Book Review: Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

02_Sinners and the SeaPublication Date: April 2, 2013 Howard Books Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio CD

The young heroine in Sinners and the Sea is destined for greatness. Known only as “wife” in the Bible and cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, this unnamed woman lives anew through Rebecca Kanner. The author gives this virtuous woman the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories come alive like never before.

Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a haven for outcasts. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons. But living in this wicked and perverse town with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than to her takes its toll. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite its pious upbringing, develops some sinful tendencies of its own. While Noah carries out the Lord’s commands, she tries to hide her mark and her shame as she weathers the scorn and taunts of the townspeople.

But these trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world. As the floodwaters draw near, she grows in courage and honor, and when the water finally recedes, she emerges whole, displaying once and for all the indomitable strength of women. Drawing on the biblical narrative and Jewish mythology, Sinners and the Sea is a beauti­fully written account of the antediluvian world told in cinematic detail.

My review:

I have to admit I grew up with the story of Noah but never really thought about his wife or what they might have really gone through while in the ark during the great flood. In the story of Noah, God sees great evil in the world and decides to wipe out mankind. However he found righteousness in a man named Noah. God wanted Noah to build an ark for him, his family and two of all living creatures so they could replenish this earth after the flood. And from the story in the Bible, we know Noah obeyed God’s commands given to him.

Noah had three sons named Shem, Ham and Japheth. And the Lord told Noah and his sons, “Be Fruitful and increase in number and fill the Earth.” (Genesis 9:1)

Sinners of the Sea is told in Noah’s Wife’s point of view. She shows a side of Noah that we might not often think of. We see him as he might have been with feelings, faults and so on… He wasn’t perfect but he did obey God and wanted to do right. But if you think about it, maybe those faults (that an ordinary person would think) that are portrayed in this story is due to his sole focus on God. And I think in many ways he could have been tormented by what he knew would happen to the people of the earth and this story shows that….

When Amy Bruno approached me about participating in the book tour, I have to be honest and say that the book cover is what first caught my eye and then as I read what the book was about and the fact it was fiction, I was more intrigued. I wanted to see how the author portrays Noah. And she portrays him a man of God and I was happy she did…..

I also admire the author’s character development and I believe she really captured the true culture and human conditions of the period. Many will read the book and feel the pace is a bit slower than they are used too but will find it intriguing all the same.

There were a couple of scenes towards the end that bothered me a little but I got through it okay. I’m not one for mythology added to bible stories, fiction or not. But I’m sure many will find it interesting…

I recommend that every adult read this book. I believe you will come away with something and that is for you to find out what it is on your own journey through this story.

Watch book trailer

Praise for Sinner and the Sea

“Rebecca Kanner has created an autobiography of Noah’s wife, and an imaginative one it is.” – American Jewish World

“[Kanner] gives an intelligent voice to Noah’s wife.” – Jewish Book Council

“First-time novelist Kanner has written an utterly absorbing novel, one that flows seamlessly.” – Historical Novel Society

“A fascinating look into a feral civilization of turmoil and hardship.” – Historical Novel Review

“A stirring, fascinating story written beautifully.” – Historical Fiction Connection

“Kanner beautifully evokes life on the claustrophobic, smelly vessel. Riveting… It will certainly spark hours of book club discussions.” – St. Paul Pioneer Press

Buy the Book

Amazon UKAmazon USAudible.comBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryBooks-a-MillioniTunes

About the Author

03_Rachel Kanner

Sinners and the Sea is Rebecca Kanner’s debut novel. Rebecca is a Twin Cities native and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award, a Loft mentorship Award and a 2012/2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. Her personal essay, “Safety,” is listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review.

Along with other authors including Anita Diamant, Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks and Ron Hansen, Rebecca will be featured in the upcoming title Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists.

You can learn more about Rebecca, and find links to selected stories and essays, at You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14 Review & Giveaway at West Metro Mommy

Tuesday, April 15 Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, April 17 Review at A Bookish Girl

Friday, April 18 Review at Reading the Ages

Monday, April 21 Review at Booktalk & More Review at Judith Starkston

Wednesday, April 23 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, April 25 Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, April 28 Review at JulzReads

Tuesday, April 29 Review at The Most Happy Reader

Wednesday, April 30 Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, May 2 Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, May 5 Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 6 Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, May 7 Review at Ink Sugar Blog

Friday, May 9 Review at Our Wolves Den

Monday, May 12 Review at The Calico Critic

Tuesday, May 13 Review at From L.A. to LA

Wednesday, May 14 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, May 15 Spotlight at The Tower of Babel

Friday, May 16 Review at Layered Pages

Monday, May 19 Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, May 21 Review at My Reader’s Block

Friday, May 23 Review at Seaside Book Corner

Tuesday, May 27 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 29 Review at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

Giveaway Link

To enter to win one of 2 copies of Sinners and the Sea or a $25 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form by clicking on the link above. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 30th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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