Book Review: Daughter of Eden

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better book to read today than one reflecting on the love God showed when He created humans in His image? A story about a Creator Who loves us no matter how many times we make mistakes and choose our path instead of His. All we need to do is choose Him, and continue to choose Him daily.

Daughter of Eden: Eve’s Story releases today!

Book Description

The first time she opens her eyes, Eve gazes on One whose beauty nearly blinds her, whose breath is in her lungs. Her Creator takes her hand and gives her to one like her and yet different. Together, she and Adam experience pure joy as they explore Eden. But her favorite moments are when the Creator comes to walk with them, day after day.

Until everything changes. With one act of disobedience, Eve finds that her world is no longer a friendly place. With remorse in her heart, she must face the unknown future–the births, the deaths, the sacrifices, the loss of the one home she has ever known. Perhaps worst of all is the loss of trust, not only with her Creator but with the man who shares her life. How will they ever survive out of Eden?

Bestselling biblical fiction author Jill Eileen Smith imagines the life of the first woman to ever live, unspooling a story of love, loss, and the promise of redemption.

My Review

I have no doubt that Biblical fiction is a difficult genre to write, forgetting the “now,” and focusing only on the “then.” Even harder, I would assume, is writing a story on someone we know so little about: Adam and Eve. But that is exactly what Jill Eileen Smith set out to do with her novel, Daughter of Eden. A book that focuses on the people rather than a quick story of creation, deception, rebellion, and ultimately, exile. Smith dared to imagine what these first humans thought, what they felt, and what they did while they were in the most beautiful, most safe place ever created. A couple who walked daily with God.

And she didn’t stop with the garden. She continued their story after the exile. How did they live? They had nothing, and from that had to make shelter, tools, even dishes and beds. She explored personal relationships, first with Adam and Eve, and then with each child they bore (or, at least, a handful of them). In the Bible, we’re told three names. Cain, Able, Seth. And then the adage, “…and had other sons and daughters.” We know the genealogy of one son out of many, and yet, Smith created the characters to help move the story along and allow the messages within to gain a foothold.

I loved the way that Eve’s concerns for her relationship with Adam, and her concern for her children, echoed so many of our concerns today. For one, she wanted her children to follow God, to devote their lives to Him. But no matter how much we teach them about the Way, the ultimate decision is in their hands, and like Cain, some stray and never return. Some may stray and return, and still others stay the course, making simple mistakes here and there.

And speaking of mistakes, there were times when Eve would question the “what ifs.” What if she stayed away from the tree? What if she quelled her desire and listened to God’s instructions? How many times do we do this ourselves, even questioning what would happen if they had never eaten the fruit?
At times, Eve even worried about what Adam thought of her since she blamed herself for the life they were now living.

As a whole, I enjoyed reading this story and going a little deeper into who Adam and Eve could have been. There were times I did have to question if this or that really would have happened, and I continued to refer back to my Bible to make sense of what I was reading, or to remind myself of the specific part of the story I was reading about. Honestly, I think it’s great when a book leads you to refer back to the Good Book, even if you find the information to be contradictory (which, by the way, I did not).

I had the same questions with the spiritual aspect as well, wondering if, perhaps, the conversations Eve had with her family were a little too New Testament. However, we have no idea what God told them back then. Perhaps they knew more than we think, and the messages over the many, many years were lost until they returned with Jesus. Or perhaps it was Smith’s way of bringing in the Savior to remind the reader what God has done for us and how good He is.

In the end, the author showed us that Adam and Eve were people just like us, with their own struggles, trying to figure out their new life and living it the best they could. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I would even suggest reading it with someone else and dissecting the deeper meanings that come with it.

I received a copy of Daughter of Eden: Eve’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith thanks to Revell and NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Wives of the Patriarchs, Daughters of the Promised Land, the Heart of the King, and Star of Persia, Esther’s Story, along with the nonfiction books When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Learn more about Jill Eileen Smith and her books on her website

Released January 31st, 2023

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