Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks, review

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Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament’s King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected.  We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.


The story of  David consists of so much more than him defeating a giant with a pebble when he was still a shepherd boy and in THE SECRET CHORD, Geraldine Brooks delves deep into the life of the man who was a favourite of God and brings him to life like never before.  Told through the voice of the person who was perhaps closest to him, the prophet Natan, David becomes more than just a king with many wives – he becomes a man with real happiness, fear, jubilation and turmoil.

After a bit of a slow start, I literally raced through the book, savouring each and every beautiful word.  Geraldine Brooks’ atmospheric writing is some of the best I’ve ever read and when a reader says they want a book that makes them feel they are actually there, THIS is they type of book they want.  Stunning descriptions of places and things, characters that were flawed and perfectly developed, and lush storytelling that often read like a song, made book an absolute pleasure to read.  One thing I would like to add – while this book is about a Biblical character, I would caution Christians who may be drawn to it.  It contains coarse language (the f-word and c-word are both used) and David and Yonatan are portrayed as having a sexual relationship.  Personally, none of that bothered me.

With stunning prose and a fascinating look at the life of King David and those affected by him, I give THE SECRET CHORD five stars *****.

I received an e-copy of this book from PENGUIN GROUP Viking via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review


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