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Asenath by Anna Patricio


by Anna Patricio

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Book provided by author for review.
Review originally published on my blog AWordsWorth.blogspot.com

From humble beginnings as the daughter of a fisherman in a small river village, Kiya's life is turned upside down time after time - first by raiders who ransack her village, killing her parents, then by the High Priest Lord Pentephres who brings her to the Temple in Heliopolis and later adopts her. Struggling to maintain her own identity, even as she adjusts to her new life as a member of the nobility, Asenath (as she is now known), grows into a striking young woman. Not just in terms of her beauty and height, but in terms of her person. Asenath is not content to sit idly by and while away her time in luxury, so she begins tutoring children of her parents' friends. Her heart is not bound by the structure of Egyptian society, and she sees the "slaves" around her as people - a compassion perhaps encouraged by her own humble beginnings. Asenath's unwillingness to conform to class distinction is tested - and proven true - when she meets Lord Potiphar's steward Joseph.

Joseph is both an indentured servant and a Hebrew - two strikes against him in the eyes of most Egyptians, but especially Lord Pentephres, who desires Asenath to marry someone of distinction and standing. At first, Asenath just feels an undeniable attraction to Joseph: he makes her feel safe, and he's gorgeous. (Good reasons, no?) But as they become friends through correspondence, she starts to feel a stronger connection. Trials come once more when Potiphar's wife accuses Joseph of attempting to rape her, and he is thrown in prison. During the long years of Joseph's imprisonment, Asenath continues to grow and develop into a charming, accomplished and very genuine young lady. Finding herself employed by Pharaoh's wife as Royal Tutor, she thanks "the God of my dear one" for the chance to be so close - even if still so far - to Joseph. When the story picks back up the familiar Biblical tale of Joseph and Pharaoh's dreams, Asenath finds herself once more in the company of Joseph - and undeniably falling deeply in love.

The course of true love never did run smooth, but everything Asenath and Joseph endure makes their love stronger - and helps burn the dross from each, so their characters are as strong and admirable as their love is true. Their relationship is a beautiful story, and as an imagining of how things may have played out, once upon a time...well, let's just say I find myself hoping something as beautiful is the true story. (There's a particularly telling incident early in the story that comes back into play later, and it made my heart smile). Asenath is not only the story of Asenath and Joseph however: it offers a wonderfully detailed glimpse at Egyptian society and culture. As an Art History minor and History major, I was thrilled to see so many familiar names and references. And the details Patricio paid to the dress and jewels and decor - lovely, simply lovely. ( )
  RivkaBelle | Mar 19, 2012 |
I usually avoid reading novels about Biblical figures because they never seem to match my idea of what those figures are like, but there was something about "Asenath" that made me really want to read this one.

Told through the eyes of Asenath, one quickly develops a connection with her. She's strong, captivating, innocent and curious, and most of all, she has a beautiful heart. At a young age, she was captured and enslaved, then was adopted by an Egyptian priest and priestess. Her life runs parallel to Joseph's and it only seems natural that she would befriend him. This creates a captivating and quite well written love story that brings to life Egypt during the time of Joseph and makes the reader feel like they are there and involved instead of "watching" from the sidelines.

There were a few times this novel didn't ring authentic for me. I couldn't help but wonder if women really were allowed to travel alone or with only one male? I got the sense that it was "normal" then, but it didn't feel "right" to me. I kept wondering why women weren't required to protect their virtue like they did later on in history. I also had trouble getting used to modern language being used in a story of a different time period. One example that sticks out in my mind was when Asenath was "hanging out" with her animals. I would find that after allowing myself to be "transported" back to that time, sometimes the 21st century phrases would break the "mood" for me and I'd remember I was reading a book.

These details shouldn't dissuade one from reading "Asenath", but it did keep me from rating this as a 5 star book. The story itself was very captivating and most definitely worth reading! Anna Patricia did a wonderful job capturing the essence of what I would imagine Joseph and Asenath to be like. ( )
  tweezle | Feb 22, 2012 |
Asenath’s story begins as Kiya, a peasant girl living on the banks of the Nile. She is kidnapped by Egypt’s enemies and upon her rescue is sent to the temple in Heliopolis. She is adopted by the Chief Priest of Atum-Re and given the new name of Asenath. Her new station requires adjustment. At a party, Asenath meets a servant of her father’s friend. The striking Canaanite, Joseph is the stuff dreams are made of. Handsome, polite and charming, Joseph also catches the eye of his owner’s wife. When he refuses her advances, she accuses him of rape. Joseph is thrown in prison just when Asenath is falling in love with him. She knows she must wait for this man. Time drags and Asenath grows more despondent by the day. After becoming the royal tutor, Asenath learns that the Pharaoh is having troublesome dreams. The Egyptian magicians, including Asenath’s childhood friend, are unable to interpret the dream. Asenath remembers Joseph and soon he is standing before the Pharaoh. Joseph interprets the dream and earns the title of Vizier. Asenath’s love for Joseph blooms, much to the dismay of her father. She continues to court Joseph and they marry after their union is blessed by the Pharaoh.
Asenath is the fictionalized story of the biblical wife of Joseph. Her simple peasant life is made hard by her adoption. I wish that her gratefulness would have lasted throughout the book. I found her verging on major teenage angst at some points. I also was a little discouraged at some of the modern language that was used in the dialogue.
I wish that the reader would have had a better insight to the married life of Asenath and Joseph. She seemed like a wonderful wife that was accepting of her husband’s family.
This would be a good book for teenagers and those who want to learn about the biblical character of Asenath. ( )
  allisonmacias | Feb 10, 2012 |
Book Description:
Two Destinies...One Journey of Love
In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman's daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.
When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.
Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace...and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master's wife and thrown into prison.
Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I thought the author did a wonderful job of bringing to life a woman we know little about. It's really Asenath's journey and how it intersects with Joseph. I liked the way she portrayed Joseph. He was really just as I would have imagined him to be. The story is written in first person from Asenath's point of view. Although the first person POV is not my favorite, I really felt it worked for this story. As a reader, we were able to get a glimpse into the Egyptian culture and what they believed. I don't often read Biblical fiction but this is one I would definitely recommend. As the author points out in her note at the end of the book, little is know about Asenath so she was able to let her imagination run wild. I thought she came up with a very believable story and one I really enjoyed reading. A thank you goes to the author for providing me with a complimentary copy for my review. ( )
  love2readnovels | Jan 16, 2012 |
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