WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Unveiled by Francine Rivers
Type: Bible Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Basic Plot: Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, lives a life of abuse and neglect from everyone she knows. Eventually she overcomes the abuse in her life through the power of God.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: Considering Tamar is an often overlooked character of the Bible, the book makes for an interesting read. Tamar is little discussed and written about, especially when compared to more famous women like Ruth, Esther, and the Marys. For many years, I thought of her as merely a wicked woman that had slept with her father-in-law for no apparent reason, but this book kind of explains some customs and situations that may prove otherwise. Now, Francine Rivers is not Bible, of course, but she does open some new perspectives on the story I had never considered. Delving into characters hearts, the author creates a world that is raw and heart breaking, showing a what-if of Tamar and her life that attempted to be as accurate as possible. Another thing I liked was the lack of emphasis on romance. Though I like a good romance story, it was nice to see a Christian fiction book with a different topic, dark as it was.
Writing Style and Setup: 3½/5 Above Average: The story was written in a simple, not too descriptive style. Francine Rivers uses pretty descriptions of people’s personalities and natures. It lacked dullness and awkwardness that many romance novels tend to have.
The story was well paced for a novella. Events moved at a quick pace that did not take away from the characters and details.
Moral: 3/5 Good Application: The moral of Unveiled is one of persistence in good behavior, treating others well despite the abuse one may suffer. It also portrays a deep regard for respect for one’s superiors and meekness. All of these are well portrayed in the characters and the eventual consequences following good and bad behavior.
At the end of the book is a devotional, encouraging women to be both meek and courageous in the face of mistreatment.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I have to say that this is the best Christian fiction book I have read in a long time. I don’t like most Christian fiction books, but this one does a better job than most I have read.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Mature Non-Descriptive Sexual Content: It mentions indirectly that a man spilled his semen on the ground, and in the devotional the verse directly says it. A woman brings the cloth to her father-in-law to prove it. A woman sleeps with her father-in-law so that she can bare his family a child. She does this by pretending she is a prostitute. It is mentioned that priestesses “perform public intercourse” to try to arouse Baal. A man says he will devote his daughter to this, and his wife is relieved when she knows it won’t happen. A woman performs superstitious rituals in an attempt to increase fertility and sensual love. A woman tells her son that he will die if he sleeps with a woman. A man tells his daughter to “play the harlot” so that she can have a child. She refuses. A man attempts to kiss a woman and he succeeds at caressing her and kissing her neck. A man kisses a woman’s palm in a platonic manner. It is mentioned that a woman is dressed a certain way to hide the fact that she is not curvy. Some parents save some blood soiled cloth in case they have to prove their daughter is able to bare children. It is mentioned that a woman was raped. There is frequent reference to a woman’s cycle. A woman hopes that a “boy’s lust will turn to love;” though it doesn’t. It is mentioned that a man married a woman for lustful reasons. A woman says and thinks she is being treated like a “harlot” and a “prostitute.” It is mentioned that characters “made crude jests.” A woman asks another who the second has “lain with.” A woman is called a “harlot.” It is mentioned that a man had no concubines. It is mentioned that a town has several harlots. It is mentioned that a man slept with prostitutes to try to forget his sins. A woman asks a man if another woman was “dressed as a harlot;” she wasn’t.It is mentioned that a man circumcises his children and that some grown men were circumcised. A woman allows a servant to watch her and her father-in-law to maintain her reputation. A woman is mentioned to be “buxom,” though it is not mentioned in a sexual way. None of the sexual scenes themselves are described, outside of the fact that a man spills his semen.
Violence: 2½/5 Abuse and Light Mentioned Violence: It mentions throughout the book that a man beats his wife, though the scenes are never shown. A man pinches his wife. A man knocks a woman over. A man talks about tripping a blind man over and mocking him. A man and woman get in a verbal fight that happens away from the main character; this fight includes throwing things. A father beats on his daughter once or twice, once accompanied by his brothers, and it is lightly described how the woman fights back. A woman threatens to beat and even kill her daughter if she acts a certain way. A woman yanks her daughter’s hair. A man mentions that his brother used to beat him. A man asks a woman if he has hit her to defend himself. It is mentioned that a woman once slapped her daughter-in-law. A man pushes a woman and bumps “a counter.” It briefly mentions once that a woman cuts herself to worship her false gods. Two men die from unknown causes. A man says he will burn his own child to the false gods, and his wife is relieved when she knows it won’t happen. A woman breaks an idol. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned. It is mentioned that some men destroyed a city. The performing of animal sacrifices is mentioned. A man thinks he should have spanked his children more. A man says that he’d “rather be stung by a scorpion” than be waited on by his wife. It mentions that a woman knows how men can be violent when they are angry.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention and Non-Swearing: It mentions that characters curse each other and call each other by rude names. It mentions that a man swears once, though it does not say what he said. A woman is called a “harlot” at least once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½ /5 Emotional and Physical Abuse: A woman goes through a lot of emotional stress throughout the book, as she is ignored and abused emotionally by her family. A man is depressed and frequently thinks about how he sold his own brother into slavery. Characters cry a lot because of sad and fearful situations and abusive treatment. Characters die from divine intervention and disease. Several people are glad after a man has died. A woman mentions that she wishes a man would die, and later she talks about wanting a woman killed. A man wants to burn a woman rather than stone her so that it will be more painful. A woman’s servant worries that her mistress will be unable to have a child because the lady is being beaten. Women scream from being beaten and from other character’s deaths. Characters frequently threaten or hint at killing each other, though never does this actually happen. When a woman says she would “rather be dead,” a man says “don’t tempt me.” A woman tells another, in an attempt at kindness, that she hopes her friend miscarries. It mentions that a man sometimes wants to “hurl a spear” at his children. A woman thinks that suicide would be preferable than being a priestess. A woman wonders what will happen to her when her father dies. The second woman says she would hope that she dies if that happened. It is mentioned that men had fevers. A man believes that his brother is dead and says that he is; though he isn’t. A man says that God “can crush a man’s life with a thought.” A man talks about wanting to kill his sheep. It is mentioned that animals and plants die from various causes. The story of Joseph and his brothers is told, including the desire to kill Joseph, throwing him into a pit, selling him as a slave, and covering his clothes with animal blood after killing a goat. It is mentioned that a woman has a black eye, bruises, and blood wounds, all from domestic abuse. A woman’s hair is pulled and hurts.
In the devotional, it mentions that Joseph’s brothers are willing to let one of them die if it is found out he is a thief. It also mentions that a man will die of depression if his son is lost.
Religious Issues: 2/5 Brief, Descriptive Pagan Practices Viewed Negatively: Characters pray and burn incense to false gods. Characters exclaim things like “by the gods” a few times. A woman that is portrayed as wicked criticizes her daughter-in-law for not worshipping false gods. It is mentioned that to worship false gods, characters burn their living children and “perform public intercourse,” and a man promises to force his children into this. He doesn’t. A woman performs a ritual in an attempt to cleanse evil spirits from a building. The ritual is described in detail, but later it shows that the woman has a change of heart, praying to God instead. When a woman breaks an idol, her friend is briefly afraid of “the spirits” attacking. A man says he will tell his family that “the gods” have prevented his wife from having a child. A woman briefly wonders if there is no god before deciding that that is a silly idea. It is mentioned that a woman frequently has visits from a medium. It is mentioned that a man wants favor form various gods and that his wife makes a priestess outfit every year for their daughter. God is sometimes written “god” when non-believers refer to him. False gods are occasionally mentioned by name. Fate is briefly mentioned once in speech. “Haunted” is used for descriptive purposes.
The NLT version of the Bible is used. Some think that the salvation message in the devotional presents it to sound like one must merely say a prayer to be saved, mentioning the “prayer of salvation.”
Magic: 1/5 Brief Mention: A woman accuses and believes her daughter-in-law is a witch that killed her sons with magic spells; but she isn’t. A woman says she will curse a household, but she is stopped before she can.
Others: Wine is mentioned, and characters are sometimes drunk. Dancing is mentioned once for a description of ones emotions. “Gambling” is used for descriptive purposes. A woman plays a drum while a couple makes love.
Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: I would not recommend this book morally to anyone under twenty-one. Thought he descriptions are not at all sensual, the book covers sexual taboos and subjects that many Christians may not feel comfortable reading about. Some may reasonably not want to read it at all.
For the review of the next book, Unashamed, go here! https://christianentertainmentreviews.blog/2018/02/20/a-book-review-of-unashamed/