“The Legend of Sheba,” Tosca Lee


Photo courtesy of Tosca Lee

There is little mention of the Queen of Sheba in the Bible other than that she paid King Solomon a visit having heard of his great wisdom and he worshipped an unseen God. (1 Kings 10:1-13)

This novel greatly expands on the little we know and introduces us to an enchanting, complex Queen who is powerful, fiercely independent, intelligent and very beautiful. We meet her as a child and then retrace her period of exile before becoming Queen. She soon asserts her authority by utilising Saba’s natural wealth to build a greater kingdom. Her council continually badger her to marry and produce an heir, however, she only wants to marry for love.

One of Saba’s trader’s shares his meetings with the King of the northern tribes of Israel who is becoming increasingly powerful in the region. She is soon intrigued and infatuated as the two begin corresponding by letter. He with his songs and proverbs, she in riddles. But a greater need arises as Solomon begins to build a fleet of ships and ports that will negate Saba’s trading capabilities. Sheba takes it into her own hands and sets off on the 6 month journey to pay the King a visit to negotiate access to his ships and ports.

It is on arriving in Jerusalem that this novel takes off as we get to witness a most passionate love affair between the two. The tension simmers for many pages as they seek to understand and be understood by the other. Solomon, tired of his wealth and his huge number of wives, meets his equal. A woman who can inspire, motivate and lift him from his boredom. He is captivated by her.

Sheba resists her feelings for him not wanting to be another conquest. But the more time they spend together the more she sees of the heart of this man. Having grown up worshipping Almaqah, a god of the sun and moon, she begins to realise it’s folly. It is in seeing Solomon’s struggle between his faith and his riches she comes to realise the unseen one is the one true God.

Lee writes beautifully as she always does taking us back in time as observant bystanders to the sounds, smells, and sights of the era. Her authorial skill makes this a most charming and fascinating read. Frankly, I was so disappointed when it ended.

There is an informative appendix that outlines some of the key findings from Lee’s exhaustive research which helped answer many of the questions I had as I read the novel. But one must always remember this is a piece of fiction.

“Killing Lions,” John Eldredge & Sam Eldredge

killing-lionsIt was very special to be able to ‘participate’ in a conversation between a son and a father as they chatted about the key matters that impact a man’s heart.

Sam, the 25 year old, recently married and wanting some everyday wisdom on how to approach marriage, his vocation, his faith, friendships, and how to cherish his wife provides the context. His dad, John, asks as many questions as he ‘listens’ to Sam and provides his views based on his experience as a 53 year old. Being a trained counsellor and coaching men in life provides John with greater depth as he is able to relate other mens experiences in addition to his own.

If you’ve read John’s other books much of the content will not be new but being a witness to their conversation provides greater clarity and practical insight.

Particular highlights for me were Chapters 8 (A Few Questions about God) and 10 (Racing Toward the Unknown). Reading John share how he came to realise Jesus really is the way, the truth and the life is a very powerful witness. Then in the final chapter he raises a core question for all men: will I remain open to fathering?

The book also includes three of the Eldredge prayers: The Daily Prayer, Prayer of Guidance and Sexual Healing. All very useful to add to one’s prayer arsenal.


I also bought the accompanying journal which enables the reader to explore each chapter on their own terms plus provides practical tips on additional reading, movies to watch, and questions to ask other men. It’s a fabulous resource and I’d encourage everyone to buy it and work through it as you read the book.

“God took me by the Hand,” Jerry Bridges


Photo courtesy of NavPress

This was a delightful read of a very humble man who is able to look back at his 80+ years and see how God has His hand on so many small and large happenings during those years.

I haven’t read any of Jerry’s books and felt led to read this for some reason and am so glad for it.

There are so many takeaways from this short memoir of sorts, a few of which I’ll mention in this review. Jerry is an example of a person the world would least expect to make such an impact; he was born with a number of physical shortcomings and grew up in a very unassuming home. It reminds me how God loves taking the unassuming and use them to do great things for His Kingdom.

Jerry is a disciple of the Navigator Scripture Memory System and throughout this book he demonstrates how important the memorisation of Scripture has been in his life. As he says, if there are no verses hidden in your heart, what words can the Spirit nudge you with when He wishes to make a point? I love that.

Jerry’s idea of “dependent responsibility” which I believe is a theme through many of his works is a great concept. As he writes:

“We are responsible for sanctifying our lives but we cannot make one inch of progress in the Christian life apart from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.” (p 75)

And finally, Jerry attributes his greatest period of fruitfulness to the last 20 years of his life. That gives me great hope that there is still much I can do that can bear fruit for the Lord.

I’m so appreciative of having read Jerry’s memoir and I will be sure to start working through some of his other books in due course.