The 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.
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.
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!