Samson and Delilah. Delilah and Samson. Stories we think we know. It always fascinates me, how someone can take these told and re-told stories and twist them into something I had never imagined before.
In her Dangerous Beauty series, Angela Hunt has portrayed the ladies of the Bible, Esther and Bathsheba, and now Delilah, in an exceptional form of art and historical fiction. In the other two renditions, books, I know that I gushed about the incredible roller coaster of emotions that Hunt took me through. Delilah carries a different kind of feel.
The first few chapters portray a young woman, headstrong, healthy and mostly well-off. And then a rapid decline, spurred by the death of her step-father, into abuse at the hands of her monstrous step-brother. Imprisonment in their home, a cruel separation from her mother - the only other person she knows in Gaza since they moved from Egypt. This story of Delilah is cruel and heart-wrenching, perhaps no more or less so than Esther or Bathsheba, but Delilah's response to this life that continues to rob her felt very different to me. Less emotional. More calculated, even cold and distant at times. Her life is driven by the instinct for survival and she is very much alone through those initial, crucial hardships. She learns to fend for herself, occasionally receiving generosity at the hands of strangers, but for the most part she feels very much secluded in her struggle. It is her against the world, and she adopts that outlook to the very end.
And who can blame her?
A point that I think Hunt is trying to make - and if not, it's a point that I very much appreciate through her series all the same - is that it is very difficult to deal out judgement when you know the whole story, from all sides. It is very difficult to label someone as a bad person if you know exactly what they've been through.
For more information on Delilah by Angela Hunt, visit our website here.