In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.
Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.
Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.
Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.
When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
Stephanie Landsem is a gifted storyteller, entwining truth and imagination in her stories gleaned from the Bible, with respect and sensitivity. The Tomb honours the story of Martha, a women oft overlooked in favour of her siblings, Mary whom Jesus commended and Lazarus, whom Jesus restored to life. Stephanie pens a story of great depth, imagining the life Martha could have led, the choices she may have made, and the impact her decisions had upon herself and the small community of Bethany. Incorporating the story of the demon-possessed man of Gerasene, this story is challenging, intriguing, and emotive, and like any Biblical fiction worth its salt, had me reading the New Testament account alongside the story. I highly recommend The Tomb, and each of Stephanie Landsem’s novels.
This book was my own purchase and was an excellent 2016 Novel Journey Book Club selection.