In the Shadow of the King by Melissa Rosenberger – Book Review, Preview

Posted August 8, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Best of the Year, Book Reviews /

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I’m the middle of three sisters. And we are all close in age. My older sister was three grades ahead of me in school, and my younger sister was just one grade behind me.

I loved following in my older sister’s footsteps! She was loved by her teachers and I found that the first day of school I would usually hear “You’re Diana’s sister, aren’t you?” Because of her, my teachers loved me right away, and I like to think that soon afterward I earned their admiration on my own merits.

My younger sister, however, didn’t feel the same as I did. She had not one, but two sisters’ reputations to live up to and while she is every bit as smart as we are, she didn’t want to be in anyone’s shadow. If I took Spanish, she took French. If I took drama, she took choir. Anything that allowed her to be her own person, and judged for herself. She even took things so far that one day my friends let me know that my younger sister was telling others that she only had one sister – and it wasn’t me!!

In the Shadow of the King by Melissa Rosenberger – Book Review, Preview

In the Shadow of the King

by Melissa Rosenberger

Series: The Unveiled Series #1
Series Rating:
Published by Carpenter's Son Publishing
Publication Date February 13, 2019
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Setting: Israel Roman Empire - 32BC - 1461 AD
Main Character Ages: 0-14, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 379


Growing up, Hannah knows her brother Yeshua is odd. Yet she can’t understand why adults lavish such attention on him. She never would imagine her mother’s explanation of ancient prophecies and angelic visitations. Yeshua, the Anointed One of Israel? Hannah scoffs at the idea while watching her brother for signs of greatness. When tragedy devastates the family and Yeshua does nothing more than pray, Hannah’s heart shatters. She rejects Yeshua’s advice to trust him and, driven by fear, takes radical steps to secure her future happiness.

Years pass and Hannah finds herself shamed by barrenness in a loveless marriage. And once more, it’s Yeshua’s name on everyone’s lips. Only now, his rebellious actions threaten not only her tenuous standing with her in-laws, but possibly her life. Determined to stop his dangerous exploits, Hannah travels to Capernaum to confront Yeshua. What she discovers there both amazes and frightens her. When Yeshua again asks for her trust, Hannah must make a decision. Should she jeopardize all she has left in the hope that Yeshua will reign? But how can a carpenter triumph where princes and armies have failed before? Can she risk believing Yeshua is who he says he is?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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As hard as growing up in the shadow of a sibling who mostly pleases their parents would be, just imagine having an older sibling who was perfect. Literally AND figuratively!!

While I have never contemplated what this would be like, I’m so glad that author Melissa Rosenberger did! This poignant account speculates what it would have been like to be the younger sister of the Son of God.

When I first saw the description, I was intrigued, though I have to confess to being a little skeptical. This was quite a daring undertaking for any author, especially for a debut novel! It didn’t take long before my husband was barraged with my gushing about just how much I was loving the story. He commented after the fifth or hundredth time, “I guess this is going to be on your Best of the Year list, isn’t it?”

There was so much to love about this story! First of all, an extremely unique perspective. While I imagine I would have adored an older brother as much as I did my older sister, it would have been difficult living in Jesus’s shadow. “Just once, I’d like to see you eat your vegetables like Jesus does!” “Jesus always keeps his things picked up, why can’t you do that?” “You never see Jesus shirking his chores, now do you?”

The path Hannah chose made so much sense, even though her other siblings remained content living their lives in the way they had been raised. If the author had Hannah remain in Nazareth, we would have lost the perspective of the family she married into, and that would have changed everything!

Honestly, I didn’t like Hannah’s whining and self-centered attitude at all yet it was necessary for the story. I was so enthralled, though, I believe that if there was no repentance by the conclusion, I would have still loved it. Fortunately, for her and us, she did change and her life lessons, though extremely painful, were powerful.

I was so impressed with the conversations throughout the book. I’ve read stories where the author attempts to give background and teach via conversations that felt forced and unnatural. And there have been those where this technique worked. However, I don’t remember another book where it was done so well!

As for “Best of the Year”? In the Shadow of the King is absolutely a candidate. So I encourage (heartily) anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction to snatch this book up and see why I feel this way.


About Melissa Rosenberger

Melissa loved writing and illustrating stories as a child and authored her first book at the age of six. However, she eventually chose a career in medicine, practicing as an anesthesiologist in the Philadelphia suburbs for nearly a decade. Believing it’s never too late to rediscover God’s unique plan for each of us, Melissa stepped away from medicine in 2014 to return to writing. A tour of Israel inspired both the research and the theme for her debut series of biblical fiction novels, The Unveiled Series. Her biggest writing distractions are her two cats who believe any time is a good time for snacks. When not dispensing treats, she enjoys creating stained glass, watching telenovelas and wandering the paths of a local arboretum.

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