Book Review: Delilah by India Edghill

I borrowed this book from the local public library.

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This attempt at biblical fiction not a re-telling of the story of Samson, but a complete overhaul of the familiar story – a re-imagining if you will. The bible doesn’t tell us much about Samson’s wife, or even Delilah (except that she was beautiful, Samson’s love, of the Valley of Sorek and one heck of a nag), so a lot is left to the imagination.

Even though she is barely mentioned in the bible, Delilah is almost synonymous with the ultimate vixen but in this book she is re-imagined as a priestess who loves to dance.
Samson, the biblical superman, is re-imagined as a kind hearted man whose feats are only attributed to him by the Israelites, yet he wants no part in their war or their cause.

Along the way we are introduced to several others fascinating characters Alyah – Delilah’s best friend and “heart sister and polar opposite in looks, as well as Orev – Samson’s best friend, companion and Harper extraordinaire.

The author India Edghill, just like the bible, plays a lot with names and their meanings – Delilah – the dark-as-night haired beauty, Samson – Son of the Sun, Orev – the crow (messenger of death) and Alyah – which in Hebrew means “rising” and it seemed fitting in the story the author tells.
(Note: that is how I chose to interpret the names.)

The book is broken up into parts which correspond, and bear the title, of Delilah’s stages in becoming a Priestess (New Moon, Rising Moon, Full Moon etc.) since that is a big part of the story, as well as the social and political structure of the culture (I don’t know if they were accurate, but nonetheless fascinating). There are many underlying themes in the book of cultural, class and personal clashes which I thought were very clever.

I have enjoyed “Delilah” very much – it is a fantastical re-imagining of a familiar story. Once you get through the first several pages the story becomes engrossing and Ms. Edghill weaves the story in a clear manner, even though there are many events which take place. This is a big story, love and love lost, betrayal and faith, friendship, greed, honor and cunning.

The book is written in the biblical-fiction style of one chapter told from a perspective of one characters (Delilah, Samson, Alyah, etc.) even though some of the chapters about Samson are told through the eyes of Orev.

If you are not familiar with the biblical story of Samson, I recommend reading it before you read this book just to be familiar with the references the author makes, and then you’ll be the Judge (pun intended).

My rating for Delilah: A Novel – 5
Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree with my review, or just to say hello.

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