The Tomb: A Novel of MarthaStephanie Landsem
In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life. Everyone in Bethany admires Mar... Read More
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Feb 23, 2015
- UPC: 9781451689129
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 352
- Publish Date: Mar 17, 2015
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 1451689128
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Review from Rambles of a SAHM by Fitzysmom on 6/3/2015
Stephanie Landsem continues to captivate me with her Biblical fiction. If you have ever found the Bible to be a dull read check out one of her books. I can almost guarantee that you will want to dig deeper into Scripture to discover more about the people and places she has fictionalized in her stories.
The Tomb centers on the story of siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. While Landsem has chosen to take a bit of license with the timeline of events and added in some what ifs, the story itself allows these well known historical figures to blossom. She has added in supporting roles that may very well have been accurate but we don't know because Scripture doesn't say. For instance we know a bit about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus but virtually nothing about their relatives and neighbors. I found the addition of these characters to enhance the story without detracting from the truths that are contained in Scripture.
I particularly enjoyed exploring the facets of Martha. Why did she act the way she did? Who was she besides Mary and Lazarus's sister? Did she ever marry? Did she have children? I could also ask those same questions about Mary and Lazarus. Frankly we don't know. Landsem has done a masterful job of walking the tightrope of historical fiction. She stays fairly accurate on known facts but allows her pen to put down some intriguing what if scenarios. I enjoyed the story immensely and look forward to reading many more of her books.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
- Christian Shelf-Esteem's review of The Tomb by Amanda on 3/6/2015
The Tomb is unexpected, memorable and touching. Stephanie Landsem takes a few risks in the fictional retelling of Martha’s life which really pay off. Whereas the bible portrays a close friendship between Lazarus and his siblings with Jesus, the author expands this to include a kinship. Playing on the familial connection, the author paints the Bethany trio as lifelong companions of Jesus who must wrestle with His true identity as he moves into ministry. When readers entertain this connection, the struggle that unfolds is quite thought-provoking. Could you believe that someone you grew up with was the promised Messiah?
Landsem’s writing creates for her audience a heartfelt understanding and empathy for the character of Martha. She has gone beyond the usual busy-body stereotype to give Martha’s life depth and dimension within the confines of first-century culture in Bethany. In the story, Martha acts as a dutiful daughter, perfect homemaker, and an outwardly righteous woman. The spiritual lesson for the reader lies in the cost of maintaining this illusion of perfection. Between Martha’s inward dialogue and her interactions with other characters I understood that though outwardly her life was one to be envied, inwardly she felt lonely and disingenuous. Martha’s story prompted me to take a look not only at the work I do, but also at my motives for doing them.
I have a few final thoughts in regards to the overall composition of the novel. To begin, the dialog between Martha and the rest of the characters, even the unspoken interactions between Martha and her maid Penina, kept me engaged. I enjoyed the pace that the author established as well as how she used every character and conversation to draw me deeper into the message. In The Tomb, Landsem has chosen to layer a few biblical accounts over one another in unexpected ways. With the exception of the demon possessed man not returning to the Decapolis (Mark 5:20), I enjoyed the liberties she took with the timeline of the biblical accounts. Overall, The Tomb was a delightfully executed work of biblical fiction.
I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.”