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Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (A Dangerous…

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel)

by Angela Hunt

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Whether it’s contemporary women’s fiction or Biblical fiction, I have found all of Angela Hunt’s novels to be excellent choices. Her writing style suits me, and she always has well-developed characters. So when it came to choosing a novel for a Faith And Fiction Bible study I lead, my first choice was Delilah: Treacherous Beauty. Taking a well-known story, Hunt has created a novel with a credible backstory and a lead character more human than the evil harlot most often depicted. My group found the book highly readable, and found it caused us to re-read the Scripture — a double win for us. We rate Delilah highly recommended.

I maintain that writing Biblical fiction is extremely difficult, more so than a more typical historical novel. The writer has to maintain authenticity and keep true to scripture while creating not a dusty commentary, but an intriguing and readable book. Hunt showed she did her homework in her depiction of the culture of the time of the Judges. Her re-telling of the Biblical narrative was faithfully rendered. She didn’t limit her story to only what was going on in Judges 13-16, but included details from other contemporary scripture creating a well-rounded view of the life and times of the characters. Characterization was excellent in Delilah. The story is told from the first person viewpoints of Samson and Delilah giving insight into their motivations and feelings. Yes this book is fiction and some liberty had to be taken, but I never felt anything was inappropriate or unbelievable. As a compliment to the Bible study, Delilah really was a great choice. Even the non-readers of the group enjoyed a fresh look at the Bible. And as stated above, this novel had us double checking what we read in our Bible. We had missed or overlooked some things, that proved to be important to understanding what God was actually doing. One member of my group stated that the story we learned as children was more complex than thought. And God does show up in this novel. Hunt weaves His presence and His truth throughout the book.

For fans of Biblical fiction, Delilah is a must read. It is part of the Dangerous Beauty series, but each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Oct 6, 2017 |
"Perhaps it was his use of the word half-breed, but in that shadowy chamber I realized why Achish hated me. I was not a mistress, not a slave. Not a Philistine, an Israelite, or even a Canaanite. Not a Cushite, not an Egyptian. Not worthy of any kind of respect or recognition.
"I was an other."

I wondered what kind of angle author Angela Hunt would take on such a notorious woman from the Bible in Delilah: Treacherous Beauty. And I respect the angle.

I'll admit I had a hard time deciding whether or not I would read this book. Though I've read and enjoyed many novels from this ChristFic publisher, it's not hard to see they don't put out many books with brown faces on the covers, especially books unrelated to slavery/the American Civil War. I wasn't exactly thrilled when, finally seeing a new release with a brown face, it was there to portray a figure widely regarded as nothing more than a seductress: a woman who must appear in the Scriptures only to warn people of the dangers of unfaithfulness, manipulation, and sexual indiscretion. Because there is a wider problem in the arts world concerning women of color being relegated to sex symbol roles—yeah. I wasn't sure if I'd read this novel.

Yet, considering this is an author whose work I trust, I eventually figured there had to be something deeper she'd be doing with this character. And the author does indeed humanize Delilah. She's not depicted as a perfect person, of course, but she's fully human. As is Samson. They're both outcasts, in different ways. And their artfully woven story is a human story.

Now, I do feel that in a couple places, Delilah and Samson don't make total sense. It seems their characterizations and the story's timing isn't always the most natural, as if the flow of the novel has an awkward time meshing with some of its necessary biblical points. Still, I accept that ancient stories won't always make complete 21st Century sense, and the way the author ultimately brings it all together in the last few chapters is what tipped me over into five stars. In tears.

It's a tragic story in so many ways, but its illustration of the impact of faith and love in imperfect people's lives gives this novel its power. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Jul 30, 2016 |
I received this as a review copy. I enjoy historical fiction and this did not disappoint me. The story revolves around the lives of both Samson and Delilah. It is a story of inter-faith and intercultural relationships. Delilah meets Samson when she is young although he does not remember the meeting. Delilah has a strong wish for revenge against her stepbrother who abused her and sold her mother into slavery. Samson has a wish for revenge against the same man for taking his future bride. Over the years, both pursue their paths until they come together and unite. Eventually, Delilah gets her revenge but at a great price. The story of Samson and Delilah with a twist ( )
  Pat2011 | Jul 25, 2016 |
**Actual rating: 2.5/3 stars. May contain spoilers***

Putting aside the fact that I rather enjoy stories, which take well-known myths or pieces of history and adds a bit of content and character to the legends, so I commend the author for doing that with the story of Delilah & Samson for attempting to bring history and personality to these two characters. Based off of what I know and understand about their connection, Delilah is believed to have been heartless and money-driven Philistine, (perhaps, even a Israeli who betrayed Samson for money) who tricked Samson into falling for her only to betray him. Where as Samson is portrayed as this powerful, physical and influential, protector/savior for the Israeli people who fell in love with a beautiful trickster.

However, Angela Hunt depicts the story of two young individuals from two different worlds are forced into some of the most unpredictable of circumstances; particularly, Delilah, in this case.

With that being said, I gave this book 3-stars based off the lack of progressive growth among the main characters, the decision to link Delilah’s lineage to Southern Egypt/Ethiopia and the sluggish pacing of the narrative which did not always grab or hold my attention.

Regrettably, it seemed as though it was longer than it needed to be. It also did not help the fact that for most of the book both Samson and Delilah’s personalities remain consistently the same, despite the passage of time: naive and passive, respectfully. It was bothersome to continuously watch Samson breeze past warnings and times for caution and to see Delilah’s character be passively lead and directed from one place to another, from Egypt to Gaza and to the Valley of Sorek etc. and never seem to be present.

Moreover, while some will object to Delilah’s lineage being connected to Southern Egypt/Ethiopia due to believability and accurately, my issue with it was on a different scale. In fact, I loved the idea. It was another reason I was interested in reading this book. Delilah in Hebrew is after all Layla, meaning darkness (be it a play or words or not in correlation to the woman’s skin tone). Whats more, research has proven that over and over and over again, Delilah’s background, lineage and original allegiance ties were never made clear. She seemed to be a “nobody.”

Subsequently, this brings the focus to one of the topics I tussled with while reading this book. With the amount of misogyny/ patriarchal disadvantages the women in this novel (and time period) faced, I felt it was entirely possible that the threat of slavery was something that could have been left out. As a result, it made me distrust the author's sincerity and treatment of Delilah's character.

As her ethic and religious background are never stated/clarified—though in all sincerity, she could have easily have been a Philistine—it begs the question, did the author decide to make Delilah (born in Egypt) of Ethiopian/Greek decent simply to play up (or exploit) the slavery plot point/possibility? After suffering at the hands of her stepbrother, Achish and the power he gained with the death of his father, and the loss of her mother, Delilah's story is arguably challenging/difficult enough and lacked the need for that aspect in the narrative.

I also had an issue with the author's push to make Delilah's character a "nobody." She grew up in Egypt; her parents were of Cush and Crete (Cretan) decent. That does not make her a nothing or nobody and I felt that the author lost sight of that.

This book was extremely well researched and it is incredibly clear that the author’s goal with this story was to humanize both Delilah and Samson and emulate that their story together may not have been as straightforward or as black and white as it is commonly believed. Overall, there is a love and empathetic connection between them in this book, but the story, in my opinion, was not something to rave about.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Arkwen452 | Jun 24, 2016 |
Delilah: Treacherous Beauty is book 3 in A Dangerous Beauty series written by Angela Hunt. At the age of 17 Delilah's step-father dies. Her step-brother denies the marriage between his father and her mother and sells Delilah's mother as a slave. He has Delilah locked in his room for his pleasure. Delilah eventually escapes and is take care of by 3 brothers who take her to a widow. Delilah becomes her help mate with tending the fields, weaving and greeting people who come to the well. Delilah gives birth to her step-brother's son and the widow takes on the role of his mother. When the widow dies Delilah struggles with mothering her “enemy's” son.
During this time, Samson is to marry and offers a prize to the person who can solve his riddle. His bride to be gets the answer from him and tells Delilah's step-brother the answer. To fulfill the prize Samson murders people. Samson becomes a hunted man and eventually Delilah's love. One day Delilah's step-brother comes to the well and recognizes Delilah. He tells her he will come back to her for information regarding Samson and if she does not give it to him, he will abuse and kill her.
Delilah goes to the authorities and makes a deal with them to turn in Samson for her own safety.
This is a good story that is loosely based on the Bible. I like how the author does extensive research to make the story true to the time. The story is so well written is is hard to remember that most of the story is fictional. The Bible gives us very little information on Delilah. The story tells us the story of Samson from the angel visiting his mother before his birth, to his death. This part of the story is very powerful. God give Samson the strength to accomplish what God wants him too. Samson has very strong faith and ability to forgive, feeling what he goes through is part of God's plan for him.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.
  eccl | Jun 19, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076421697X, Paperback)

A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible's Baddest Girls

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 12 Feb 2016 12:50:22 -0500)

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself. When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.… (more)

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