The story of David &Goliath is well known. But in reading about David, most people overlook the prize he won for bringing back the Philistine’s head—King Saul’s daughter, Michal. The women behind the men are often overlooked—in the bible and elsewhere—but that’s what makes these women such good fiction fodder. As author Rachelle Ayala has discovered in writing MICHAL’S WINDOW.
The story is told mostly from Michal's viewpoint. The young princess who falls madly in love with David, a young man who plays the harp for her father. David loves her just as much but their love is thwarted time and again because David is slated to be the next king. Michal’s father, King Saul, feels threatened and sets out to have David killed. Yes, even though David is married to his daughter. Soap operas have nothing on the bible!
Michal’s goal is simple—to be with the man she loves—and she is relentless in trying to get to him even as she wonders if he feels the same for her. She’s a feisty girl who doesn’t follow the rules of the day for women and that gets her into and out of many scrapes—and into and out of the arms of many men. Will she ever be reunited with the love of her life? How does she deal with the reality that her husband takes many wives? What does she do about the other men who love her—and that she loves back? This is an epic story of love gained and lost, of betrayal and redemption.
Books like this always send me back to the bible to separate biblical fact from fiction. Ayala is faithful to the biblical story of King David, a story that includes graphic violence as well as explicit sensuality and sex—scenes Ayala writes exceptionally well. In rich detail and vivid scenes, the author takes us into a world where women are given, or taken, as prizes by men. She weaves in Michal’s story in a way that makes the characters real and the story totally believable.
Intertwining Michal into all of the actions of David while building Michal’s parallel story created the one challenge I found in this novel—the length, which is roughly twice that of an average novel.
MICHAL’S WINDOW is well written, historically accurate, a fascinating view of the women who receive only passing mention behind the men in stories we may think we know so well. MICHAL'S WINDOW reminded me of Anita Diamant's THE RED TENT. If you liked that one, this could be for you. A good read but settle in. 4.5 stars
The author provided a copy of the novel in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.