Thursday, November 25, 2010

book review: "delilah" by india edghill

Delilah was given to the Temple of Atargatis when only a small girl. She was raised to be a priestess and had the ability to dance like only few others. It was said that Delilah not only was able to perform the ritual dances but was the dance itself. When she moved to the music she became lost in it, bringing great monetary offerings to the Temple. When she was ten, another girl was brought to the Temple. Her name was Aylah and Delilah came to love her like a sister.

When Samson happens upon the Temple of Atargatis years later, it’s Delilah he meets as she leads a procession through the streets of the city. He catches only a glimpse of her as she dances but it’s enough for him to tell his friend he wants her as his wife. Samson goes to the Temple to ask for Delilah and is told she will be given to him upon his completion of three tasks. The tasks are meant to be impossible but Samson completes them with ease. It’s only after Samson rides away with his new bride after the wedding feast that he learns the truth: he was given Aylah for a wife and not Delilah.

Delilah is heartbroken both for losing her heart-sister and for the man who has visited her dreams since their meeting. She has no idea Samson wanted to marry her but was tricked – she had been told it was Aylah he desired. Delilah is later summoned to kill Samson – the man who has instilled a sense of fear in the city. Tales of his god-like strength have caused the High Priestess of the Temple and the Prince of the City to plot his death. Delilah must choose: will she help in this plan to destroy Samson or will she conspire with him?

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get into this book. I didn’t have an immediate connection with it but was soon pulled into the story. I loved the idea that Delilah actually loved Samson and wasn’t merely using him in order to deliver him to the Philistines. The idea that Samson wanted to be captured was intriguing. One thing I didn’t like is that while the chapters about Delilah are told from her point of view, the others are in third person. Having the constant change in who’s telling the story was a little frustrating but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

I received a free copy of this book from Picador and was not required to write a positive review.

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