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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty


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Our Rating



Wonderful setting, Satisfying ending, well-written, great conflict, effective spiritual message


Inconsistent characterization

Bottom Line

“Bathsheba” is a fascinating retelling of a biblical story which shows that God’s mercy is greater than the gravest of sins.

Posted September 30, 2015 by

Full Review

One of the Bible’s most misunderstood and misjudged women, Bathsheba comes to life in this new biblical reimagining from Angela Hunt. Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, this is an eye-opening portrait that will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about her.

After receiving God’s promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier’s wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king’s household.


I enjoy historical and biblical fiction if it is done well, and I learn something new about the context of the Bible stories I’ve heard since I was young. I was intrigued by Bathsheba because so much of her story has been shrouded in controversy. I found Angela Hunt’s creative retelling fascinating as she revisits the darkest chapter of David’s life through the eyes of the woman who was there.

The setting of Bathsheba takes place during the apex of David’s rule as the shepherd-king of Israel when most of his enemies had been subdued. The vivid descriptions of the surroundings, as well as the presentation of Hebrew customs and culture, show the lengths the author goes to in order to research the novel’s historical background, allowing the reader to be immersed in the story from beginning to end.

The story of Bathsheba is told through two points of view: those of Bathsheba, and also Nathan the prophet. Each character has a unique voice and perspective, and they relay portions of the narrative in inventive ways which make the story more interesting without disrupting its flow, leaving it free from author intrusion.

The dialogue between characters seems both natural and plausible. It reveals the characters’ motivations without telling too much or seeking to inform the reader. The conversations portray the characters as sympathetic, complex, imperfect, but full of depth.        

The plot and the pace of Bathsheba are driven by outside events which lead to the deep feelings of pain and loss in the characters. The novel does not have a suspenseful tone, but the story does not lack intrigue, as most of it takes place within the walls of a palace. Some of these events come from the author’s imagination and serve to enhance the plotline, but they lead to an effective climax and satisfying ending and remain true to the Scriptural account.

The conflict in the novel is driven by external events. King David’s poor choices as a king, husband, and father lead to disastrous consequences for him and those he loves. His sin not only costs him the death of his children but divides his kingdom as well. This, of course leads to deep internal struggle within the characters themselves who must overcome incredible obstacles in order to grow. The conflict throughout the novel gives the story incredible impact.

Although the story is a biblical, the reader doesn’t have to wade through large portions of Scripture or preachy text. However, the spiritual message is clear and distinct as the story is communicated extremely effectively.

There is no doubt that the novel gives a new perspective on the story of Bathsheba. It might differ from the majority opinion of her involvement in the affair with King David. There is only one aspect of the novel that seems out of place. At times, in the beginning of the story, the prophet Nathan seems infatuated with the title character. This seems inconsistent with his integrity and the biblical narrative. However, Hunt stays close to the Scriptural account the majority of the time.

Bathsheba is geared toward Christian women who like biblical and historical fiction. It is a stand-alone novel but the second in Angela Hunt’s A Dangerous Beauty series. Readers should be aware that there are a few scenes that are designed for a mature audience, though not inappropriate.         

Apart from some inconsistent characterization, Bathsheba is a fascinating retelling of a biblical story which shows that God’s mercy is greater than the gravest of sins.


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