IN FEAST OR FAMINE by Mesu Andrews
SERIES: The Egyptian Chronicles #2
GENRE: Inspirational Historical/Biblical Fiction
RELEASE DATE: May 9, 2023
Thrust into an arranged marriage, the daughter of ancient Egypt’s high priest plays a pivotal role in Joseph’s biblical narrative in this powerful novel from the award-winning author of Potiphar’s Wife.
After four-year-old Asenath’s mother is murdered by Egypt’s foreign rulers, the child is raised to be a priestess by her overprotective father—high priest of Egypt’s sun god. For fifteen years, Asenath is sequestered in the upper levels of Ra’s temple, convinced it is her destiny to heal the land by becoming queen to the next Egyptianpharaoh. But when Egypt’s foreign king instead gives her as a bride to the newly appointed vizier—a Hebrew named Joseph—her entire world is shaken.
Beyond the walls of her tower, Asenath discovers treachery, deceit, and conspiracy that force her to redefine her destiny and weigh where her true loyalties lie. Can she still trust the gods of Egypt? Or is Elohim, the foreign God of her husband, the one who will heal her nation during the feast and famine to come?
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I’m so thankful for authors like Mesu Andrews who zero in on names and events in Scripture that typically don’t get much attention, cultivate that little stirring of imagination that must spring to life inside them, and are then able to build a plausible and meaningful narrative that still stays true to both history and God’s Word. In fact, Biblical fiction that is written within those guardrails makes me fall in love with the Bible – and with God’s intentional plan to rescue & redeem – all over again. Andrews’ newest novel is a prime example.
The story of Joseph has fascinated me from childhood – his mother, his coat of many colors, being sold into slavery, interpreting Pharoah’s dreams, being made second in position only to the Pharoah, and his emotional reunion with his family. I also knew he had two sons, but I had always glossed over his wife’s name and the intriguing tidbit that Scripture says about her. To be honest, if you’d asked me, I would have said that the Bible never mentions Joseph’s wife. (It’s in there three times. Oops.) Yet, thanks to In Feast or Famine, I will never ignore Asenath’s name again.
I was immediately drawn to Asenath’s story… and immediately wanted to throw her father (Potiphera the priest) to the crocodiles. Oh goodness, my emotions were all over the place in this book! Joseph & Asenath’s journey on these pages is definitely a roller coaster, filled with joyous highs, breathless adventures, swoony romance, and infuriating lows. With this fictional imagining as a backdrop, I was also able to gain a new perspective on Egyptian politics which in turn will shape how I read Joseph’s appearances in Genesis from now on. (Hint: they make American politics look like a little playground squabble lol) But the most moving part of In Feast and Famine is Asenath’s faith story, from the daughter of a priest of Ra to a follower of Elohim. It is not a straightforward nor simple path that Andrews has her walking between the two, but it ends up being exactly what Asenath needs to help bring healing to her own heart, to her husband’s heart, and to the land of Egypt to the glory of God.
Bottom Line: Mesu Andrews has once again taken a familiar Biblical account – one I’ve read untold thousands of times – and opened my eyes in fresh ways to the gospel truths woven into the heart of it. Her meticulous research and care to stay true to God’s Word show on every page, and her ability to help readers see a reflection of themselves in the characters she brings to life is impeccable. Complex themes of forgiveness, belonging, family, and the sovereignty of God – as well as a fascinating look at ancient history – ensure that you will be thinking about In Feast and Famine long after you’ve reached the end.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion
Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award-winning author of numerous inspirational novels including the Treasures of the Nile series, the Prophets and Kings series, and Potiphar’s Wife, the first book in the Egyptian Chronicles series. Her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word help her to bring the biblical world alive for readers. Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy, and enjoys spending time with her tribe of grandchildren.
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