Eve: Book summary and reviews of Eve by Elissa Elliott

Eve

A Novel of the First Woman

By Elissa Elliott

Eve
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

It is the world’s oldest tale: the story of Eve, her husband, Adam, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons…. In this luminous debut novel, Elissa Elliott puts a powerful twist on biblical narrative, boldly reimagining Eve’s journey. At once intimate and universal, timely and timeless, this unique work of fiction blends biblical tradition with recorded history and dazzling storytelling. And as it does, Eve comes to life in a way religion and myth have never allowed—in a novel that explores the very essence of love, motherhood, faith, and humanity.

In their world they are alone…a family haunted by banishment, struggling for survival in a harsh new land. A woman who has borne and buried children, Eve sees danger shadowing those she loves, while her husband drifts further and further from the man he was in the Garden, blinded by his need to rebuild a life outside of Eden. One daughter, alluring, self-absorbed Naava, turns away from their beliefs. Another, crippled, ever-faithful Aya, harbors a fateful secret, while brothers Cain and Abel become adversaries, and Dara, the youngest, is chosen for a fate of her own.

In one hot, violent summer, by the shores of the muddy Euphrates, strangers arrive on their land. New gods challenge their own. And for Eve, a time of reckoning is at hand. The woman who once tasted the forbidden fruit of paradise sees her family unraveling—as brother turns on brother, culminating in a confrontation that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve takes us on a breathtaking journey of the imagination.

A novel that has it all—romantic love, lust, cruelty, heroism, envy, sacrifice, murder—Eve: A Novel of the First Woman is a work of mesmerizing literary invention.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"An imaginative and deeply felt debut … Exotic setting aside, this could be any contemporary family plagued by a manic-depressive son, a sulky teenager and a father who is shockingly deficient in the wisdom expected…. Highly original." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Elliott makes biblical fiction her own with a female perspective that emphasizes emotional turmoil, sensual experience and an impressive range of imagery that brings to life daily life in the beginning." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Anita Diamant's The Red Tent became a huge hit, and Eve will likely become as widely read and discussed while raising eyebrows for its nontraditional depiction of its titular character." - Library Journal.

"Eve is a beautiful novel, richly imagined. Elissa Elliott has written about Eve in such a new way, and by exploring her heart, conflicts, desires, and choices, she illuminates our own. I loved the intimate tone, and although I know how the story goes, I found myself reading on the edge of my seat. This novel is irresistible, and if it were an apple, I would have to eat it." - Luanne Rice.

"Elissa Elliott's debut is Biblical fiction at its absolute best. Like Anita Diamant and Marek Halter, Elliott reaches across the millennia to embrace a woman whose story has never fully been told. A thought-provoking and gripping read, Elliott has triumphed with her wholly original Eve: A Novel of the First Woman. - Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen.

"Eve is an enchanting novel, rich with emotion and power. Elliott's masterful prose brilliantly brings an ancient world to vibrant life. A truly remarkable debut, thought provoking and intriguing." - India Edghill, author of The Queenmaker and Wisdom's Daughter: A Novel of Solomon and Sheba.

"Elliott has crafted a powerful story, beautifully told, of a family in crisis. Her voice is sure, her prose lyrical, her characters memorable." - Jeanne Kalogridis, author of I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Brides.

"In this novel hauntingly beautiful poetic language, a powerful imagination and extensive scholarship combine. Together they weave tender love and dark passions, suspense and drama into a richly textured, colorful and strikingly beautiful tapestry. Eve is an intense and fascinating read that will keep you spellbound until the last engrossing page." - Eva Etzioni-Halvey, author of The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth, and The Triumph of Deborah.

The information about Eve shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Gail
Eve
The concept of writing the story of Adam and Eve as fiction based on the biblical account is what intrigued me to read this book. However, it didn't meet my expectations. I feel it wasn't well written and could have been done better. I'm sure many readers would enjoy the book in spite of my observations.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Nancy C. Cullinan
Book groups will love it
Eve is a wonderful and lovely story. Elissa Elliott has written about Eve in a way never imagined before.

Eve and her life burst from the pages, and I was "hooked" immediately. I flew through the pages, and the story ended much too soon. Now I'm beginning a second read -- this time much more slowly as I savor Elissa Elliott's beautiful language and storytelling.

I'm sure Book Groups will love this book. There is much to discuss, debate and imagine!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Tricia
Spellbinding and full of emotion.
I've longed to know more about Eden myself. What was it like to be cast out? What was the garden? How did they survive afterward? Elissa Elliott's book tells you what might have been. I found it mesmerizing and once I picked it up, could not put it down. Each character was finely drawn and the plot, that of a early family surviving on their own and then thrown into a world of strange and exotic practices, practically leaped off the page.

Highly recommend. You won't walk away the same.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Patricia
What a woman!
From the first paragraph of the prologue, Elissa Elliott’s novel Eve grabbed me and did not let me go until the end. Even then the story and the world of Eve, Adam, Cain, Abel, Naava, Aya, Dara, and Jarden haunted me for days to come. This is a beautiful and powerful first novel. Elliott’s choice of words and language are unique and gripping. This is the story we have always wondered about, and Elissa Elliott’s imagination has filled in the blanks and created an Eve who is a many sided woman, often loving and generous and often whiny and full of blame for others. It is Aya, the second daughter, who, because of her position in the family, is able to show us all of the other characters clearly.



I was reminded of The Poisonwood Bible with the multiple women’s viewpoint while reading this story. Elliott is a talented new novelist and I will watch for other novels from her in the future. In the meantime I will hold on to this novel to reread at my leisure.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Gail
Ancient Tale Comes to Life
After Eden -- what? Congratulations to Elissa Elliott for her imaginative fleshing out of the Expulsion story. My book club would relish the characters of Eve and her daughters -- each speaking from her own unique perspective, age and ability.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Lauran
Story of the first dysfunctional family
There were three main themes in Eve. First, it was a timeless story about a very dysfunctional family, with an emphasis on motherhood. The author’s telling of the complexities and emotions of motherhood I found touching. Second, while it was a story about struggling with faith emphasized not only by Eve’s desire to understand her expulsion from the Garden but also through the addition of the Mesopotamian’s and their worship of other and multiple Gods, I felt the story really spoke more to consequences. And third, accepting and making the best of one’s fate vs. living in the past, the latter of which cripples Eve.

The story was interesting and easy to read. However, I do not think the author painted Eve in a positive light. I suppose as a woman I expected to be inspired by Eve. Instead she annoyed me with her selfishness, naiveté, whininess and inability to move forward with her life until losing her most favorite child. I also struggled with the arrogance and selfishness of Naava. She felt more like a plot device to add drama and tension to the story than a person with any redeeming value. I loved the independence and spirit of Aya, her middle daughter, but still could not believe that she too could be as mean as the others (and in doing so set off a whole chain of events). In fact, except for Abel and Jacan, they were all fairly selfish and mean to each other and that grew tedious after awhile.

...9 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Elissa Elliott is a former high school teacher. She is a contributing writer to Books & Culture and has optioned her first screenplay. She and her husband, Daniel Elliott, live in Minnesota. This is her first novel.
Browse an excerpt
Visit the author's website

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

More Recently Published Historical Fiction

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

The fact of knowing how to read is nothing, the whole point is knowing what to read.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.