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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
People of the Judeo-Christian faith are well versed in the story of Moses and how he led the people of Israel to freedom in the Promised Land. Those who read the Torah and the Old Testament of the Bible often question why God would not allow Moses to complete his journey into the Promised Land. It’s a 3500-year-old mystery that has been argued and discussed at great length. Perhaps the answer lies in the untold stories of the people who did make it to the Promised Land, like Caleb, the Israelite stone cutter slave from Pharaoh’s Egypt, and Mishael, the Witch of Midian. Two lives, two peoples. Their faith in the God of their respective ancestors had their own struggles and challenges, but ultimately remained intact when brought together: Caleb and Mishael and their peoples, the Israelites from Egypt and the descendants of Midian.
Michael R. Adele’s novel, The God of Our Ancestors, presents a narrative of two individuals and two groups. The story is told in the first person, from the perspective of the two main characters, Caleb and Mishael, although the opening is told by the parents who celebrate their respective child’s birth. The narrative is written as the stories in the Bible were told, presented by a storyteller, whom we discover at the end is a woman who was taught to read and write when neither was common for either her position in life or for a woman. “As the Promised Land approached, I became obsessed with the urge to write – to tell the story of two peoples and one God.” Two peoples and one God – are we not still a world full of different peoples and one God: different faiths and interpretations of the writings of our faith?
The author has presented a story, a narrative, that addresses these key issues to a people still divided 3500 years later, a people who still fight for their beliefs, no matter the cost of human life. We live in an unsettled time, not so different than the time of our ancestors. And the God of today is still the God of our ancestors. A story with depth that challenges the reader to think deeply on the parallels of past and present. We still have much to learn from our ancestors.