Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: Asenath

Asenath by Anna Patricio
Publisher: Imajin Books
Publish Date: August 28, 2011
Paperback, 224 pages 
Fiction, Historical
 ISBN: 978-1926997261

My Review:
When Anna sent me her request for me to review Asenath, I was intrigued by the story.  I knew who Joseph was from Sunday School and Church but did not know of his wife.  What I did not know at the time was I was about to begin a Bible Study of the Bad Girls of the Bible that would introduce me to a few other charcters from the story, Potiphar and Potiphar's wife (who does not have a name in the Bible, but obviously has a name in history).  So I was even more fascinated when I began this book to know more of the players and the background in the story (and to know already that Potiphar's wife was a bad girl). 

Now onto my review, I was entranced with Asenath from the first page.  When Kyia (who will become Asenath) is abducted from her happy life I felt for her, but she manages to make a go of things.  Then she is rescued, then things aren't happy when she is returned and she is taken to the city.  Then things begin to look up for Kyia.  I loved the short glimpses into her life.  I think one thing I really liked about the book is it never gets bogged down too much by the daily things or in one period of her life.  Ms. Patricio seems to set the scene for the period of Asenath's life, let enough of it play out to show what is going on, what is important and if there is something that needs to happen it happens then it moves on to the next point.  This can also make it a little confusing, but I think she did a great job of breaking it up so the reader understands that it's now a few months or years later.

Asenath as a character is fascinating, she retains much of her peasant self even as she grows up in a High Preist's home.  She still talks to servants and does not really see herself as above others which is a point of contention with her best friend and with her Father.  But I think this endears her to the reader and it makes her romance with Joseph more believable as well.  There are times I wish she was just a little more fleshed out, but I realize the author was covering a large time period with a lot of turmoil and action going on. Enough of Asenath's personality comes through that I like her and want to read more about her and will remember her for weeks after the book is finished.

The romance part of the book ups the ante of the book.  It throws in romance of course but also some intrigue.  I was completely captivated by this point of the book.  I truly believed in the romance between Joseph and Asenath.  It felt pure and good like a first love should.  I also like how she begins to have some faith in his God.  She does not stop believing in her own gods, but at times she will pray to the God of Joseph.  I found this fascinating.  As she grows older and things begin to be tougher I love how she never gives up on Joseph.  At this point I did not put the book down from about halfway through until the end.  I had to know what would happen.  I love how the author finished it and I felt very satisfied with the ending.

Asenath is a completely satisfying historical read.  I can't tell you much for historical accuracies as I am not a history buff, but it felt like things were right.  I know the stories align with the Bible stories, and that things align with other Egyptian historical fiction I have read.  I think Ms. Patricio has crafted a wonderful novel for the reader to enjoy.  The characters are memorable, the plot moves at a good pace and the book is just meant for a wonderful afternoon of reading.

My Rating: 4.25/5.0

About the Book:
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?

About the Author (from 
Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.

She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on Egyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings for ancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway as it was something she had always been passionate about.

Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.

Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.

Anna is currently working on a second novel, which still takes place in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.


FTC Information: I received this book from the author for an honest review.