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Michal: A Novel [Paperback]

Jill Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2009 The Wives of King David (Book 1)
As the daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and by competition from her beautiful older sister. When Michal falls for young David, the harpist who plays to calm her father, she has no idea what romance, adventures, and heartache await her.

As readers enter the colorful and unpredictable worlds of King Saul and King David, they will be swept up in this exciting and romantic story. Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes her readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as one of the wives of David. A sweeping tale of passion and drama, readers will love this amazing story.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Can their epic search for true love survive a father's fury?

The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister. As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father's mercy in the prison that is King Saul's palace.

Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?

Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and daring desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes you on an emotional journey as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as the first wife of King David.


Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has gathered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives 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.

About the Author

Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, ranging from articles and short stories to reviews and blogs. Her writing has won prizes in several writing contests. In addition to homeschooling her three sons, Smith has taught piano and enjoyed scrapbooking. She lives with her family in Southeastern Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved It! April 21 2012
By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Baker Publishing Group | March 1, 2009 | Trade Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8007-3320-9

Story Description:

As the daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and by competition from her beautiful older sister. When Michal falls for young David, the harpist who plays to calm her father, she has no idea what romance, adventures, and heartache await her. As readers enter the colorful and unpredictable worlds of King Saul and King David, they will be swept up in this exciting and romantic story. Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes her readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as one of the wives of David. A sweeping tale of passion and drama, readers will love this amazing story.

My Review:

Fifteen-year-old, Michal, was the daughter of King Saul. He had a violent temper and was prone to outbursts of yelling, madness, and cruelty to anyone who was nearby including his wife and daughter. Michal, her sister, Merab, and her brother knew he wasn't a good King. Ever since King Saul had returned from a battle with the Amalekites, he was a changed man who had been shaken to his core and never spoke of the battle. Michal questioned her brother Jonathan as to why the Lord seemed to have forsaken their father rather than help him?

King Saul was being tormented by something and his screams could be heard throughout the palace. The only thing that would calm him was, David, the harpist.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Michal March 26 2012
By Ashley
Format:Paperback
I give this book 2 stars. Why the book wasn't that captivating like Abigail or Bathsheba. Maybe because no one really knows what happened to Michal in biblical form there's not that much info on Micahl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid but not Spectacular Feb. 9 2010
By Jennifer Bogart TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
As a woman it is very difficult to read the Bible's accounts of King David's life and not be left somewhat agape at his marriage to King Saul's daughter Michal. Though little is written of their love, the bare bones descriptions revealed in scripture clearly depict a bittersweet marriage beset by difficulties both within and without.

Taken from her husband and given to another; removed from that home and returned to David who had since wed a variety of other women; plagued by infertility ' Michal's life was clearly not one of emotional ease. The first title in Jill Eileen Smith's series The Wives of King David explores the life of Michal, her spiritual journey, and the prominent influence of David on her life.

Smith's work of biblical fiction is firmly grounded in the scriptural account, weaving the emotional drama of Michal's life together with the pivotal historical events that occurred during her lifetime. I have never read a book that has dealt with Michal's life in such an authentic, and caring manner. From Smith's descriptions of life as the daughter of a deranged and wildly unpredictable king, to her grief at the deaths of her nephews, we are taken as readers into the previously unexplored emotional vistas of this princess of Israel.

While greatly enjoying this fresh look into the life of David's first wife, I wasn't overly fond of Smith's David, preferring the passion of the king found in Eleanor Gustafson's The Stones. Large jumps in time (three years, five-years, six-years, and so on) succeed in facilitating the progression of the timeline, but make the development of Michal's bitterness ' as evidenced in her response to David's joyful procession before the ark ' somewhat choppy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  143 reviews
75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Twist on a Famous King's Life March 7 2009
By Kelly Klepfer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Epic story lovers and those intrigued by the tumultuous life of King David of Jerusalem are very likely chomping at the bit to get their hands on a copy of Michal. Almost as fascinating as the epic story told ably within 374 concise pages is the story behind the book. Jill Eileen Smith birthed the story idea in 1989 and has patiently waited for God's timing for publication.

This novel isn't exclusively in Michal's point of view but much of it is. Readers get a glimpse into Jonathan's, David's and even Paltiel's (Michal's second husband) thoughts, actions and drives. Smith obviously did her Biblical homework and follows the account, adding personality and color to the events as they may have unfolded. Her language choice is fully modern so if you love historicals or Biblical fiction but struggle with difficult language and vocabulary you won't have any issues here. On the flip side, that does take away a bit from the feeling of authenticity so take note if you want your ancients to speak like ancients. So many characters and so many spans of time over the two and a half decade period makes deeply fleshed out characters limited in number.
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, heartbreaking story of love and restoration. Feb. 27 2010
By Ruth Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
With her debut novel, Jill Eileen Smith explores the tumultuous life of Michal, daughter of King Saul and the first wife of David. Honestly, Michal is a character that I never really gave much thought to before. It's too easy to fall into the trap of thinking of the people that populate the pages of scripture as flat characters, rather than as the wonderful, flawed, fully-rounded human beings they actually were, filled with fears and hopes. Though Michal's life has been reduced to mention in only a handful of verses, she witnessed an incredible amount of history and heartbreak. The way Smith brings Michal to life, from her early years as a young princess in Saul's court, in love with David the simple shepherd, to the unfathomable tragedy she witnessed as Saul's family fell from power, absolutely captivated me from the first page.

Smith's narrative closely follows the Biblical account of David's life and rise to power found in 1 and 2 Samuel. In many cases, she incorporates some of the actual dialogue from the scriptures which adds further authenticity to the novel. Her research and passion for the time period clearly shines through in her vivid descriptions of palace life. It was easy to imagine myself in that world, walking alongside Michal and David, drinking in the sights, sounds, and smells of ancient Israel. The book covers decades in Michal's life, often with jumps of one to six years between chapters. Those transitions can be a little abrupt, but overall they did not detract from my enjoyment of the story or my complete immersion into Michal's world. And although the focus of this novel is Michal, David also emerges as a fascinating and complex man. Smith gives readers a window into the personal, family side of David, while not neglecting David the king and worshipper so well known in the pages of the Bible. I wanted to smack him when he started accumulating multiple wives. Through Michal's role as first - and childless - wife, Smith gives a very human face to the toll such a lifestyle must have taken on women during that time.

I really appreciate how Smith depicted the many cultural and social standards a woman in Michal's position dealt with seem so foreign today. Seeing Saul's descent into madness from the perspective of a daughter was absolutely terrifying, especially since as a woman she was wholly subject to his dictates as her father and king. I cannot imagine the courage it took to help David escape Saul's wrath in the early days of their marriage, and then to endure being given to another man when Saul declared her marriage to David void. It's easy to understand Michal's struggles with anger and bitterness, and how she clung to her dream of being declared David's queen as her salvation. In a culture that placed a premium on a woman's ability to provide her husband with children, Michal's struggles with anger, fear, and bitterness over the uncertainty of her position at court are heartbreaking. Her journey towards redemption, and a personal relationship with David's beloved God after enduring so much heartbreak and horror was beautiful to witness. Michal does not get your typical happy ending, but it's the right ending for her story, offering the hope and restoration that only a relationship with God can supply to a life torn asunder by circumstance. Very well done - I look forward to the sequels!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More like 4.5 stars. Great Biblical fiction! March 18 2009
By Michelle Sutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This story was much better than Ann Burton's novel about King David.

Michal captivated me from the first page. I know that sounds, cliche, but it's true. I read the first two chapters about four years ago and they were just as good back then. I adore Biblical fiction when it is well done. The author did a fabulous job showing the culture of King David's time and explaining things that don't set well with our modern ways, such as having more than one wife. It made sense the way it was presented. I loved how the developing love story continued throughout the book, yet the story stayed true to Scripture.

There were so many things that I've read in the Bible before in the book of Samuel, but when placed inside a novel such as this one it really comes alive, from the horrors of war to the politics of the day. I enjoyed the sensual tension between characters and the wedding ceremonies. I'm glad in our present day that the wedding attendants and in-laws don't park outside the honeymoon suite until the marriage was consummated like they did in ancient Israel. How awkward! I also enjoyed the subtle humor about managing a household with so many wives being a challenge for a king. There were so many incredibly interesting details to this story I could talk for hours. And I won't mention the Philistine foreskins. Oy! Gruesome stuff. I really felt like I was there in Hebron, in Gibea, and finally in Jerusalem. I can't wait for the next installment in this series. I have a feeling Abigail's story will be quite compelling, too.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Concept, Sloppy Execution Dec 19 2010
By Dame 'Dhana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A series on the wives of King David-it's an intriguing concept. Unfortunately, David's first wife is Michal. Knowing what eventually happens, we all know that as far as love stories go- this one is an incredibly frustrating and unfulfilling one. However, there is such potential for her story by following her arc of self destruction and how she ultimately makes her peace with God, herself, and the way she has been "brought low" as a barren woman disdained by her husband.

And, the story does get to this- in the last 50 pages. What happens in the 300 pages before that?
Nothing that needed 300 pages to be told.

Michal is not very sympathetic for most the book. She seems to have a teen crush on David. Given that her father Saul is psychotic and David is the only person who can bring peace to the palace, this isn't surprising. What is surprising are the lengths that Michal goes to in order to get David- like "swimfan" or "obsessed" kind of measures. It's not until David begins taking other wives that you feel for Michal at all. Obviously she feels hurt and abandoned, so it's not really clear why Michal leaves her new husband, who treasures her, to return to David (aside from Michal declaring that she luvvvvs David).

David is a tough character-he was brave and sought to please God in all he did. But...he was also a womanizer. Womanizers can be drawn out in a way that makes them sympathetic (want an example? Watch Big Love). But this doesn't happen here and therefore it's pretty difficult to relate to him. His relationship with Michal never seems like love at all. In the beginning he is in love with Michal's older sister. Then one day he sees Michal and decides he loves her. We see none of their relationship together- they marry and then he runs away. He then marries a girl because he likes the way her hair smells (no- I'm serious, that's why he marries her). Although the book says that he takes Michal back because he loved her- we never see any of that love. David seems more concerned that he gets back what "belongs" to him.

Once David and Michal are reunited (in the last 50 pages) things FINALLY get interesting. When David ran away, Michal was a princess and his only wife. But when she returns to him, she finds herself one of many wives-all who are younger and prettier and have children. Furthermore, her title is meaningless since David was crowned. Michal becomes resentful and angry which leads to that fateful declaration. Then in about 20 or so pages she realizes her mistake and asks forgiveness (when she wanted nothing to do with God before) and goes to David to ask forgiveness. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE BULK OF THE BOOK!!!

It was a valiant first effort but ultimately unsatisfying due to flat one dimensional character development. I got the book about the next wife as well (it was a set). Hopefully that will be better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written hystorical. Sept. 8 2011
By Hammy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Biblical characters have never been so incredibly fascinating, until I read this story. I have to admit, I was reading another friend's unfinished novel about Michal and David, and I wanted to know more. Not getting enough fast enough, I came to amazon to see if there were any other stories on Michal. And I found this one. It was an amazing story and enough to bring light into events of long ago.

I loved this and went on to purchase another by Jill Eileen Smith. Bathsheba. Devoured it already! [=
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