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.
Publisher: Howard Books
“I tell you, Martha. Don’t worry about tomorrow, but trust in your heavenly Father. Tomorrow will take care of itself,” Jesus comforts Martha in Stephanie Landsem’s novel,The Tomb: A Novel of Martha.
Part of the Living Water Series, this three hundred and fifty-two page paperback targets those interested in a fictionalization of the Biblical story of Martha. Topics of abuse and fornication may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. The book concludes with author notes, acknowledgments, fifteen group discussion questions, and the first chapter of another authored book.
Writer of mainly historical fiction, Landsem focuses on providing Biblical stories that are reimagined but do not contradict Scripture. Living in Minnesota with her husband and four children, she has traveled the world exploring ancient ruins, castles, and cathedrals.
In this adapted version of stories based on the Gospels of the New Testament, seventeen-year-old Martha must keep a shared secret with her best friend, Isa, a pagan musician who flees the area. With her sister Mary married, she dutifully takes care of her father and brother.
Seven years later, her father dies, and it is up to her younger brother, Lazarus, to follow their father’s wishes in finding Martha a husband. When it is decided she wed Simon, the richest Pharisee in the land, she wishes Isa would return as he promised.
As Mary and Lazarus believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Martha doubts while Simon refuses to have anything to do with Him. Thinking she is betrothed, Martha must stop her incessant worrying and make decisions for herself and others.
Blending the Gospel stories of Jesus expelling the demons from the possessed man into sheep, Mary washing Jesus’s feet, and Lazarus being risen from the dead, Martha has to choose the better part, stop worrying, and trust God. Feeling she is losing everyone and everything, she can only come to Christ when she confesses her secret and forgives herself of the past.
Although some of the characters and circumstances are not fully documented in Scripture, the fictionalized story captures the overall message that God forgives, heals, and loves us each individually. The written liberties added to the story are believable, yet one should always study the Word for the absolute Truth.
Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.