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Potiphar's Wife

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Member Reviews

Potiphar's Wife, by Mesu Andrews, is an interesting retelling of the age-old Bible story!

One of the Bible’s most notorious women longs for a love she cannot have in this captivating novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Legacy.

“Mesu Andrews yet again proves her mastery of weaving a rich and powerful biblical story!”—Roseanna M. White, author of A Portrait of Loyalty

Before she is Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika is the daughter of a king and the wife of a prince. She rules the isle of Crete alongside her mother in the absence of their seafaring husbands. But when tragedy nearly destroys Crete, Zuleika must sacrifice her future to save the Minoan people she loves. 

Zuleika’s father believes his robust trade with Egypt will ensure Pharaoh’s obligation to marry his daughter, including a bride price hefty enough to save Crete. But Pharaoh refuses and gives her instead to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards: a crusty bachelor twice her age, who would rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife. 

Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s indifference, Zuleika yearns for the homeland she adores. In the political hotbed of Egypt’s foreign dynasty, her obsession to return to Crete spirals into deception. When she betrays Joseph—her Hebrew servant with the face and body of the gods—she discovers only one love is worth risking everything.
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Mesu Andrews has out done herself with the power of this book. The characters quickly become friends and family. The tension and the relationships are so well developed you have a hard time putting the book down when it ends!
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I enjoyed the way the author told this story and the human-ness that it brought to people from the Bible.  People dealt with the same emotions in Bible times as we do now - grief, despair, loneliness - but the way that God works in their lives and the redemption stories are just as beautiful.
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An old story from the Bible told through a unique perspective. When we read the story of “Joseph” in the Bible, we often see it through the lens of a shepherd boy, who grew to have more authority in a kingdom where he didn’t belong, and was wrongly accused by Potiphar’s Wife. In this fictional story, the main character is Potiphar’s Wife, Zully, and the story is told from her perspective. I enjoyed turning the tables and seeing it through another lens.

The author touches on aspects of loneliness, grief and pain and how those emotions can drive a person to make decisions they never thought they would choose. Sometimes the story isn’t so black and white.

As we follow the characters to the dungeon, where Joseph was imprisoned, we eventually see forgiveness and redemption play out. Such a sweet ending to a fictional story, but we know when God is involved, it can play out that way in real life!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
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The research is great. The writing is fine. But I did not enjoy this story. Mrs. Potiphar, called Zully here, did not appeal to me. Not unexpected, since she’s one of the bad girls of the Bible. I thought I would enjoy Joseph’s story, but I didn’t. He was not a perfect man, but I didn’t care for his portrayal. Don't mess with Bible heroes!
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Zuleika, Princess of Crete, loves her family, husband, and nation.  When tragedy strikes, she is forced to make decisions that will change her life forever. She is determined to save her people and decides along with her father that she should marry the Pharaoh of Egypt.  However, Pharaoh has other plans for her and those plans take her on a path that will lead her down roads she could have never imagined.  Potiphar’s Wife is a compelling novel of love, loss, betrayal, faith, and sacrifice.  It will take the reader on a journey into the heart of Egypt and into the courtyards of the most powerful men in the land. The detail that Ms. Afshar brings in regards to place and character is stunning.  I felt as though I were walking along with Zuleika as she navigates the life she didn’t plan for.  Joseph’s story is well known in the Bible, but almost nothing of Potiphar and his wife is mentioned in Scripture.  Tessa has managed to bring non-descript characters to life in a way that will leave the reading turning the pages long into the night. The story is told from the perspective of not only Zuleika, but of Potiphar and Joseph as well, which made the story even more fascinating to read.  The struggles of Potiphar to please his Pharaoh, of Joseph to please Master Potiphar but ultimately his true Master, of Zuleika trying to fit into a world that doesn’t want her, and how God will use those struggles to carry out His plan, is breathtaking.  I went back and forth between loving the headstrong, stubborn character of Zuleika and then feeling great dislike of her character due to things that she said and did. The ending of the book surprised me with a twist that I wasn't expecting. Ms. Afshar is a master storyteller, with the amazing gift of taking oft forgotten Biblical characters and breathing new life into them. I would like to point out that there were several parts of this book that were hard to read due to the intensity of some of the scenes. I believe that there should be a warning at the beginning of the novel to inform readers that there are scenes in the book that may be triggers for the reader. I thank NetGalley and WaterBrook and Multnomah for the ARC of this book.  All opinions within this review are my own.
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Mesu Andrew is my favorite Christian fiction author. I have read all of her books and they have enhanced my understanding of Old Testament times and events. I was looking forward to reading Potiphar’s Wife and was excited to get an advance copy from NetGalley.

Surprisingly, I found the book to be a disappointment. I realize most of it had to be totally fiction, since that part of Joseph’s life doesn’t have much detail in the Bible. But most of the characters were not only unlikable, they also seemed bipolar. They went from being great friends or passionately in love, to murderously angry and vindictive, and then back to being kind and loving to that same person. This happened over and over. 

And then when Joseph was thrown into the dungeon - which was usually a death sentence - Potiphar knew that his wife was lying and Joseph was innocent, but did it anyway.

The keeper of the dungeon reminded me of the Albino in the Pit of Despair in Princess Bride - he was a pleasant man who seemed to have no issue with torture. 

I also had a problem with Pharaoh being the height of 2 men. I visualize the characters and action when reading, and this just did not work for me. He would have towered over his Medjay guards and made a perfect target. Where did he come from? Was he Nephilim? How did his tiny, adoring wives accommodate him?

Despite all this, the book was well written, as always. No grammar or spelling problems, no use of the wrong words or incorrect punctuation.
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I've read other books by Andrews, and I always find them enjoyable, and I really like the unique look into biblical characters. This time, the reader gets to know an interesting character that is only briefly mentioned in Joseph's story. Assumptions are likely made based on the brief mention in the Bible, but Andrews gives her a reason for why she did what she did.
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Another fascinating story by Mesu Andrews. This is a story that takes a look at a character that is only briefly mentioned in Joseph's story but who ends up sending Joseph to prison. What I found interesting was that book delves into the backstory of what lead Potiphar's wife to do what she did to Joseph. Although wrong in what she did, it paints her in an interesting light. Truly intriguing and makes one think outside the box.
     I received an ARC copy through NetGalley and all opinions are my own.
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The title of this book intrigued me as soon as I saw it pop up on my Amazon list of recommended reads. I was thrilled to find the book on Net Galley and dig in! It only took me two days to read this book because I was so invested in seeing how the author would portray this familiar story. Andrews definitely took some liberties and added characters and details, but she kept true to the parts that we see in the Bible. 

I have to admit that I was not a fan of Zully, the main character. I did feel sympathy for her in the beginning of the story, when she lost her husband and mother, and then was pressured to travel to Egypt to become the bride of Pharoah. I also felt for this foreign princess when she was given to Pharoah's reluctant captain of the guard because he did not want a third wife. She was not treated well by the other Egyptian women either. 

However, Zully was given a lot of love and grace from several people in her life. Her husband, Potiphar, came to love her almost immediately, and I felt like she constantly threw his love back in his face. He definitely could have been more attentive, but Zully gave little to no effort to their relationship. She also had the love and support of Potiphar's mother, her maid, and Joseph, but she tended to take these people for granted. I was upset with her when she kept trusting and relying on Gaios, a scoundrel from her homeland, instead of turning to these others who supported her. 

That being said, we are all sinners and in need of God's grace, so Zully's character was realistic. I was happy to see her transformation at the end of the book, but it was a little rushed and sudden. This book gives a unique spin to the story of Potiphar's wife trying to seduce Joseph, and caused me to wonder about her true backstory a little more. We look at this story in the Bible, and see her sin, which is accurate, but we also do not know what was happening in her life and past, and if God redeemed her at a later date. This book was interesting, kept me engaged, and gave me a lot to think about. For these reasons, I would recommend it.
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I just finished this book...oh my goodness, it was so good! I can't even begin a full review right now because I need more time to digest this amazing story. 

I will say however, you need to read it. Mesu Andrews has this amazing knack for both drawing me into her stories, and sending me into The Bible to reread the stories with new perspective. I always anticipate her new books, and I am never disappointed, except when I turn the last page and realize I have finished the book. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. *
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Curiosity surrounding this biblical bad girl had me reaching for this book! I wanted to see how the author would reimagine her backstory and/or provide a plausible reason for her behaviour. 

The author’s research has revealed a name for Potiphar’s wife - Zuleika. For those familiar with Joseph’s journey in the bible, she is Joseph’s master’s wife who accused him of sexual misconduct. Andrews has provided Zuleika (Zully) with a historically rich background and crafted her as a Minoan princess whose seafaring soulmate and new husband is tragically killed. Suddenly, this endearing character’s whole future is shattered. As was often the case with marriages in ancient times, Zully is offered to the Pharaoh of Egypt in a trade alliance. When she’s further pushed aside by Pharaoh, she finds herself married to a man 20 years older who is the polar opposite to her first husband. Essentially, to save her beloved Crete she needs to sacrifice her future plans and shelve the idea of marrying for love. 

This is a heart-wrenching reimagining that gives readers a foot in the door to a plausible situation that could explain Zully’s treatment of Joseph. One can only imagine the inner turmoil and sadness that Zully is experiencing. For someone who had planned her whole future and that of her people, to experience such devastation and lack of control, it is understandable how she lashed out. None of us is exempt from challenges. We all work to overcome challenging plan changes and the struggle is what defines us…what it makes us. We have the choice; bitter or better. 

There are many unresolved issues that I’m certain Andrews will address in her final installment of this trilogy. I was glad I picked up this book and gained a different perspective on the familiar bible story. Although I don’t condone what Zully did, I can appreciate how her human nature got the best of her. It’s a daily battle for us all to keep it in check. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Mesu Andrews, WaterBrook & Multnomah, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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As always, I love getting a new perspective on stories in the Bible. The story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife is a popular biblical story. I'm sure many of us have made certain assumptions about Potiphar's wife. This book gives her a story for why she did what she did to Joseph. It's fictional but does cause you to rethink your assumptions about her. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
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Potiphar's Wife....

The Bible is full of villain and villainesses, but very few villainesses outrank Potiphar's Wife. She's one of the bad girls of the Bible (probably only outranked by Delilah and Jezebel on the list of Bible bad belles.)

Anyway, since I watched Disney's Maleficent, I developed a soft spot for villain backstories, and I picked up Mesu Andrews' Potiphar's Wife with curiosity gnawing at my insides. I wanted to know how on Earth she got her infamous reputation and Mesu weaved a plausible story that satisfied my curiosity.

Potiphar's Wife, or Zully, (I never would have imagined her with a cute nickname) lost her husband and mother in an earthquake. She barely has time to mourn and grieve before she's shipped off to Egypt to try to save her people. Plans go awry when Pharaoh refuses her as a wife but passes her to his best friend and the Captain of his guard, Potiphar.

First off, I'd laud Mesu for her research and her simple yet detailed description. The whole story was plausible, believable and it almost makes me feel pity for Zully. Unfortunately, she's still not redeemed in my eyes. 

I loved how Mesu weaved in known Bible characters with the fictional giving the story a perfect balance. The book ended with a cliffhanger and filled me with many questions. What happened to Potiphar? How did Zully end up with her husband? What happens to Ahira when we know from the Bible Joseph marries Asenath? I'm so glad there's a sequel because the ending wasn't too satisfying.

On the whole, it was quite an intriguing read with a myriad of characters so complex I can't help but wonder if anyone can truly be a villain or hero.
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Potiphar's Wife gives me yet another reason why I love books by Mesu Andrews. I loved it. It is getting five plus stars.
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“Potiphar’s Wife” is the eleventh book by Mesu Andrews and to be part of a two-part series. After a two year wait for a new book by this award-winning author, it did not in the least disappoint. Andrews provides us with a thrilling novel full of political intrigue and a redemption story that rivals that of one of her previous novels, “In the Shadow of Jezebel.” This book does not fail to bring the unexpected. 

The novel introduces us to the character of Princess Zuleika or Zully for short. Zully is a Minoan princess who has been immediately pressured by her father to go to Egypt to marry the Pharoah in a desperate attempt to save Crete following a tragedy that devastates the island and kills her husband. Given no time to truly think through the decision or grieve, she finds herself sailing for Egypt with the hope that a bride price will be enough to save the island she loves. But in Egypt, she is cast aside by the Pharoah and given to his best friend, Potiphar, instead. What follows is a tale of abandonment, betrayal, manipulation, abuse, and deception. Zully continually hurts everyone around her in devasting ways in response to her pain and longing for her home. Yet, her faithful maid, Ahira, Potiphar’s adopted mother, and Joseph keep pointing her to the healing that can only be found in the one true God.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this novel is the integration of the Hyksos dynasty into the novel. I found Andrews’ portrayal of this era incredibly compelling. The explanation for how the Hyksos got into Egypt beautifully ties into the Biblical narrative of the patriarch era. This is a not to be missed, delightful thing to ponder aspect of the novel. 

“Potiphar’s Wife” is a compelling and inspiring look into this facet of Joseph’s narrative and through it all gives us, the reader, a deeper view into God’s mercy and grace.
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A unique addition to biblical fiction, Potiphar's Wife brought the worlds of ancient Egypt and Crete to life vividly. I especially appreciated the way the author expertly used the historical context to ground the story and themes. It's not often in biblical fiction that I come across an "anti-hero", which is what the main character, Zully, is for most of the novel, and the author really developed my sympathy for this character -- though I rooted continually for her to see the error of her thinking and change.
As the book drew to a close, I was surprised to find that Zully remained committed to her path of foolishness -- and I was applauding the author for making the hard choice of showing an unredeemed heroine. But then Zully makes a seeming (rushed) 180-turnaround -- though, I found, it wasn't really that, since she still is committed letting her art and Crete "fulfill" her -- and finds faith in Elohim -- though she leaves her husband and returns to her homeland. The ending fell very flat for me, especially because the characters I actually cared about (Joseph, Ahira, and Potiphar) have stories that are left unresolved. So that did disappoint me.
However, the story is still told beautifully, the characters and plot drove me to keep reading, and the historical content piqued my interest in Ancient Egypt. I enjoyed the book, but I didn't love it as much as I have this author's other novels.
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I'll start by saying that this book was not quite what I expected. Those who know the Bible stories in Genesis, know the story of Potiphar's wife, who was the consummate bad girl of the Bible as the one who begged our hero Joseph for sex and then claimed attempted rape when he refused her. This book follows Zuleika (Potiphar's wife) and shows her motivations behind these happenings. This book was filled with themes of redemption as Zully continued to make bad choices in search of her dreams. Also a large theme of belonging was included in this novel as Zully seeks out her place in the world. There was a great deal of rich culture included in this book, both Egyptian (as a majority of the book takes place in Egypt) and Minoan as Zully is a Minoan Princess from the island of Crete. While I sympathized with Zully, I never did come to like her as a character, and that influenced the liking of the book for me. However, it was well written and an enjoyable delve into what could be behind the stories in the Scriptures about Joseph's time serving in Potiphar's house. I would definitely recommend reading the author's note at the end to show what was fact and what was fiction in the story itself. All in all, an enjoyable read and one I would recommend to fans of Biblical historical fiction or those that enjoy ancient cultures. Special thanks to the author and publisher for an advance copy of this novel. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.
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A very different look at what could have happened in her life. A sad reminder of things that were done to people and how they had to live.  A stark reminder to hold on to  God's love.
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