Thursday, July 6, 2017
Summer Book Club! The Well, Part 3...
So, this week's selection started off with a bang. Shem is hanging out with his grandmother when one of the village gossips comes around. Alexandros comes up in the context of him selling jewelry at the market, and gee, where has he been? Shem, not realizing the gravity of the information he possesses, innocently mentions that he's seen this man's donkey over at Mara and Nava's house. He figures this must be a relative of Mara's. That, of course, is not the case, and the gossipy woman jumps on this tidbit immediately. His grandmother tries to shut things down, but the damage has been done.
Shem feels sick to his stomach as he sees the information making it's way through town, and what this will mean for Mara and her family. Zevuluh, the man Nava broke betrothal with all those years ago, takes it up as a personal vendetta to get Nava kicked out of town. Zevuluh's wife is downright rude to Nava in front of the entire village while everyone is out observing Passover. Nava does not take this lying down, and I can't totally blame her, but she does not consider the position she is putting her children in. Their situation is now much more dire than ever, because the townspeople will begin withholding the food offerings they had previously donated to the family.
And speaking of poor Mara...major squink factor comes into play in that her uncle has received an offer of marriage for her hand. This man is old enough to be her grandfather, and has already had two young wives who have had "accidents" after failing to produce an heir for him. I have no problem with big age differences in relationships, but not when one of them is still a teenager. Good heavens! The uncle wants her to accept the offer, because this would mean the family would not be cast out and starved. The prospective husband, unsurprisingly, given what we know about him, does not want to take Nava and Asher in, but he will provide food for them. Nava would have to begin caring for Asher, and do we really think this plan has a chance of success?
Poor Mara would be selling her soul, and perhaps even her life, to provide for her family. Meanwhile, Shem has growing feelings for Mara that he doesn't quite know what to do with. He just feels awful for his inadvertent role in her current predicament. And he doesn't even know yet about the marriage proposal.
When we come to the end of chapter 12, Nava is at the well. She knows that she has been nothing but a hindrance to her children, and thinks it would be better if she took her own life. She is contemplating throwing herself down the well when Jesus approaches. Her conversation with him changes something in her, and she finds new life in his words. She leaves the well with a reinspired lease on life, and rushes off to tell Mara about what happened. This is where we leave off.
What did you all think?! Quite a lot happened this week. I am so drawn into Mara's story at this point, I am absorbing all of the details like a sponge. I outwardly cringed when Shem let the cat out of the bag, but obviously, it was an innocent accident. I feel so bad for both of them. I'm happy to see Shem growing into his role in his grandfather's business, and I like where that part of the story is going for him. I just worry for Mara. Who knows what Alexandros and this violent marriage proposal guy have in store for her. The end of chapter 12 with Nava is intriguing, and we still have so much of the book to go. That happened a lot earlier than I was anticipating. I wonder where the story will go from here?