yet withdrawn Mara.
When Mara refuses to help her mother change from her adulterous ways, Nava has to go fetch her own water and meets Jesus, the Restorer, Who cleanses and makes her whole again by forgiving her sins. She joyously tells Mara and the villagers about Him but most reject Him as the Messiah, the Anointed One.
After Shem haphazardly mentions to the town gossip about Nava’s indiscretions, Zevulum, who was once betrothed to Nava, accuses the mother of adultery and she is stoned. Shem, who is falling in love with Mara, accompanies the daughter all the way to Capernaum to locate Jesus to ask if He will help her mother.
With the creativeness of many Biblical characters inter-weaved in the story, the reader easily gets caught up in Nava’s redemption, Shem and Mara’s relationship, and those in the village who refuse to believe in God.
This book was furnished by Simon & Schuster for review purposes.
Follow Here To Purchase The Well: A Novel