Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Jill Eileen Smith’s new book, The Heart of a King.

Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to Connie Bolick Lee for winning Ann H. Gabhart’s The Refuge.

Please email my assistant Christen to claim your prize. Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning I will get a small commission if you click and buy from that link.

Publishers Weekly has stated that Jill Eileen Smith “reimagines the biblical story . . . with expert attention to historical and cultural detail.” In The Heart of a King, Smith transports readers to the exotic and ancient land of Israel to visit its wisest and wealthiest king. Imagine the tale of King Solomon as never told before—through his eyes and the eyes of four of the women he loved.

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could—and did— have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. In this engrossing novel, you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women who entered his harem: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. Each woman captured King Solomon’s heart in different ways, and he indulged his desires despite wisdom’s warning.

When life takes a turn against those desires and Solomon’s role is tested, he must decide whether his wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved—or whether it betrayed them. Did they ever find what they spent their lives searching for? Was life truly meaningless, or was there something more?

Childhood Summer Memory

Probably my absolute favorite summer memories from childhood began several months before summer vacation. My dad’s entire family lived in California, while we lived in Michigan. So every now and then, after my brother and sister were married (I was the baby of the family), my dad and I would look at each other and say, “Let’s go to California!”

While we were convinced it was a great idea, it took a little bit of coaxing for my mom to agree to travel. Looking back, I can understand. In those days, we didn’t hop a plane. We either drove 3000 miles or took the train. Most of the time we drove. One year my dad decided to make the trip even longer and drove 8000 miles! So we tucked in a little extra scenery.

I loved going to California because that’s where most of my cousins lived and my dad’s siblings and parents. I didn’t get to see much of my grandma and grandpa growing up, so I enjoyed those visits. And one aunt and uncle would always invite the whole family to gather for a family reunion when we were there. I have fond memories of that state for that reason.

Now my kids live out west – some in California – and my grandparents are buried there. So the state still holds a piece of my heart. I suspect it always will. I keep thinking I might like to live there someday just for the weather, but God hasn’t said “go” yet, so we wait on Him.

Still, I will never forget my dad’s excitement when he got the itch to visit his family. I was his partner in crime, so to speak, in convincing my mom. (It didn’t take much convincing.) And I treasure those memories.

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Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as the nonfiction book When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

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