Card has a special flair for bringing lesser known bible tales to life in a compelling manner. This is one of those tales. The grandson of Abraham & Sarah (Jacob) travels to a relative's camp (Laban) to find a bride. He is promised by Laban that if he works for seven years, that he can marry Laban's youngest daughter Rachel. Jacob agrees and then needs somebody to copy the holy books of Abraham that he carries.
Jacob is assigned Bilhah, the handmaiden of Laban's older daughter Leah. Bilhah is a young woman who was robbed of her inherited dowery by an unscrupulous cousin who was indentured to Laban. With no place to go and no money, she ended up living in Laban's camp. Leah has difficulty with her sight (probably just severly near-sighted) which makes it difficult for her father to find a husband for her. Also, she has a very "bitter" personality because of this which does not help matters.
Leah becomes interested in Jacob's holy books and joins Bilhah and Jacob in reading and discussing the holy books. Little by little the words of the books creep in to Leah's soul making her a less bitter. With Leah's love of the books, it becomes obvious that she has more in common with Jacob than Leah, who spends her days attending the herds.
To say more, would spoil the ending for those not familiar with it. I really enjoyed this tale and look forward to the next book in the series.
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