Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna M. White
"Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected."
A Stray Drop of Blood is the story of Abigail; Jewess slave and companion to Visibullis matriarch, Ester. Having been brought to the Visibullis household at a young age, she is treated respectfully and quickly earns a place in her owner's hearts. She is taught all manner of book knowledge and continually proves herself an adept learner. It seems her life has fallen into a peaceful existence, until Jason Visibullis arrives back home after several years of military training in Rome.
As the handsome only child of respected General Cleopas and his wife Ester, he is willful, spoiled, and used to getting his own way; especially when it comes to the women he wants. And after one glance at the beautiful Abigail, she ends up on his immediate want list. With no real choice in the matter, Abigail is forced into an intimate relationship with her master's son, and a short time later, becomes pregnant.
Devastated, she despairs at the shattering of her future dreams, including those to wed. Jason will not hear of marrying a Jewish slave, despite his parents insistence that he be accountable for his actions, but he does agree to care for Abigail as his "wife in deed" responsibility. While not in love with Jason, she has slowly become comfortable in their relationship, and even welcomes his attentions over time. As she grows larger with child, Jason struggles with the development of strong feelings for her and eventually chooses, against his friends advice, to take her as his wife.
They marry, but unrest is permeating Jerusalem, as a man who has created quite a stir with his teachings, gains followers. Violent uprisings result, and the Visibullis men are summoned to quell the rebels by force. One night, during an especially heated insurrection, both Cleopas and Jason are brutally killed by the criminal Barabbas. Devastated, Abigail is determined to witnessed the crucifixion of their murderer, and ventures out on the appointed day. But, amidst the expected chaos and throngs of people, she experiences something else entirely unexpected.
A stray drop of blood that will change her life forever...
To briefly sum up my thoughts after that lengthy story description, I say:
Read this book!
Because Roseanna White is a gifted writer who really has a knack for getting emotions out onto the page in a realistic manner. She makes you connect with her characters deeply and leaves you caring about them long after turning the final page. Biblical stories aren't that easy to pull off convincingly, but Roseanna put in the effort plus research, and it shows.
The plot is thoroughly engaging, with plenty of intrigue to keep you from figuring out what happens next, and so much occurs from beginning to end, that it truly is an epic journey. Also, I thought the romantic scenes gave a nice amount of tension/edge/passion without going too overboard. I appreciated the honest struggles, both emotionally and physically, that Roseanna acknowledged between characters, which added to the overall story connection for me.
So, yes, definitely grab your own copy of A Stray Drop of Blood! I know I'll be adding this author's past and future books to my must read list.