Sunday, December 22, 2013

Salome by Beatrice Gormley

History condemns this Biblical era princess for demanding the head of John the Baptist after her seductive Dance of the Seven Veils. But what would Salome herself say if she were given the chance to tell her side of the story?

In this novel, written for a young adult audience, we see, in Salome’s own words, how an innocent teen, who danced in the Temple of Diana, was caught up in a web of intrigue, desire, and greed. Her mother, Herodias, was more like a big sister than a mother to her, and her marital scandals provoked the prophet, John the Baptist, to speak out against her. This angered Herodias so much she was willing to use her pretty, nubile daughter as the instrument to achieve her desires if she had to, even if it ruined her daughter’s reputation forevermore and caused her great emotional pain.

After her infamous dance, and the beheading of John the Baptist, Salome, tormented by bad dreams and visions of his head on a platter, seeks to atone by doing good deeds. And when she hears about a young preacher, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, who some even claim is John the Baptist resurrected, Salome decides to seek him out and ask for forgiveness.

Salome emerges from the pages of this novel as a well-intentioned, good-hearted teenage girl, who is more victim than sinner. I’ve noticed in the novels I’ve read about Salome there’s always an excuse not to blame her, something that allows the reader to feel sorry for her and go on liking her, she was drugged or only wanted to please her mother etc. and this novel conforms to that pattern.

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