Review: The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

April 21, 2015

Title: The Tomb: A Novel of Martha
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Publisher: Howard Books
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-1-4516-8912-9
Publication Date: March 17th, 2015

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?
I discovered Stephanie Landsem's books last year, when I signed up to review The Thief. I didn't know what to expect when I started to read, but what I read blew me away! From there, I sought out The Well and devoured it and then impatiently waited for The Tomb to come out. I've read the whole The Living Water Series out of order, but I will tell you, it hasn't bothered me or messed up the story.

The Tomb is a story on Martha, she is known as the woman who was a worrier in the Bible. She was concerned so much about her work and doing everything the right way, then complained when her sister Mary, left all of her work alone to sit with Jesus. Plus, she and Mary were the sisters to Lazarus. Their family was very important to Jesus and his work.

Stephanie Landsem took what we knew of Martha, and grew her story from there. The fictional accounts that Stephanie was able to write, offered a hard and at times heartbreaking life Martha lived. She had so much to live up to, but mistakes can follow and at times haunt a person. And the standards we set for ourselves can be unattainable.

The writing of this story was fantastic. I enjoyed the rich details that played throughout this book. The characters were vivid and you could relate in some form or fashion to the joys and trials that they faced.

I really enjoyed Stephanie's interpretation of this prominent woman from the New Testament. It was interesting to see a possibility.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Thank you to Howard Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I've heard so many good things about this one! Gotta add it to the list!

  2. Jamie, You really do! This whole series has just been phenomenal.


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