Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: Havah by Tosca Lee

Book Details:
by Tosca Lee
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2010, B & H Publishing Group
Paperback, 319 pages
ISBN: 9781433668791

"Myth and legend shroud her in mystery. Now hear her story. From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the dawn of mankind through the eyes of Eve, the woman first known... as Havah."

I loved this book in so many ways I don't even know where to begin! The language is beautiful and flows like music across the page. Interspersed throughout the lyrical sentences are poetic phrases and descriptions that read as if they come from Havah's imagination, but also remind me of the words of the Biblical books Psalms and Song of Solomon. Havah's life is fascinating to watch unfold, from her dreams of the creation of the world, to her first sin and the subsequent aftermath, to each skill that she acquires to survive with the Adam outside of the garden. I shared her joy at the birth of each child, and I found her many discussions and arguments with the Adam to be strangely similar to interactions with my own husband. Here is a woman that every woman ever living could relate to in some way, and it satisfies a craving that I have often felt to simply sit down and talk to the "Mother of All Living." The Bible says precious little about Eve - only three chapters in Genesis make mention of her. The lengths to which Tosca Lee went to create a more complete picture of this captivating woman are detailed at the end of the text, and her list of sources is quite impressive. So much of this story is believable and relevant to even the most modern of women, in such things as her musings of life and death, the ups and downs of her various relationships, her daily tasks to survive, and her struggle to find meaning and purpose for her life. All of the fine details of the development of civilization were also quite entertaining, as I read the beginnings of farming, food preparation, pottery, trade, art, cloth-making, herding, etc. So many things I will think about for years to come, such as how the smallest things could develop over time to have such great impact, like a drawing of Havah's becoming the symbol of a religious sect or the chants of one of her many daughters turning into the song of a nation. This book was a study in human behavior in so many ways as well, such as how their vegetarian lifestyle changed to include first fish and then other meats by repeated famine or how greater numbers of people in close quarters resulted in strife and conflict.  I could go on and on about all that I loved about this book, but instead I will simply say that this book is definitely one of the best books I have ever read, and I highly recommend it, no matter what religion the reader prescribes to.

The Cover: The cover is both artistic and accurate, since the "mother of all living" would likely look eerily similar to the face on the cover. The swirls look a bit like vines, which is reminiscent of Havah's origins in the garden of Eden.

First Line: "I have seen paradise and ruin. I have known bliss and terror. I have walked with God."
Normally, I only quote the very first sentence, but in this case, I chose the first "thought," because it seemed more complete this way. This opening completely captures my attention and even my heart, since it addresses a major piece of the Christian faith.

Favorite Quote: "Let me be nothing. If I must be something, let me be air, which is unseen. Or let me be the earth that runs into the river with the rain, that empties out to sea until it is lost..."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Biblical Fiction Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*


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