Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: This Scarlet Cord

On the cover of the book, This Scarlet Cord, Publisher’s Weekly is quoted as saying, “[S]killfully conjur[es] up a fascinating version of Rahab’s story . . .” This statement is true. The fictional story is well-written and quite intriguing. Author Joan Wolf is a talented novelist.

Unfortunately for Wolf, though, Rahab was a real person. That makes this story historical, specifically biblical, fiction. And rule number 1 for historical fiction is that the author can’t mess with the facts. The author can use her imagination to fill in the blanks around the facts, but she can’t alter what is known to be true.

Wolf made so many alterations to Rahab’s story that I can’t even count them all. To document them here would spoil the story for future readers, so I won't get into them. The most prominent of these, however, though showing God’s great power to rescue His people from peril, also removes the beautiful message of grace found in Rahab’s appearance in the lineage of Christ. It also unjustly portrays the Israelites, especially Joshua, in a negative light.

If This Scarlet Cord were strictly a work of fiction, I would recommend it highly. It was a beautiful love story. As a work of biblical fiction, however, I can’t recommend it at all. The author took too many liberties with the Bible's part.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
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