"A tale about breasts"?: My review of Desired by Ginger Garrett

Did the title of my post shock you and make you question a site that is supposed to promote Christian fiction? Have no fear! I am not about to review a racy romance where heaving bosoms abound!

Recently, I stumbled upon Ginger Garrett's latest novel, Desired: The Untold Story of Samson & Delilah and discovered an enticing and godly read, though one that did cause my eyes to widen a bit when I read the phrase "I will begin my story with a tale about breasts, where all good tales probably begin".

Desired brings to life the story of Samson, as told through the eyes of his first Philistine wife Amara, his mother, and his final love, the prostitute Delilah. The novel brings to life Judges chapters 13-16 from the Old Testament in the Bible, beginning with Samson's marriage to his Philistine bride, his slaying of thirty Philistines after his wife betrays him, and his use of foxes to burn her village. Garrett faithfully follows the Biblical account in all it's strange and wonderful detail, moving from these events to Samson's downfall through Delilah's actions.

I must admit that in the past I have read the account of Samson and wondered, at times, what God's purpose was in Samson's life and in the account of his life. For the first time, I have gained some understanding. Garrett has utterly blessed me by bringing Samson to life, fleshing out the thoughts and motives of each character. I leave the book pondering God's miracle of involvement in our lives, and the stunning contrast between God's grace as offered through Jesus, and the reality of what our world would look like with a completely human saviour like Samson, someone who used God's gifts for his own selfish purposes, and who paid the price as a result. How often do I use what God has given me, just for me? How often do I act like Samson (though lacking, of course, his cool superhuman strength).

I truly dare you to pick up this book and be able to put it down any time soon. I was immediately swept up in the ancient world, vividly portrayed through the author's expert pen. The story is sweeping, powerful, the characters painted in deep hues, the customs of the culture shocking and fascinating at the same time. Yet as shocking as aspects of the culture were that are portrayed in the pages of Desired, I quickly realized that our culture is not so different, celebrating open sexuality and perversion and all manner of excesses. How history is being repeated today among nations that were once considered "Christian"! This is, indeed, a sobering thought.

I have written far more than I planned, because the message of this book, the message of God's word and of Samson's story, will long linger on my mind.

Read this book. You will walk away forever changed in your understanding of Samson and his life. I cannot recommend this book higher. 5 out of 5 stars.

A galley of the book was provided by the publisher David C. Cook via netgalley for the purposes of this unbiased review.