Thursday, October 4, 2012

Noah's Wife by T.K. Thorne

A ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year!

Noah's wife is Na'amah, a brilliant young girl who only wishes to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey—a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother, the love of two men, and a looming disaster that threatens her world.

Noah built an ark—but this story has never been told!

“My name, Na’amah, means pleasant or beautiful. I am not always pleasant, but I am beautiful. Perhaps that is why I am trundled atop this beast like a roll of hides for market and surrounded by grim-faced men. If my captors had bothered to ask me, I would have told them that their prize is of questionable value because my mind is damaged. But they did not, and I lie draped, belly down, across the back of an auroch, a large black ox with an eel stripe that runs down his spine and a stench worse than a rutting goat. My mouth is parched and swollen with dried blood, and every step the animal takes sends a jolt of pain into my chest. Snatches of ground appear between the cloven hooves—a succession of earth, grass, and rock obscured by the dark tangle of my hair—all I have to measure the growing distance from the life I have known.”

Noah’s Wife by T. K. Thorne is a fascinating novel about Na’amah, the woman who was married to Noah. From start to finish, this was truly an engaging tale.  Na’amah is an autistic savant, born with a misshapen head during the birth process. Normally, the village would have cast her out and left the infant to die, but her grandmother, Savta, managed to convince the elders that her condition was only temporary. So she lived.

As Na’amah grows into womanhood, Noah, a young man of about 25 years, asks for her hand in marriage. The marriage is approved by her father, but her brother is against the union. Rather, he wants her to marry an old friend. With her brother’s assistance, the young man steals her maidenhood and they have Noah severely beaten. Na’amah flees, and is captured into slavery just as she realizes she is pregnant as a result of the rape. This sets of a journey for her to return to Noah, whom she has come to trust and love.
  
The novel is set several years before the flood and focuses on Na’amah and Noah’s early life. It is a story of her abuse by villagers and her struggles to overcome not only the stigma of her birth, but to integrate herself into a society that shuns her because of her handicap or special abilities.

The author’s interpretation of civilization in 5000 B.C. is completely absorbing. The beliefs, norms, and culture of the times are interpreted in an manner engaging to the reader. The storyline and easy prose also keeps one’s interest to the end. And what I liked about it, was that it wasn’t presented in an overly religious manner. Rather, the story stands for itself. This is a wonderfully creative, highly detailed tale of a time long, long ago, and of a lesser known woman who forged her way through life despite the tremendous odds against her. A lovely read!

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