Non-Fiction Book Review | “Successful Women of the Bible” by Katara Washington Patton

Posted Sunday, 18 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “Successful Women of the Bible” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read Successful Women of the Bible:

I have held an appreciation and curiosity about the women of the Bible for the full of my life; mostly because the women of Biblical times were not regularly spoken about from a biographical approach. Most of the stories shared when I was growing up in Sunday School were a bit on the boring side of the ledger to be honest – my teachers had limited knowledge, lacked curiosity of their own, and did not visually bring the women of the Bible to life for me.

I was a seeker of stories from a very young age – and the incredible thing for me growing up was how the stories of who lived during Biblical times was not as represented as the facts. Sunday School and regular education outlets held one commonality that frustrated me: the preference of knowledge and learning was about fact remembering rather than developing a knowledge of history through the perspectives of those who lived and held within their lives a well of stories waiting to be told.

I have found as I grew older, there are certain Biblical fiction authors who either take a Contemporary or Historical point-of-view to help guide us as lay readers to better understand the women (and yes, the men too!) who walked before us. They re-envision their stories through the grace of living through a character’s shoes as told through novels, allowing the breadth of their lives to be explored. -quoted from my review of Scripture Princesses

For these reasons, I’ve been mindful of compiling a list of Biblical Historical Fiction authors I want to seek out towards this vein of interest but I haven’t progressed very far towards that end, given how the year has panned out. When I saw this book was available to review, I thought how kismet it truly was to be available as it was threading through an on-going pursuit of mine to seek out women of the Bible of whom I could re-focus on through Historicals whilst gaining entreaty into who the women were when they had lived. Truly, I have found my niche of focus in Biographical Historicals, as each time I step inside one of those novels, I find my mind is happily alive with the era, the setting and the people who lived such incredible lives – from the ordinary to the Royal Courts to the unknown heroes and heroines who shaped History itself. I love the diversity of the choices but also the breadth of what is being written into their context! I suspect I shall not be disappointed when I start to cross-read my way through the Biblical Historical past as well!

Previously, I was learning about a few women who crossed over into this book with blessedly a lot of lovely women I did not know too much about until I read Ms Patton’s words. The ones who previously left an impact on me were: Rachel & Leah, Ruth & Naomi, and Mary Magdalene. The latter of whom I think has had her story told seven ways to Sunday since she lived, as both Ms Greenwood and Ms Patton presented equally different accounts of her life from the one I have grown up with myself. I am unsure if this is a difference in denominational backgrounds (as I am a non-LDS Protestant; whereas Ms Greenwood is LDS) or if perhaps, some people of the Bible simply have a story that has been told by so many different people it is a bit like playing a modern day ‘telephone’ game. Wherein for each person who speaks the known truth (to them) to another (of whom shares it); somewhere along the way it becomes a bit disconnected from the original version? Either that, are no one truly knew so many different versions of her story was being told?! It is a quandary!

Personally, as I have always held a close appreciation for Mary Magdalene, I’ve kept the first story I was told on her behalf closest to my heart, whilst allowing a few new bits of information to be added as additional layers. As you move into my review you’ll see which women truly stood out to me and why their impact left a special smile on my heart! As this is a continuing journal of sorts of a reader seeking out the women of the Bible of whom are happily celebrated for the lives they lived and the wisdom that is continuously being passed down each generation who gets to know of them.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Successful Women of the Bible” by Katara Washington PattonSuccessful Women of the Bible
Subtitle: Esther, Deborah, Miriam, Hagar, Mary, Martha, Eunice, Lois, Pricilla, Mary Magdalene, Lydia
by Katara Washington Patton
Source: Direct from Publisher

The second book in a new series that brings the experiences of favorite Bible characters to challenges of contemporary life.

Contemporary "success" is often defined in financial terms or by number of Twitter followers. But for women of faith, success is so much more. And it turns out the timeless qualities of success are exemplified by women on the pages of their favorite book, the Bible.

Deborah's model leadership is just as relevant today as it was in the age of the Hebrew judges. Esther's courage to stand up for a cause, Miriam's joyful support of others, Priscilla's exemplary partnership skill, Lydia's business acumen, and other characteristics of women in the Bible are embodied in lively storytelling. Busy Christian women--often working and raising a family--crave examples of success.

Here are distilled principles they can use to succeed in today's noisy culture. The lessons of these icons of the faith apply, even in the age of Facebook and Instagram.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455538850

Genres: Non-Fiction, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by FaithWords

on 23rd August, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 160

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

The Successful Series includes:

Successful Moms of the Bible (Synopsis)

Successful Leaders of the Bible (Synopsis) *coming January 2017

Converse via: #WomenOfTheBible, #INSPYbooks, #nonfiction, #motivationalbooks

About Katara Washington Patton

Katara Washington Patton Photo Credit: photobyvega

KATARA WASHINGTON PATTON has written and edited Christian books for children, teens, and adults and created supplemental materials for books by T.D. Jakes, Beth Moore, and Joyce Meyer. She served as general editor and writer of Aspire: The New Women of Color Study Bible. She holds a M.Div. from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Photo Credit: photobyvega

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On the Introduction:

I completely agreed with Ms Patton about how women of the Biblical past are not spoken about as openly as their male counterparts. So much so, I oft-times felt there was a true ‘missing history’ of the women who lived during such an important time in our conjoined historical time-line! I never knew why more sermons were not focused on women or why bible studies were not focused on the strength of the women who helped shape the foundation of the stories that enrich all of our lives on multiple levels. Women might be mentioned here or there in the Bible (and less so on Sunday mornings) but I oft felt when your seeking to read with intention about a specific subject of focus, having a book such as this on hand helps kick-start your readings and research. By the same token of interest, I am finding pursuing Biblical Historical Fiction is being curated by writers who want to hone in on what I am seeking to find represented as well. As they (both fiction and non-fiction writers) are each giving us stepping stones in which to build.

My Review of Successful Women of the Bible:

Similar to how I review anthologies, I am going to be highlighting the women I personally connected with as I read each of their sections rather than highlight each section in turn.

| Miriam | sister to Moses and Aaron

As soon as I read Miriam’s role, I knew this was the woman my Mum and I would have loved to have met and known IRL! She was the rockstar sisterhood cheerleader of her generation! Like Mum and I, who like to find ways to bolster people’s spirits if they feel low or simply need an extra hug of love – we like to be the ones to bring the lighter side of life into their days. We have our own version of the fireside chat where you can hash out the woes of the day but bring it back to center, knowing that as bad as it appears, the days will let out the sun again. For every cloud there is a rainbow of hope and promise for a better tomorrow. Rainbows are our little winks by God reminding us to cheer the good news and remember the adversities will be ones we can get through with our faith. If we remember to smile and find a bit of humour we’re ahead! We all need to be each others’ cheerleaders time to time – with my blog I am thankful I can be one for authors & their stories – in life, I hope those I try to share my hours with will reflect on our time together with a hug of praise and a lightness in their hearts. The same way I feel about their presence in my own life.

I think is why we need each other the most – especially sisterhood friendships (of those girlfriends who give us the most strength to carry-on, thrive, smile & laugh) and the strengthened family bonds we share with those women in our immediate or extended families who make it possible to greet each new day or year with renewed strength for sharing our lives. We all need help when lives grows unbearable (or how it sometimes appears) with obstacles that feel unresolvable. All of us at one time or another need that extra nudge of encouragement, a reminder of what can be right round the corner or the simple gesture of helping us through a moment that doesn’t need direct advice but a listening ear to remind us of what isn’t lost but simply a bit out of sight from our perspective. Sometimes you see, our lives are either in flux or placed on ‘pause’.

Reading about Miriam’s life gave a new insight into my own lifepath and that of my Mum’s – as we are modern day Miriam’s! We love to be the ones to help our friends rally and feel supported in blankets of love and joy! It’s simply a part of who we are but reading Miriam’s story was wonderful from the angle that someone long ago saw the beauty of a kind word spoken at an unexpected moment is the best way to strengthen one of your friends’ resolve! Even to do this outside your own friendship circle and step into your local community to be the smiling face or the cheerful spirit that has a kind message to share with those you cross paths with is another way of being an everyday Miriam and we’ve done this as well!  It’s not something you purposely set out to do – for Mum and I it’s an organic part of our personality and character. Similar to each of the women featured – they each had naturally innate gifts that were brought forward into their everyday lives – gifts that were bestowed to them to use as needed and surfaced at just the right moments to be a blessing to those they gave them. This is an affirmation of knowing each of us has a multitude of gifts to share – unique ways we each can find a way to contribute to the goodness of our communities and be a shining light everywhere we go. How nice to realise we’re following in the footsteps of Miriam – even if we only just learnt of this revelation, it’s wicked lovely to know it now and recognise her as a fore-bearer of those like us!

The best takeaway is towards the end of Miriam’s section – where thoughts are things comes into introspection! A healthy mind and heart are key to our spiritual well-being inasmuch as our physical health. Yet too often our mind can become cluttered or distracted by things that happen. Sometimes we overthink ourselves through everyday stresses, too. The key is to have a better balance and find a peaceful respite in our minds that grounds our thoughts on the positive and purges the negative before we can dwell to hard upon them. I think this is something we all strive too and perhaps fall short at one moment or another. It’s a good thing to remind ourselves of and continue to strive towards excelling at rather than faltering into a pattern that spirals rather than dissipates.

| Esther | adoptive daughter of Mordecai (click to view a picture of them via WikiMedia Commons)

Esther is one of the women I have heard about and have wanted to seek out more about – either through books like this one or through Biblical Historical Fiction. As forementioned on other posts and reviews, I simply find these versions of biographies to allow you a closer viewing of the people who interest you whilst getting to hug close to how their lives might have honestly been lived. Ms Patton has been including short historical passages on behalf of each women in sequence, to such a lively extent of continuity I think she is a natural bourne story-teller in this regard! So much so, I would hope someone might encourage her to flesh together a Biblical Historical story one day that fuells this passionate way of telling the women’s stories in such a realistic and relatable way!

I hadn’t known that Esther was an orphan prior to being Queen – as there are a lot of small details that I tend to forget about the women I am interested in knowing about – this particular woman is one my Mum loves reading about herself, and she too, was thankful of the connection to Adoption she shares as this is an important part of my family’s future. As you see I am a Prospective Adoptive Mum of whom will be adopting children in the future. In other words, I was most delighted by finding this particular quotation that was shared by Patton in the book itself which I was going to share on my review but the KJV which is allowed to be shared on blogs via Bible Gateway (due to being in the Public Domain) alters the words and thus, changes the meaning slightly from the one shared in the book. Ergo, when you read the quotation in this book, know that was the version of the quotation that inspired me most as a future Adoptive Mum! I have known there are references to Adoption in the Bible but sometimes you feel like seeking out certain passages is like acquiring the knowledge of the proverbial needle in a haystack – thus I am blessed by Ms Patton highlighting this for me! She has started me off on a search to gather the quotations and use them when I become an Adoptive Mum!

Reading her story is especially humbling knowing the fuller story around her birth and how she had to understand a new cultural identity without forsaking her own religious identity. Not on an easy gesture of will during her era – the strength and fortitude she showed was beyond incredible. The fact she had the foresight to approach the issue at hand with a calm attitude and focused strength fuelled by prayer is a testament to her own faith. I can see why women love reading about her and draw renewal of inspiration from her story!

I agree with Ms Patton – it is foolish to dismiss Esther’s book in the Bible due to the (supposed!) absence of God’s presence being mentioned – after all, when He is not seen, He is beside us and other times He carries us through our heaviest burdens. You can clearly see His influence on the outcome of how Esther saved her people and drew to light the one man whose heart and soul was blackened by prejudice! Sometimes the best story to reflect upon is the one where God isn’t the main focus but how He inspired someone – through their actions, we see the best way Grace can affect our lives.

| Lois and Eunice | mother and daughter who positively raised Timothy

I wish there had been more left behind on this mother and daughter who had instilled such a foundation of faith in young Timothy! I did appreciate the way in which Patton projected a plausible route of their influence on him but so little is truly known towards that end! It did not surprise me a Mum and daughter were a strong spiritual team offering guidance as anyone who comes from a close-knit and strong family background understands these two women outright as much as I do! They would be an interesting choice for Biblical Historical Fiction too – to fill in the gaps of what isn’t known and to muse about their lives to a further extent than Ms Patton did here! What a lovely snippet into their lives!

| Priscilla | wife of Aquila

It’s wonderful there was a dynamic couple in the Biblical past who walked through life championing others as a team! Equal and equally giving in their praise it is nice to see that a couple could inspire so many and be considered favourable together rather than independently!

On Ms Patton’s writing style and presentation of the book:

I appreciated the layout of the book – each women’s section is prompted by scripture overtures in quotation and re-referenced back as Patton talks about their lives. She paints a living portrait with her imagination – granting us a bit of licence to see the women as they could have been whilst they were alive. For a Historical Fiction reader, I felt she excelled at these passages as she dearly tapped into the essence of each of the selected women! I’d love to resume reading the rest of the series as time allows to see what other gems of both wisdom and insight I can gleam from her writings!

She gives us something to chew on as well – faith like life isn’t all cut and dry nor easy to digest. She presents different sides of opinion, as well as presenting the women quite authentically – showing both their strengths and their weaknesses. There are pauses of reflection at the end of each women’s section – a quick recap of what that particular woman can inspire you about and leave you with a thoughtful affirmation to repeat to yourself as needed.

I could see this even being a great selection for women’s reading groups or discussion groups – not just limited to book clubs, but perhaps insightful women’s leadership and/or Bible studies where women want to ‘get real’ and get a conversation started that can cross-relate to today’s living times and world. Ms Patton uses references in both language and contemporary references of living to help re-illustrate that this information is apt for today’s world and each of our lives irregardless of our backgrounds or lifestyles. I loved her cheeky humour and even the small bit that spoke about grooming that had me in stitches as I just remembered all over again why I *love!* Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah!

She reminds us to keep our living faith openly honest and reflective of what was left behind for us in the Bible to re-strengthen our inner resolve but to re-apply it to our world today. Sometimes Biblical studies can grow stale or fail us in their inability to remember that times have changed but we can still find inspiration from the stories because at the time of their lives, these women felt what they had to impart upon us was contemporary to them and readily apparent to be of importance in their living years. I think if we can all strive to remember this we’ll enjoy each others company and shared discussions more as it keeps faith a living conversation that is dynamically able to be felt as strongly now as it was then!

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This book review is courtesy of:

FaithWords

My apologies to the publisher – I was striving towards featuring this review closer to the #PubDay at the end of August, however, we have been having such a strong series of lightning storms this Summer, they have effectively disrupted most of my posting schedules. When one of those epic storms killed my computer earlier this month, it goes without question that my schedule had to be modified to work around that new wrinkle of angst! Blessedly, I can finally share my joy of this beautiful lovely book that helps all of us remember where we originally drew our strength and inspiration from whilst being grounded in the joy of knowing about the women who came before us paving paths for our own lives to walk. I was so very thankful to receive this book as it is a personal interest of mine to start reading more about the women of the Bible – both in Non-Fiction and in Biblical Historical Fiction accounts, as I work towards knowing more about these incredible women!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!

Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

“I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen.” – self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 18 September, 2016 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Esther, FaithWords, Lois & Eunice, Mary Magdalene, Miriam, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Priscilla

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