First things first, this is the story of Samson and Delilah, who are both biblical characters. Regardless of how much you want to dispute its historical credentials, I still think this book is worthy of our first review. As a ballpark, I’d say 30% of this book is based on real historical content. The other 70% is made up of a perfect combination of satisfying historical trash; 40% guilt ridden betrayal, 20% broody unspoken looks and 10% romps in outhouses. It also has enough adjectives to put you right beside Delilah, as she flirts and schemes her way across the Holy Land. So far I have painted Delilah to be a bunny boiler of sorts, but in truth the author cleverly manages to keep you on her side. Aside from the parts where she gets a little too self righteous, you genuinely connect with her predicament. In the end, when it all goes wrong, De Jong makes you feel a sense of loss, regret and deep sadness. Without giving the story away, it also ends with hope, which in my mind is one of the perfect endings to any historical novel.
Samson & Delilah, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1609-10.
Source: phosphorescence1001.wordpress.com You won’t come away from this book feeling like you learnt a great deal about the Israeli and Philistine conflict, but it will give you enough of an appetite to explore the subject further. This is down to De Jong’s ability to expertly paint a graphic and sensual picture of a landscape so unfamiliar to Westerners. After I put the book down, I spent the next few hours happily searching the Internet for more information; not only on the story of Samson & Delilah but the conflict itself, up until modern day. In all honestly this is not something I would’ve done had I not picked up this book, and I’m mighty glad I did! This book was a welcome escape from London commuters, impatient clients and freezing cold winter evenings. For a few hours a day I was transported to the scorching, glittering land, and biblical home of, one of the most beautifully frustrating love stories ever told.