Under the Cloud, by Violet Nesdoly (SparrowSong Press, 2020)
What would it be like to be a young girl growing to womanhood in ancient Israel during the wilderness years? With the excitement of the Exodus behind you and the Promised Land not as immediate as everyone had hoped?
Under the Cloud is Zamri’s story. Instead of dreaming of marriage, Zamri longs to become a leader like Moses’ sister, Miriam. She is, however, a daughter in a time when parents are to be obeyed—even when they arrange their daughter’s marriage.
Follow Zamri from girlhood to middle age, and see how she discovers herself able to lead in a very different way than she’d hoped as a child.
I confess when I think of the biblical account Israel’s liberation from Egypt and trek to the Promised Land I don’t have much sympathy—or patience—with their continued doubt. After all, they had the visible Presence of God with them, by day and by night. They saw the Red Sea part, after witnessing all the plagues in Egypt. Yet they grumbled, they disobeyed, and an entire generation ended up dying in the wilderness because of it.
Reading this novel helped me understand some of the fears and influences that make it believable that this rescued people would behave as they did. The faithful knew it wasn’t right, but there would have been many who were still sorting out what it meant to belong exclusively to this One True God.
Under the Cloud is the sequel to Destiny’s Hands, which told the story of Bezalel, a gifted craftsman commissioned by God to craft the holy Tent of Meeting. Zamri is his younger sister. The ending of book two leaves room for a third instalment.
As well as writing biblical fiction, Violet Nesdoly is a poet, artist, and book reviewer. For more about the author and her work, visit violetnesdoly.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]