Book Review: To Comfort a King

When you think of people from the Bible, Abishag is probably not someone most people would name. Yet she is there in 1 Kings 1, the Shunammite virgin found to keep King David warm at the end of his days.

There are many things we take for granted, child. Many pleasures we do not recognize until we have to look at them from a distance we cannot span.
King David to Abishag, page 45

Book Description from Amazon

21954919When Abishag leaves her home to fulfill the commission to comfort King David during his final months of life, she leaves behind a deaf sister, a small brother, and a father who is still grieving the death of his wife. Also left behind is Abishag’s betrothed, Joseph, who has already waited many months to claim his bride. Now, he must wait until Israel’s king no longer needs her.

Torn from the comfort of her small village, Abishag is thrust into a world of unfamiliar customs, royal expectations, and palace intrigue. She is greeted suspiciously by the king’s concubines, warmly by Queen Bathsheba, and reluctantly by King David himself. Adonijah, the king’s son, is bitter over his father’s choice of Solomon as Israel’s next king. He determines to ruin Abishag to prevent her from being given as a prize to Solomon at their father’s death.

Suffering personal losses, as well as scorn from much of the royal court, Abishag begins to question God’s goodness in placing her in the king’s service. Can she find someone there who understands that one who comforts the king is in great need of comfort herself? Will Abishag’s time with the king end in despair or joy?

What I Thought

Several people from the Bible capture my imagination, many of them minor characters in the story of salvation, some of them even nameless on the pages of history. Abishag is one of those whose story I’ve often considered. As I would read through 1 Kings, I wondered what she thought about her assignment to serve and warm the King, what she left behind, what she sacrificed to serve, and what happened to her after David’s death.

Ms. Gilliland weaves a beautiful story, creating possible answers to these questions. Yes, most of the story is pure fiction, yet when she could I see an effort to stay true to Scripture. I see where parts of 1 Kings that were not mentioned (like Adonijah setting himself up as King before David’s death), yet while these events are major on the biblical stage, they are minor to the story of Abishag, and that’s the story the author strives to tell.

The book was touching, and I felt the turmoil within Abishag as she dealt with the choices laid before her. Ms. Gilliland created a sympathetic yet strong character who I wanted to find happiness. The character King David was delightful, and I loved many of the conversations he and Abishag had as she spent her days caring for him.

 

Cautions

The story takes place within the walls of King David’s palace, complete with his out-of-control son Adonijah and concubines. While the author does a good job of handling the topics with care, I would hesitate before recommending this book to teen or sensitive readers. Topics touched on within the books include: several angry concubines David rejected after Absalom slept with them, one concubine who loved the King yet was not called into his presence in his older years, and Adonijah who treats women as possessions and molests Abishag a couple of times.

 

The Bottom Line – 5 stars

If you like to explore fiction based on actual biblical events or fiction based in Bible times, this book is worth considering.

 

About the Author

1898191_531588386956317_296868554_nI began writing in high school when daily journaling was an assignment.  My English instructor patiently penned red ink wisdom in the columns of my journals in response to whichever teenage drama I had reduced to words.  Mr. Wilkins thus became a lifelong friend who continued to mentor me in all aspects of living.  It was he who encouraged me to seek a publisher for my book To Comfort a King.

 

To read more about Debbie Gilliland and her books, click here.

 

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DISCLOSURE: I purchased this book on my own and was not asked by the author or publisher for a review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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