Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott
Hardcover, 432 pages
January 27, 2009
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Source: Personal Collection
"In this mesmerizing debut novel, Elissa Elliott blends biblical tradition with recorded history to put a powerful new twist on the story of creation’s first family. Here is Eve brought to life as a wife, mother, and woman in a way religion and myth have never allowed. With stunning intimacy, Elliott boldly reimagines Eve’s journey before and after the banishment from Eden, her complex marriage to Adam, her troubled relationship with her daughters, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons Cain and Abel. From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve explores the very essence of love, womanhood, faith, and humanity."Many people know the story the Bible tells of Adam and Eve: Adam was the first man, Eve was created from his rib, they were expelled from Eden for eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had 2 sons (Cain & Abel) and Cain killed Abel. That is about where the Bible’s version of this story ends. Elissa Elliott picks up where the story leaves off and creates a very detailed back story for these first people. She uses the story from the Bible as the backbone for her story about Eve.
This book is told from the viewpoints of Eve and her three daughters, Naava, Aya, and Dara (something never mentioned in the Bible). Each of their perspectives gives a unique look at the world around them. Naava is the eldest daughter who does everything to improve her own place in the world, sometimes creating problems for her family at the same time. Aya is the second oldest daughter and she has a deformity to her foot. Despite this condition she is a necessity to the family as she is the cook and the healer. Dara is the youngest, part of a set of twins, and she is used by the family as a go-between for the family and the newcomers. Eve is questioning if God exists because he hasn’t come to them since they were expelled from Eden. These females tell the stories of the men in their lives as well. Cain, the eldest, has a temper and is questioning the presence of God. Abel, the second oldest, does anything to help his family and believes that he can hear the voice of God, which really upsets his older brother. Jacan, Dara’s twin, follows Abel’s lead and is learning the ways of tending to the herds and listening to God. Finally there is Adam. He is the strong, quiet presence – always believing in the presence of God.
This book takes place at three different periods of time. Most of the story takes place in the months leading up to the death of Abel at the hands of Cain. During this time they meet the newcomers to the area and their presence and influence severely disrupts the pattern of the family. Through Eve’s retellings we learn of their life within the Garden of Eden, what led up to their expulsion from that Garden, and their travels to the place where they eventually settle down. The third period of time is very late in life right before Eve’s death. Naava has come back to see Eve before she dies.
I was very interested in reading this book because the early Bible stories are very interesting and create a great backbone for a novel. Elliott does an amazing job of weaving what is written in the Bible with her own story of the family. Her characters are very real and all of them have a distinct personality. As the story was coming to an end I realized that I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to know more about this family and what would happen after Abel’s death. I found that during reading this book I would look things up in the Bible to get an idea of what the back story was. I learned a lot during this process. I now can’t wait to read other books from this genre and can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next.
You can visit Elissa Elliott's website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book? And if you are part of a book club, or just want to prolong your reading experience, Elliott has posts a list of recipes to try that go along with the themes of the book!
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