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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith

Abigail has lived a life of oppression as the abused wife of the evil man Nabal. She has been trapped in this impossible situation ever since she was forced into a union with her father's tormentor. But little does she know that her life is about to be forever altered when a renegade band of warriors led by a young shepherd threatens to attack Nabal and his land to take it for themselves. In a desperate move to save her life, Abigail pleads with this shepherd to relent, which he does. Suddenly, by a supernatural turn of events, Abigail is freed from her life of misery and is whisked away by the romantic shepherd into a life she never bargained for. Little does she know that her life will never be the same.

Jill Eileen Smith said she began this series because of Abigail, which was actually the first book she wrote. She has always seemed to sympathize with this seemingly mistreated woman, but I do not. While the situation with Nabal did happen, Jill adds other unknown circumstances to Abigail's life, causing her to be a victim her entire life. This was the major flaw with this work of fiction.

While Abigail demonstrates some slight personality, she is mostly a perfect victim. David is an imperfect character with a slight personality, a fact that cannot be denied from the Biblical account. Joab and Abishai are perhaps the best characters. Nabal is a cheesy villain, as are some of David's other wives, which all serve to create a pathetic lifestyle for Abigail. As you can see, Jill was inconsistent with her character development; making her favorite characters perfect, making her hated characters evil, and giving personalities to characters she didn't care either way about. This is not the correct method of character development, to show favoritism in this way. The character development in Michal was much better than this.

There is one key character death near the middle of the book, which is one of the only highlights of the plot. There are many romantic subplots, most of them through polygamy, which is an interesting subject more explored in this book than in Michal. However, in the end, this issue does not matter. While Abigail does not hit on all the high points of David's life like Michal did, Jill took the liberty to add many plot points in order to make Abigail's pathetic. For some reason, most readers enjoy reading about perfect characters in hopeless situations not of their own making. I do not deem this good fiction because it is not realistic. There were many things Jill could have done to make this book more interesting, such as devoting time to every character's personality instead of just some. This would have done wonders for the book. Even though Abigail's real life seemed pathetic, there are better ways to write such plots.

All in all, Abigail is one of those works of art that is liked more by the artist than by the public.

2 stars

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