Book Review: For This Child I Prayed by William Gage



After her husband took a second wife, Hannah desperately needed someone to love. For years, she begged God for a baby. When she promised to dedicate her future child to the Tabernacle as a Nazarite, the Lord finally answered her prayer. Now, she was faced with the most difficult choice a mother could make: would she keep her vow to give up her child?

This is a short fictional story based on the biblical account in the Book of Samuel. It is the first part of a series about the founding of the ancient Israelite monarchy. Check Amazon regularly for future releases.

Release Date: July 2, 2015
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli


The scripture from 1 Samuel 1:27, "For this child I have prayed..." has become a common thing to see on picture frames, crosses, and wall plaques for nurseries.  It's a meaningful scripture that has become increasingly popular.  William Gage took the surrounding verses from Samuel 1:27 and fleshed them out into a short story, of the same name.  

I didn't remember the story of Elkanah and Hannah, so For This Child I Prayed was a treat in that aspect.  I found their story moving and emotional.  I liked that this short story provides the reader with a deeper look into what it was like to be a married woman in Old Testament times.  

Hannah and Elkanah were married for years when Elkanah took a second wife, Peninnah.  The most likely motivator for Elkanah's second marriage was that Hannah was unable to bear children.  As Peninnah births child after child, Hannah's sorrow grows, until she finally prays to God for a child.  As she prays she promises that after the child is weaned, she will give him to the high priest so that the child may serve the Lord always.  

Reading the original scripture gave me the facts of the story, but Gage's short story really gave the words life.  I loved seeing the scripture come alive like that.  Hannah's heartbreak at the way her life has turned out was deep and very well-portrayed.  

About halfway through the story, there was a section where Gage veers from Hannah's perspective and talks about how hard the holidays are for those who are infertile.  While intuitive and informational, it felt more like that part belonged at the end of the story.  It was a little different from the rest of the story and interfered with the flow, in my opinion.  

Overall, I really enjoyed For This Child I Prayed.  I liked the addendum, which described the history behind the cover of the book.  It was definitely a nice touch and a good addition to the story.  I look forward to reading the rest of the stories in Gage's series.


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