Book Review: The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith

the heart of a king jill eileen smith

Synopsis:

Get swept away by a story of love, loss, and longing

King Solomon could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all of his wealth and wisdom, did he or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

In this engrossing novel, find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet four remarkable women: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and theirs, you'll grapple with whether this king's storied wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved . . . or betrayed them.

  • Genre: Biblical Fiction

  • Published: 4/30/2019

  • Publisher: Revell

  • Pages: 432

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.47 Stars

Praise for the Daughters of the Promised Land Series

"Smith infuses this well-known story with emotional depth and a modern sensibility not typically seen in historical novels."--Publishers Weekly on A Passionate Hope

"[A] richly descriptive and dramatic novel."--Booklist on Redeeming Grace

"Impeccable research and vivid prose."--Library Journal on The Crimson Cord


Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Pairings:

Tea:

Moroccan Mint Tea

Coffee:

Arabic Coffee


And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.
— 2 Chronicles 9:23

Why I Chose This Book

When I first heard about this book I was so ecstatic to read it. Biblical fiction is one of my favorite sub genres of Christian Fiction. I also really like Jill’s writing so I was excited to read her new book.

First Initial Thoughts

The book starts out with Solomon as a prince and King David is still ruling over the land with Queen Bathsheba. Solomon really wants to become Co-Regent so that one day he can become King.

In this story there are 4 main women that he eventually marries and has children with. However, Biblical accounts state that King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. I couldn’t imagine! Keeping tabs on all the wives and children…

Naamah is the first wife Solomon takes during his reign. He marries her before King David passes away. I kind of found her to be clingy and determined to be the only wife of King Solomon. However, Solomon does not feel the same way about her. I think she knew all along that his love was unrequited but she was determined to show him that her love was all he needed.

When King David is about to die, Abishag is hired to become his wife. There she takes care of King David in his last days. Abishag is a daughter of a shepherdess. Definitely not fit to be a wife of a King but Solomon finds her attractive and slowly falls in love with her. Abishag was probably my favorite wife of his. She was obedient, devoted, and truly did love Solomon.

Just as we are introduced to Abishag we meet Siti. Siti is the daughter of a Pharaoh in Egypt. King Solomon must go to Egypt because they took over Gezer. And King Solomon wants it back. To get back Gezer he has to marry Siti. He is not happy about this because Siti does not believe in God and wants to practice her ways back in Jerusalem. I was kind of indifferent with Siti. She kind of did have an influence on Solomon however, and seemed to get whatever she asked for. She was definitely spoiled…

Towards the end we meet Queen Sheba. She rules over Sheba or what we now know as Ethopia. King Solomon wants to trade with her to obtain her exotic spices and animals. I liked Queen Sheba. She was smart, witty and knew how to rule a land. And she wasn’t afraid to. However, I didn’t like what she did to King Solomon towards the end.

Setting

The book is primarily set in Israel but we are taken to far away places such as Ethopia and Egypt. It was so interesting to learn about the land during that time and what people called the various places compared to what they call them now. Jill really did an amazing job immersing the reader into ancient Israel, its culture, and history. It definitely seemed like a magical place.

He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.
— 1 Kings 11:3

Final Thoughts

King Solomon… he was definitely what we could call a… player. I found that he would marry just about anyone to gain allegiance and lands. Whether or not he loved them. I did find him to be honorable though and he did try to keep peace over the land. I think that is why he took on so many wives because he wanted to avoid conflict. He would marry the daughters of their opponent’s land just to save bloodshed.

However, as the story went on it seemed like he further and further went away from laws of God. One particular law as we all know - is to not have in abundance. And King Solomon was the epitome of abundance. As stated above he took on so many wives and also built many palaces, owned thousands of horses, and owned many chariots. I didn’t have a feeling that he was greedy. I think he just didn’t know how to rule in terms of conflict.

What I found interesting is that I didn’t know is that Jill already wrote eBooks’s on all of the wives mentioned in this book. So I found that some were surprised that this book was kind of repetitive and re told the stories from those eBook’s. I have never read them so these stories were new to me. But I could see this being an issue with fans of Jill’s books.

What also surprised me is that I didn’t end up hating any of his wives in this story. Mostly I just found one of their traits or personality annoying but I didn’t find that I didn’t like them.

Would I Recommend?

Yes! If you have read Jill’s previous eBook’s the stories may seem familiar but I like that she put them all together and re wrote them. It’s great for those that want to save time and just want to read one book.

About The Author

jill eileen smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as the nonfiction book When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Connect With Jill:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B & N | Audible | Apple Books

Have you read about King Solomon in the Bible? If so, what do you think of him?

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Note: I am part of the launch team for this book. Therefore, I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher to review and promote. I was not compensated to do this however.