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Rachel & Leah (Women of Genesis) Mass Market Paperback – November 29, 2005

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Rachel & Leah (Women of Genesis) + Rebekah (Women of Genesis) + Sarah (Women of Genesis, Book 1)
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Editorial Reviews


This series is definitely for those interested in women in the Bible, and in such novels as The Red Tent. (Kliatt)

About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.


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Product Details

  • Series: Women of Genesis (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765341298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765341297
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author best known for the classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow and other novels in the Ender universe. Most recently, he was awarded the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in Young Adult literature, from the American Library Association. Card has written sixty-one books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards-the only author to have done so in consecutive years. His titles have also landed on 'best of' lists and been adopted by cities, universities and libraries for reading programs. The Ender novels have inspired a Marvel Comics series, a forthcoming video game from Chair Entertainment, and pre-production on a film version. A highly anticipated The Authorized Ender Companion, written by Jake Black, is also forthcoming.Card offers writing workshops from time to time and occasionally teaches writing and literature at universities.Orson Scott Card currently lives with his family in Greensboro, NC.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on August 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third book in Card's "Women of Genesis" series, which began with "Sarah" and "Rebekah." (Each book can be read independently of the others.) Card, who's a Mormon, uses the biblical story of Rachel and Leah and their handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah, as a framework and creatively fills in the details.

As in the other two books, he does a clever job of spinning a tale that makes some sense of the odder parts of the biblical story. Also as in the other books, the characters never felt entirely like real people to me. I've enjoyed the books in this series more as spiritual literature than as novels. (If you're a fan of Card's science fiction and fantasy but aren't interested in religion, I wouldn't recommend this series.)

Card explains in an afterword that he had intended to tell the story of these women in one volume, but there was too much to tell, so the story will be continued in another volume. This book, which ends with Leah's and Rachel's marriages, doesn't feel incomplete, so I was glad rather than annoyed that there will be a sequel.

This is my favorite of the "Women of Genesis" books, but I liked Card's "Stone Tables," a novelization of the life of Moses, even better. I also recommend his "Saints," about one of the wives of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons.

P.S. Seven years later, still no sequel. Oh well.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Deacon on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Rachel and Leah is not a preachy book - although Card has never tried to hide his personal faith, these well-written books on the lives of the women of Genesis have no ulterior motive to "convert" anyone. So set any fears aside and get ready to just enjoy.

Readers should know upfront that this is only half of the story - Card thought he'd finish in one novel, but had to split Rachel and Leah into two. I didn't know this, and as the pages moved toward the end, I wondered how on earth he was going to finish this up to a reader's satisfaction. This volume will take you to the wedding night (I won't say whose, for those unfamiliar with the biblical tale!)

Rachel and Leah are very well-drawn characters - quite real and fleshed out when we meet them at the ages of 11 and 14. Leah grows and changes, but Rachel very little. Both women, I feel, needed some more "development" as they grew - after all, by the time of the wedding, Rachel is 19 years old (quite old to be unmarried in biblical times, I believe) and Leah 22 - well toward spinsterhood. And yet I don't feel these women have "grown up" very much; they seem very innocent still, as if their natural, sexual selves had never woken up. I'm not suggesting they'd be overcome by sexual urges that would "titillate" the story, but surely they would come into their womanhood somehow - in a way appropriate to the story and culture. This seems to me to be the novel's only flaw, and it is easy to forgive because the reader still feels as if they have deep understanding of both characters, as well as for Bilhah and Zilpah, their handmaidens. Jacob and Laban are not fully explored, but certainly enough for us - after all, the novel is about the women, not the men.

In the end, there is enough for readers to hope Mr. Card is not sidetracked in the publication of the sequel, as he was in getting this first half out. A good, solid read for all.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Antigone on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had quite an opposite experience as k_b. I found I appreciated Rachel & Leah, as well as other Women of Genesis books, greater as a novel than as a piece of spiritual literature. Moreover, as compared to Saints, I didn't feel the pressure of religion overshadowing the shining characters and very real plot.

I have always been a firm believer in extensive characterization. No matter how awesome and intricate a plot is, if you don't love the characters you won't care what kind of situations they get into. Card's talent isn't simply his ability to weave a good story, it is his ability to create characters so vivid we cannot help but think of them as real people and empathize with their exploits. I knew the story of Jacob and his four wives very well, but it always sat uneasy with me; they and their actions were too detached, too foreign. All the characters in R&L feel real, and I found myself strongly empathizing with them (well, not so much Rachel, but that's probably the older sister in me talking). I am not spiritual AT ALL, but I love the Women of Genesis series (Rebekah has since become, in my opinion, on of the most kick-butt women in literature). Religion in the books feel more like a background or a means through which the REAL story can be told, neither offensive or distracting in its persistant function (see Saints). This is a remarkable book that evokes true emotion and paints very real portraits from fuzzy biblical sketches, transforming obscure literary references into human beings.

I actually read Red Tent after finishing R&L. While I enjoyed it for the style and imagination, Card's protrayal of these characters was far more complete and I would revert back to his interpretation when the stories diverged.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Gray on September 1, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was a huge disappointment for me. I have read many books by Orson Scott Card and greatly enjoyed them all. I also read Sarah: Women of Genesis, the first book in this series, back when it came out, and I liked it well enough. What a difference from Rachel and Leah: Women of Genesis!

I disliked most of the characters in this book and found them all to be unrealistic. The main women were too flawed, too petty, too immature, too quick to anger, etc, to be believable human personalities. The main men, on the other hand, were too perfect, too noble, too kind, too wise, too strong, etc. The dialogue was similarly unrealistic and un-human, plus it sounded much too modern to ever let me forget I was reading something from the 21st century.

Similarly, the characters are never shown to be doing anything that's particularly from their time period. They aren't really shown doing work or the activities of daily life, they only talk about doing things. There are no details about their lives that makes it feel like they're living in another time. Consequently, I never got a feel for the time period like one does with good historical fiction. The pacing was also off--sometimes we read about every minute and sometimes years passed from page to page.

All in all, although I was sometimes interested in a storyline or a bit of character development that was taking place, it was mostly a drag to keep reading this book. And when I found out that this was only part one of two...I was honestly not sure if I'd even want to try reading the second part.
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