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shebaThe Bible is known for many things, but portraying strong women of resolution is not one of them. Yet when one pushes through the throng of Old Testament manly prophets and New Testament male-centric gospel tales, there is actually a bevy of kick-ass women to meet. The Queen of Sheba is one of them.

In my nearly three decades of church attendance, I don’t recall a single sermon devoted to unearthing the mystery of Sheba. Who is she? Why is she mentioned in the book of Kings in the Old Testament? What was the point of that? Is she the same woman Solomon wrote about in Song of Solomon? Was he in love with her? Her with him? And what does it matter? Why do I need to know anything about a has-been queen who had her five minutes of fame several millennium ago?

This is where novelist Tosca Lee comes in.

I first heard of Tosca through Jim Henderson, a writer friend of mine who has authored several books. Tosca and I both had the privilege of endorsing a book Jim wrote in regards to women and equality in the church, a topic that I am wholeheartedly devoted to. (That book  can be found HERE)

Tosca and I hit it off and stayed loosely in touch through social media and email. We sent each other copies of our books. I read her novel, Havah, a fascinating story written as a memoir by Eve. Yes, Eve, as in Adam and Eve. Tosca has written other novels and is a damn good story teller. I don’t read many novels and I have not read any Christian novels since The Shack. It’s just not a genre that resonates with me. (I am being wayyy diplomatic … )

But I like Tosca, and I like her storytelling voice. So when she contacted me about helping out with her new book,The Legend of Sheba,  I was all in, even though it’s a Christian novel, and well, you know how I feel about Christian novels.


Learn more about Tosca at www.toscalee.com

I hoped I would like her book because I like Tosca. God knows I am not very good at faking liking a book when I really don’t. And that can get awkward when you like the person, but not what they wrote.  Years ago my friend Bill Dahl, who has reviewed a ton of books, told me he only posts reviews of books he likes, I thought yeah, I like that. I’ll adopt that as my guideline, too. This doesn’t mean if I haven’t posted a review that I didn’t like your book (if you are a writer who sent me a copy). It just means that every review I post, I stand by.

That’s what I thought Tosca was asking of me : to write a blog review about her book.

But what she was really asking was if I would endorse her book.  I was like, Whoa! In the world of writing, asking someone to endorse your book means you are asking them to loan you their name and reputation and write something positive  that can go somewhere on their book for all the reading world to see. I am a person who pays attention to endorsements. When I browse a book, I look at who has endorsed it and what they have to say about it. Endorsements matter to me as a reader … and as a writer. I contacted a number of people to lend me their reputations when my own book was needing endorsements to boost it’s credibility. Some people readily said yes. Some said no, and quite a few never even responded. That’s the gig, that’s the way it goes in the publishing world.

I’ve endorsed a number of books over the years. Just about every author has been someone I know or had strong social connections to. I am always honored to be invited to lend my I’m-Not-Famous name to their endorsement list. One of these days I will blog a complete list of the handful of books I have endorsed and why.

So I read Tosca’s Sheba hoping, hoping, HOPING I would really and truly like it (cuz’ I like her, remember?) and damn, not only did I like it, I savored it like a French chocolate pastry. She created a compelling portrait of this ancient queen, bringing her to life as more riot grrrl than princess in peril. I was more than happy to endorse her book as her interpretation made me want to hang out and get drunk with Sheba and then get tattoos. (and also with Tosca… ya hear me Tosca?! Come out to Portland and let’s hang!)

The Queen of Sheba is a strong read, steady-paced read. Tosca is herself the QUEEN of historical details and is like a time-machine engineer. She takes you there in the story, and God knows I adore travelling.


My endorsement

I have two copies of Sheba on my shelf. One is my personal copy, and the other is an advanced copy meant for reviewers. I am going to give away my advanced copy to a lucky reader who leaves a comment.

If you like novels, especially historical ones, get Tosca Lee on your radar.  She is a strong, sensual writer who hooks and holds you with her mesmerizing-badass-storytelling voice.

So leave a comment up and maybe you’ll win the review copy. Winner announced in the comments early next week.

Teaser :::::  ART SERIES coming at ya!




The Queen of Sheba and I — 57 Comments

  1. I just re-visited your blog that I used to feed on regularly, years ago. So I guess am too late for the copy of Sheeba.

    Am a photographer/photojournalist/Fine Art Photographer based in Mumbai, India. Its nice if this delayed note connects us.


  2. I have heard so many good things about Tosca Lee! I have been reading a lot of Biblical fiction lately! In The Field of Grace by Tessa Afhar was my most recent!


    So many great comments I decided I could not pick a winner based on a comment. I have a new fancy laptop that also has touch screen so I closed my eyes and flicked the screen up and down to make it scroll kind of like a slot machine and then pointed my finger to make it stop … and my finger landed on … drumroll …..

    CHERI !!!!!!

    Yay Cheri! Email me your mailing address and I will get the advanced copy of The Legend of Sheba mailed out to you this week. Congratz!!

    Thanks again everyone for stopping by, especially Tosca’s fans, and extra thanks to those who decided to also subscribe to my blog. I look forward to getting to know my new readers!!

  4. I would love to read Tosca’s book! We (my husband and I) have read a couple of them and love her work! Great blog, by the way.

    • Hi Melissa, thanks so much for commenting and for checking out my blog. (I hope you’ll consider subscribing…had to plug it… 🙂 ) That’s awesome you and your husband read the same novels. My husband Jerry does not read books. But he does read my blog!

  5. I actually like christian novels as long as they are historically accurate so I am really looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for the review.

    • hi Alisa, thanks for leaving a comment. Tosca is famous for her research so whatever story she spins you can trust that she is using as much accurate background as she can. I hope you’ll read Sheba and her other novels. I’m sure you’ll like her storytelling style. Thanks again for your comment!

  6. I first heard of her when she and Ted Dekker and co-wrote together. Since then I’ve read a few of her books and love her writing and story telling. I enjoy historical fiction stories and imagine what it was like to live back then and picture the story in my mind just to enjoy it a little more.

    • Thanks for your comment Kelly. I have yet to read one of the collaborations with Dekker. I read a trilogy by him years ago that was pretty amazing. Other than that i am unfamiliar with his writing. But yeah, Tosca is amazing taking the reader on a journey through time. Love how she can do that.

    • Hi Stella, Thanks for commenting. I LOVED Havah. I never considered Eve’s point of view. Tosca does a superb job surprising readers with a different, unexpected perspective. Sheba stays on that course!

  7. Tosca has an incredible ability to take undesirable or somewhat ignored characters in Christian legend and history and underscore their humanity. In my opinion, there hasn’t been a single character she’s tackled that hasn’t turned into persons we can understand, support, and walk away a bit troubled by.

    A friend of mine, Kaci Hill, first sent me Havah; it still haunts me, and I have never been able to look at Eve, Adam, and their children as I did before. Iscariot did something very similar: I knew she was writing about Judas, and waited through those long years of research and rewriting, but I did not expect what she produced. I not only sympathize with Judas, but I actually hope that she got his story and motivations right.

    Humans are complicated creates, and I think Tosca has perfected the art of doing that complexity justice. I look forward to reading The Legend of Sheba!

    • Hi Holli, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I definitely plan to read Iscariot after Demon. I am glad to hear she wrote about judas in a sympathetic way. I talked several years ago with a theologian friend of mine about Judas as I was curious if he was such the a-hole that preachers make him out to be. My friend offered other insights about Judas that painted him in a different picture than I had. I’d love to read Tosca’s interpretation of his tragic life. I’m sure you will enjoy Sheba. Thanks again for commenting!

    • Hi Richard, thanks for your comment which made me laugh outloud!!! I thought about rewriting this entire blog post as I meant it to be much more about her and her book than me and my endorsement-makin’ rockstar self. But alas, the occupational hazard of blogging is most definitely self-indulgence, so I allowed myself to indulge and posted it for all to see. 🙂

      Tosca is truly a wonderful and unique storyteller. She’s got a bit of grit and sass to her voice. I hope you’ll read Sheba or Havah or any one of her books.

      Thanks again for your hilarious comment!!

  8. Well, ya got me! I’m going to read it then. I’m not all that cool with Christian novels; don’t generally read them at all now because I have only occasionally not been disappointed.

    However, I do think that it would be great if Christians could write great novels that are not necessarily considered to be Christian fiction, but fiction with a biblical world view, and therefore occasionally I have a go at it again.

    I’m too far away for you to send me your free copy, but I will download it … should be in Australia, shouldn’t it!

    • Hello BEV !!! Did you find a downloadable copy on Amazon? I bet you will enjoy her novels since it sounds like you and are similar in our aversion for xtian fiction. Let me know if her storytelling style takes to you. Thanks for your comment !!

  9. Pingback: » The Queen of Sheba and I

  10. OMG, I love Tosca Lee! Have you read Demon? I haven’t read her new book yet, and it is on my reading list, and now I want to read it even more. Especially now knowing that your endorsement is in there. Glad you gave her books a chance even though you don’t like Christian novels. Don’t judge me that I do. 🙂

    • Hi Kim, thanks for your comment. I am about to read Demon soon as it is next on my reading list and I’ve already downloaded it. I’m glad I gave Tosca a chance too, and NO I don’t judge you or anyone who reads and enjoys christian fiction. Variety is the spice of life!!!! Thanks again for your comment!

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