Normally, I review middle grade and young adult books, but today I am super excited to bring you The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem. This is the the third book in Landsem’s The Living Water series. I enjoyed the first book The Well, I adored the second book The Thief, and I’m absolutely in love with the third book The Tomb! Somehow Landsem’s books just keep getting better and better!
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Genre: biblical fiction
Synopsis: Martha is the good girl. She follows all the laws, as is proper for the daughter of a respected Pharisee. However, it’s her sister Mary who gets to marry the man of her dreams, a poor man who makes her happy even though he has little to offer her. Martha is also in love with a poor man, but he’s a pagan, and there’s no way her father would ever consent to her marrying anyone other than a proper Jew. Even the righteous Simon can’t seem to convince Martha’s father to let him marry his eldest daughter. Martha is such a good cook and law-abiding woman, no man seems good enough to marry her. However, Martha is hiding a secret, a sin that could get her stoned in her hometown of Bethany. And to make matters worse, her brother Lazarus wants to run off and follow their cousin Jesus, whom many (but definitely not all) are claiming is the Messiah!
The back cover of the book gives away far more than I am in my synopsis, but I’d actually recommend not reading the back cover before you read the book. I didn’t, and I’m glad I skipped it. I enjoyed the many twists this story took along the way.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may already know that this story brought me to tears–several times, in fact. Landsem has a way of making Jesus so real. Any Christian is familiar with the story of Jesus coming to Martha and Mary’s house for dinner, and how Martha complains that her sister won’t help her with the food preparations. But what Landsem does is flesh out this scene for us, so that we get a clearer picture of what it might actually have been like. In doing so, she illuminates Jesus’s human nature. I think we tend to focus mostly on his divine nature, but it’s wonderful to spend some time thinking of Jesus as the guy who comes over for dinner and the children run to him and throw their arms around his legs.
I could go on and on about how much I liked this book, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you. I highly recommend all of The Living Water series. You can read them in any order, but at the end of The Tomb, there is an epilogue where Landsem brings together characters from all three of her stories.