Lydia in the Bible has always fascinated me! and now, I get to review a fictional account of her story! I’m so excited, as I get to learn more about this incredible woman, Lydia in the Bible encourages me regularly!
Welcome to my first post as part of Celebrate Lit! Lydia, Woman of Philippi, By Diane Wallis Taylor.
Celebrate Lit is a really great group of Christian bloggers, who get to preview and review lots of cool books and get to share some occasional giveaways with you, our readers, allowing you lots of quality reviews before you spend your hard-earned money on a new book.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.
I did receive a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, and choose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
The Real Lydia in the Bible
The more time I spend reading quality Biblical fiction authors, the more I start wondering about what happened before, or after that little 2-minute scene we get to see. Who were these people? What drove them? Personalities?
Questions we don’t get answers to right now, but through creative authors like Diane, we can get a glimpse of what might have been. I had just finished enjoying one of Diane’s earlier books, Martha (which connected some dots I had missed!) when I saw this opportunity, so I knew it would be good. I was right.
As a Biblical Character Lydia gives hope, and her courage to step outside of the “social norms” of her day is inspiring!
I’ll start by introducing the book to you, then jump to my thoughts.
About Lydia, Woman of Philippi
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Smart, strong, and a follower of the Jewish God, Lydia has nonetheless quietly conformed to the expectations of the wealthy Roman society into which she was born. Her father marries her off at age fifteen to a much older man whom she dislikes. Despite an unpleasant wedding and a marriage that doesn’t improve with age, Lydia remains a dutiful and faithful wife. When her husband is killed, years later, Lydia vows to remain single and returns to her father’s house in Thyatira with her twelve-year-old daughter.
There, a new life begins to emerge as she is trained in the family dye business. Lydia displays an aptitude for trade in the male-dominated world of first-century commerce. Her brother, who had chosen service in the Roman army rather than work in his father’s business, is at odds with his sister. Jealous of her quiet success as she learns the dye business, he’s especially befuddled by what he considers to be Lydia’s obsession with the Jewish religion. When their father dies, Cassius inherits the family’s home; Lydia inherits the business, and unbeknownst to her brother, a small villa in the city of Philippi.
Lydia flees with her mother and daughter to Philippi where she sets up shop. At the mercy of a patriarchal society, Lydia needs a man to serve as the public face for her business. She discovers the right person in the handsome face of Greek man she’d hired — an employee with whom she develops a close friendship. The plot thickens as Lydia meets a strange man named Paul the apostle who is stirring up crowds in town. When Lydia’s brother shows up in Philippi, determined to force her to sell the business, he discovers plenty of fuel to accomplish his goals.
My Review of Lydia
In Lydia, Woman of Philippi, we meet a young woman watching generational sin getting its’ way. Dealing with difficult circumstances, and still knowing that Adonai Is with her; Watching over her; Loves her. Growing stronger through adversity, by relying on the God of her mother’s people. Lydia has been a “God-Fearer” since childhood. I was encouraged by her handling of adversity, and confidence that God was with her, looking out for her. Providing needed assistance just at the right moment.
Cassius, the obnoxious and selfish little brother had far too much power, and overall, made a very good antagonist to the story. You were never really surprised by his behavior, but disappointed that he never seemed to ‘get’ it.
The way Diane does us the favor of mentioning the Psalm chapter references, so we can go look it up, and study God’s word for ourselves, is so kind, and unobtrusive.
A Bird’s Eye View
Watching Lydia struggle with the whole “Class” issue, was fascinating. Concern for appearances, Fear of loss, etc, between gender class, and the superiority complex of the wealthy Romans vs any other class of citizens, reminds me of our current situation. Everyone thinking their category of humanity is more valuable than any other. Most of us know that we are all “One in Christ” but acting like it, that’s the hard part!
One of my absolute favorite parts was Paul’s tutorials. They get to have a Passover meal, and as it is mostly Gentile believers, Paul walks them through the meaning and significance of each step. This was AWESOME!
While not all of this story matches that of Lydia in the Bible, It’s very well done and believable! So little is said in Acts 16 Lydia doesn’t share her backstory, so Diane has creatively shared one possibility with us. Lydia in the bible is definitely a good role model for Christian Women!
You can purchase your copy here.
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Lydia in the Bible Inspires Me
While reading Lydia, Woman of Philippi, I was inspired/encouraged to rely on God in a deeper way. Watching Lydia read, pray, and trust, even when it was HARD, was so neat. You aren’t left with the feeling of an impossible standard, because you see her struggle, sometimes for years, to come to a point of putting into action something she knows is right. Instead, you see a role model, flawed, but persistent.
It was an enjoyable read, easy to get into, and memorable. I really hope you’ll give it a chance. I’ve already read it twice, and will probably try to read it again close to Easter. (Can you tell I really liked the Passover / Last Supper Section?) Lydia in the Bible is Real. Lydia, Woman of Philippi, is a plausible representation, and a lot of fun!
Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!