Cover Image: Potiphar's Wife

Potiphar's Wife

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Step back into ancient Egypt and the palace of a mighty pharaoh in this beautifully crafted, meticulously researched historical novel where the writing is as elaborate as Potiphar’s apparel and the story is as exquisite as his bride’s finest crystal vase.

Before she’s Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika “Zully” is the daughter of a king and the wife of a prince. A Princess of Zakros, she rules the isle of Crete alongside her mother in the absence of their seafaring husbands. But when tragedy nearly destroys Crete, Zuleika finds herself en route to Egypt, sacrificing her future to save her Minoan people.

Zuleika’s father believes marrying his daughter to Pharoah will secure a substantial bride price, enough to save Crete and enable the isle to rebuild from a natural disaster.. But Pharaoh refuses. Instead, he gives Zuleika to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards. Potiphar is a crusty bachelor twice her age. He'd rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife.  (Scene stealer: Pushpa, Potiphar’s “omi” with a heart of gold.)

Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s frosty detachment, Zuleika yearns for the homeland she loves. In the political hotbed of Egypt’s foreign dynasty, her obsession to return to Crete spirals into deception. Enter Joseph. Everything goes sideways from there, except for Elohim….

There’s also plenty of palace intrigue. Duplicity and deceit. Greed and corruption stalk every step. Betrayal, distrust, and double-crosses slither around every corner. And trust is an illusion. Or is it?

Marinated in mercy, grace and forgiveness, Potiphar’s Wife is a rich and wonderful faith-flavored read, offering a fresh and fascinating take on an old story.
Was this review helpful?
Potiphar's Wife 
by Mesu Andrews
Pub Date: May 24, 2022
Waterbrook Press
Thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the ARC of this book.  Many of the readers at our library are conservative and enjoy Bible Fiction. 
This is a great book!  I found myself drawn into it and couldn't put it down.  
I will recommend this book to readers who enjoy biblical fiction. 
4 stars
Was this review helpful?
I was captivated by this book! It is a wonderful Biblical fiction novel. The author has done exceptional research and it shows. This book is well planned and well written. 

The characters are realistic, and I became invested in their lives. It was an emotional read, and I felt sorry for Zully and Ahira at times. I learned a lot about the culture and people of the time that Joseph lived. It was very inspiring, too. 

I definitely recommend this to all readers of Biblical Fiction. It grabbed my interest immediately and kept me turning pages until the end. I gladly give it a 5 star rating. A copy was provided by Net Galley but these are my honest words.
Was this review helpful?
Mesu Andrews writes amazing biblical fiction so I was excited to read Potiphar’s Wife. This book gives much needed insight into a story we usually hear very little about. We know the biblical account of the story of Joseph, and we know that Potiphar’s wife is mentioned - she is the reason Joseph ends up in prison after faithfully serving as Potiphar’s head of household. I really enjoyed Mesu’s account of the life of Potiphar’s wife and what could have happened. She does a wonderful job painting a picture of what Potiphar’s wife’s background could have been and some of the life events that may have influenced her decisions and behavior. Reading this book made her human to me. Oftentimes, we read those biblical stories and never really think about the background of some of the minor characters - we don’t give much thought to their motives or their history which informs why they made some of the choices they make. That is one of the qualities I truly enjoy when reading Mesu’s biblical fiction. You can tell she has done extensive research which brings a fresh outlook to the lives of the people involved. I appreciate this story from the perspective of Potiphar’s wife and the reminder that we are all flawed humans in need of grace and redemption.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Was this review helpful?
This was a difficult book for me to read, for I felt like Zuleika (Zully) was spoiled.  She was a princess from Crete.  There had been a big earthquake that killed her mother and husband.  So I can see how she was hurting.  But she had to make a decision to help rebuild her country, so she went to Egypt to marry the Pharoah.  But instead, Pharoah gave her to his best friend, Potiphar.  To me, this put a chip on her shoulder.  Along with having been a princess, she was used to getting whatever she wanted when she wanted.  But then there is this Hebrew slave, Joseph, who she was unable to have.  Joseph would not give in.  If you have read the Bible, you know what happened after that.  But what was Zully’s reaction to all that followed?  You will have to read the book to find that out.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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. *
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Potiphar's Wife gives me yet another reason why I love books by Mesu Andrews. I loved it. It is getting five plus stars.
Was this review helpful?