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Salome by Beatrice Gormley
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What an intriguing idea for a book targeted towards young adult females. Salome is the only daughter Herodias and Herod Junior, and she idolizes her beautiful, charming, shallow mother. When Herodias leaves her husband for her brother-in-law, Herod Antipas, a maturing Salome begins to see the flaws in her mother's character. At this point, she has no wish to leave Rome for Galilee. She wishes to remain and become a priestess in the Temple of Diana, to lead a quiet of life of sacred dancing. Herodias insists on bringing her to the new land, to eventually be married to whomever will advance her ambitions. Herodias gets more than she bargained for- she is expected to change her Roman ways, she is disliked by the people, and John The Baptizer in particular condemns her marriage. Herod Antipas doesn't bring her the glory she left Rome for. Quickly realizing she is a pawn in this mess, Salome plans to escape to the Temple of Diana. Instead she makes a terrible mistake, in one last bid to earn her mother's heart.

The characters come across as very believable. Even Herodias comes across as sympathetic at times, since, as a woman, she had very few ways to control her life besides manipulation. The reader is given a very clear picture of the political climate and culture without it appearing like a boring, nonfiction text. On the surface, Salome's decisions seem unthinkable but Gormely does an amazing job explaining why she did what she did.

Young girls who love historical fiction with female protagonists will adore this one. The setting is a bit unusual, compared to other tired, worn out eras over utilized in historical fiction. Salome is complicated and not the flat, strong, brave heroine in most other books. The family and romantic intrigues are just as fascinating as the political intrigue. ( )
  perizade | Aug 26, 2011 |
Salome is a historical fictional recounting of the biblical story of John the Baptist and the young woman who brought about his demise. Salome is slowly becoming a young woman when her mother, Herodius, divorces her father in favor of marrying her uncle, Herod Antipas. They set sale across the sea to his lands. During the voyage, she befriends Antipas’s scribe, and learned man named Leander. Leander had dreamed of being a philosopher, but his family’s money troubles have forced him into service. Leander teaches Salome about honor and morals.

Herodius finds her new life in Antipas’s palace marred only by the preaching of John the Baptizer, who she sees as a threat to her husband and her power. She begins to nag him to kill the man, and drives a wedge into the union. Antipas imprisons John, but seeks to learn more of his teachings. Antipas begins to look at Salome as a woman rather than a daughter, and Herodius becomes jealous of her daughter, who has the bloom and beauty of a young woman. Salome finds companionship in another woman, a follower of the Baptizer, and this further enrages her mother. In order to fix the rift, she falls into the deceitful plan of her slave, Gundi, who wishes Herodius harm. She intoxicates Salome, and has her dance for Antipas and the court. His lust enflamed, he offers her anything she could ever desire, and she pleads her mother'’ case, to have the head of the Baptizer on a platter. Angered but not going back on his words, Antipas grants her wish.

Salome is wracked with guilt, and feels the disappointment of all those around her. She begins to try to make right the evil she has caused. She spends her fortune ministering to the poor, and slowly wins back the approval of those who counsel she truly values.

I have long enjoyed the story of Salome from the Bible. She seems the ultimate temptress and manipulator, and one of the few strong, albeit evil women from the Bible. This telling gives her a different dimension, one of a young woman who seeks only to be love and accepted, and does not quite yet understand her power. She is basically good, just young.

The book is beautifully written and historically accurate. It is a work for middle school children, to be sure. It hints rather vaguely at sex, while even the Biblical story seems dripping with it. This version focuses more on her transformation and maturation. It is more of a moral story than anything else. Three Stars. Ages 10-15.
  Purr4kitty2003 | Oct 16, 2010 |
The fictionalized story of Salome who dances for the king of Tiberias, Herod Antipas, enchants him and asks for the head of a Jewish preacher John the Baptizer as her reward is a captivating read. Her hideous relatives, especially her mother, make unreasonable demands on a young girl. Salome is portrayed as innocent and totally under her mother's control. When the action moves from Rome to Tiberias, John the Baptizer and his cousin Yeshua (Jesus) now have to play their parts in the story. It is a great read, because the book represents Salome as a sympathetic figure and someone with a mind of her own, quite bright at that; just, too pure and dependent to refuse and say "No" to her parents. However, it does seem to be geared mostly to students with interest in history or religion. Anyone who has ever wondered how a young 14 year old might ask for such a reward or be forced to go through such a manuever should read this book. ( )
  Alina100 | Aug 4, 2009 |
The fictionalized story of Salome who dances for the king of Tiberias, Herod Antipas, enchants him and asks for the head of a Jewish preacher John the Baptizer as her reward is a captivating read. Her hideous relatives, especially her mother, make unreasonable demands on a young girl. Salome is portrayed as innocent and totally under her mother's control. When the action moves from Rome to Tiberias, John the Baptizer and his cousin Yeshua (Jesus) now have to play their parts in the story. It is a great read, because the book represents Salome as a sympathetic figure and someone with a mind of her own, quite bright at that; just, too pure and dependent to refuse and say "No" to her parents. However, it does seem to be geared mostly to students with interest in history or religion. Anyone who has ever wondered how a young 14 year old might ask for such a reward or be forced to go through such a manuever should read this book. ( )
  rumyana2 | Apr 21, 2008 |
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"If I'd never hoped to live in a world of goodness and truth-if the priestess of Diana, then Leander, and then Joanna hadn't shown me glimpses of it-maybe I wouldn't have minded being shut out of it. Maybe the preacher's death wouldn't have trapped me in a dungeon, the dungeon of my own self."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375839089, Hardcover)

If I'd never hoped to live in a world of goodness and truth—if the priestess of Diana, then Leander, and Joanna, hadn't shown me glimpses of it—maybe I wouldn't have minded being shut out of it. Maybe the preacher's death wouldn't have trapped me in a dungeon, the dungeon of my own self.

Her name is Salome. You may think you know her story—how her seductive Dance of the Seven Veils led to the beheading of John the Baptist. But you don't know it from her side. You don't know how a web of betrayal, and greed, and desire was spun around an innocent teenage girl. How she came to doubt her own mother. How she searched for a friend in an unfamiliar land. And how she walked into a trap that changed the course of history.

This is Salome's story, in her own words. Listen, and learn of strength, of power, of loyalty—and of death.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:24 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Relates the life of a beautiful descendant of Herod the Great, and events leading up to her Dance of the Seven Veils, after which her cruel mother coerces her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, an innocent man, on a silver platter.

» see all 2 descriptions

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