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  Home > Books > Women > Women's Fiction >

Sarah (Canaan Triology)
Sarah (Canaan Triology)
Marek Halter

Publisher: Crown Publishing

With the success of The Red Tent (1997), the women of the Bible became fair game for writers of historical fiction. This novel about Sarah is grounded in its biblical source material even as it twists tales all its own. Halter's Sarah, already a best-seller in France, begins at that matriarch's tomb in Hebron, where she awaits her death and remembers her life. In Halter's telling, Sarah is no willing handmaiden of the one God. A Sumerian girl raised in luxury, she runs away from an arranged marriage and takes an elixir that stops menstruation; so instead of a wife, she becomes a high priestess of Ishtar. But her love for Abraham, whom she has met briefly, sustains her and leads her back to him. Halter works hard at establishing some feminist bona fides for her heroine ("Sarah is the prototype of the free woman"), but however beguiling such speculation may be, there is a tendency here to pass off legend as fact. Still, the writing is lively and shimmering with detail, and if some aspects of Sarah's story seem surprisingly truncated (the binding of Isaac, for example), the tale rolls along smoothly and, with the help of a big push from the publisher, just may hit it big on the book-club circuit. Sarah is the first in Halter's Canaan trilogy, which will conclude with novels about Lilah and Zipporah. Ilene Cooper -- Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved.

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