Book Review: The Legend of Sheba

The Legend of ShebaI was fortunate enough to receive an advance reader copy of this book from the author and Howard Books through Net Galley for review. It released today.


This is the first of Tosca Lee’s books that I have read and I have to tell you, I am hooked! I absolutely love how poetically she writes.

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen is an intense read, beginning to end; a page turner. It is an eloquently written tale, seamlessly woven with details from Lee’s exhaustive research on the real queen of Sheba.

The Bible account of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon is more about Solomon’s splendor and great blessings from God and isn’t really about the queen at all. This story explores this queen of many names. It is a story about the difficult rise of a queen, her fears, and the passions that consumed her, hers as well as the passions of others.

If you’re familiar with the kings and prophets of the Old Testament then this will read like the chapters that were left out. Some familiar faces, some new, it is as mysterious as it is familiar.

This is the peek behind the curtain.



Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by the author of the award-winning “brilliant” (Library Journal) and “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) Iscariot.

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world—or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite—and ruin—them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.



I immediately fell in love with the Queen’s character, of any name. After being betrayed by her father and those closest to her, including the man she loved most, she finds her voice and stands her ground against those who threaten to marionette her into bringing a king in beside her. She hits back. She bites. She will not be bullied. And she still maintains the grace of a queen.

Her mother told her when she was six years old “that wisdom is lasting and therefore more precious.” So it’s no wonder the new King of Israel, who is reported to her to be wise beyond himself, intrigues her. After years of sharing private letters with him, she is determined to meet the man behind the words. She risks leaving her home to journey North to meet him face to face. What she finds in him reveals much about herself.

I don’t hesitate to recommend this book but I would caution you to keep in mind while reading that it is, in fact, a novel. It is very easy to confuse fact with fiction with the seemingly effortless way Lee blends the two.

Side note: There is a prequel to this story, Ismeni, that gives great backstory and is available to download for free. It’s not necessary to read it first, but I recommend it.


Free eShort Prequel

Free eShort Prequel

Ten Things You Can Still Do With One Arm

When I was in the sixth grade I broke my wrist and had to wear two different casts for fourteen weeks. It’s a long story, but to this day I blame it on my brother. And a horse named Kid.

I had managed to make it all these years since (nearly 30, if you’re counting) without breaking another bone.

Until Friday. When I tripped over the sleeping dog. In the dark. With my arms full of the things I was carrying into the house.

It happened so fast, I was on the ground before my brain had time to trigger my muscles into action to catch myself. And I think I closed my eyes.

I landed on “all fours,” just not the right four. I hit both knees and both elbows on the hard slate-tile floor. Yes, it hurt. And yes, I cried. I almost threw up.

Long story short, after a Saturday morning at two Urgent Care facilities and a set of X-rays, I’m sent home with my broken elbow in a splint and sling.

After a weekend learning to function without the use of my left arm, I came up with this list of things that can be done with only one arm. And occasionally a foot.

10 Things You Can Still Do With One Arm

  1. Make The Bed – I’m saying this can be done. I looked at the mangled mess of sheets and pillows and decided I could get it done if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. Because there’s always having to unmake it later with only one arm and really, who needs that?
  2. Shower – Granted, this would have been easier with a little help from the hubby, but he had just come in hot and sweaty from mowing and I knew the water temperature thing would be an issue. I do not take cooler than HOT showers. Ever. Automatic shampoo, conditioner, and body wash dispensers are now on the shopping list.
  3. Dress – First, let me say that this is just plain harder if you’re a woman. Getting a bra on with one arm is a little like a dog chasing and catching its tail. The rest is an extraordinary feat of acrobatics with a lot of tugging and pulling that leaves you gasping for breath by the end.
  4. Drive – An automatic transmission makes this one a breeze. The hardest parts are getting the door closed (or shifting if you’re without you’re right arm) and getting the seatbelt fastened. Besides, as every teenager knows, it’s just not cool to drive with both hands anyway.
  5. Type – It’s a little slow (this post has taken the better part of two episodes of Pioneer Woman minus the commercials) with regular use of the backspace button, but it gets done.
  6. Pump Gas – I could have done this but I didn’t have to. I have teenage boys.
  7. Buy Groceries – If you don’t buy a lot of heavy stuff, the cart is actually pretty easy to steer with one hand. And for all the times the sacker has asked if you would like some help out with your groceries and you have declined with two good arms, you’d think it would be obvious that you’re going to need help lifting those bags, especially the one with all 24 cans in it. It’s not obvious to anyone but you.
  8. Vacuum – Normally a one-arm job anyway unless you have a Dyson that “never loses suction,” which I have. Just watch out for small animals because getting those out of the vacuum canister is always a two-arm job.
  9. Laundry – You can claim injured and get out of this one indefinitely, but I found it’s easier to kick the laundry basket all the way to the washer than wait for two available hands attached to the same body. Another great use of feet with this one is opening and closing dresser drawers.
  10. Play Catch With the Dog – Ok, I didn’t do this one. But I could have if it wasn’t raining all afternoon.

Now, for all the things I discovered that could be done one handed, the one thing I found that I couldn’t do overshadowed them all – pulling up my hair!

This is seriously distressing. Especially because it’s September in Savannah with the heat index hovering somewhere between hot and infernal. And don’t think the rain helps. Rain just makes the hot stick to you. And then the hair sticks to the hot.

After fourteen failed attempts at hair wrangling, I went with the headband and just stayed in out of the sticky heat.

The good news is that today’s visit to the orthopedic doctor didn’t result in a cast. It turns out my fracture is somewhat minor, aligned perfectly, and just needs some down time to heal.

I am, of course, hoping never to break another bone. Thankfully,  I’ve learned that leaving sleeping dogs lie isn’t always safe, especially when it’s dark and your hands are full.