Welcome Wednesday: A Prodigal Hope with Mesu Andrews

Author: Mesu Andrews

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Series and Books

Isaiah’s Legacy: The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah’s most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter

A Prodigal Hope

~Interview by Jenny Fulton

Mesu Andrews is a prolific biblical fiction writer and a Christy Award-winning author for her book Isaiah’s Daughter. Her deep love and understanding of God’s Word join forces to bring biblical stories to life. 

“Biblical fiction is such a rich partner with Bible study,” Mesu explained.

Mesu’s latest book, Isaiah’s Legacy, is the conclusion of Hephzibah’s story which began in Isaiah’s Daughter.

Though the name was familiar, I hadn’t known or thought much about Hephzibah until Mesu shared her passion for this woman with me.

“Hephzibah is my favorite female Old Testament character,” she said, “largely because of her name which means, ‘the Lord’s delight is in her.’  I’ve always been amazed at all she endured in her life and yet she could still be ‘delightful’ to the Lord—and presumably to those around her. That’s my hope and desire, that I can be a delight to God and others no matter what life gives me.”

This is one reason I love biblical fiction: it brings to light facets of the Bible I hadn’t thought about before.

Mesu’s connection with this woman and her story went far beyond a strictly academic interest. It was also very personal. There were aspects of Hephzibah’s life that Mesu understood from the standpoint of having been through something similar in her own life.

“Hephzibah was married to the most righteous king of Judah (Hezekiah), and her son (Manasseh) was the most wicked king of Judah. I pondered how torn her heart must have been to see her son tear down all she and her husband had built. We saw our two girls go through some prodigal years—about the time I was considering this as a writing project. I wanted to do more study on Hephzibah. It was turned down twice while our girls were in those rebellious years and only after they’d both come back to the Lord did I get a contract to write the story. I think God knew I needed to write her story from the “afterward” feelings rather than the “in the midst of it” struggle. Isaiah’s Legacy is a hard story because at times Manasseh’s wickedness feels hopeless. But we know the end of his story! Because we serve Yahweh, His people NEVER need to be hopeless, and Manasseh’s is the most stunning prodigal testimony in Scripture!”

Unfortunately, knowing there is a great ending doesn’t always make the process of getting there any easier. Such was the case for Mesu as she wrote Isaiah’s Legacy.

“This was one of—if not THE—most difficult books I’ve written because of its dark themes; however, I’ve never experienced the spiritual high at the end that put me on my face in worship—literally, on my face, weeping. This book isn’t a light, Sunday afternoon read. It’s a deep, spiritual journey that shows the power of God moving through darkness as an unquenchable light. It’s a faith refiner that brings out the pure gold at the end.”

As Mesu has already alluded to, the most pronounced message in Isaiah’s Legacy is, as she says, that “NO ONE is too far gone for God to reach.”

Another piece of encouragement readers may find in the story is that although God’s people may at times feel helpless, we are never hopeless because we are His.

“I could go on,” Mesu enthused in reference to the lessons found throughout the story, “but I love for readers to find their own messages!”

If you’ve read these books, I’d love to hear what lessons you found! Post your findings in the comments.

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?” I asked.

“The same thing I always hope my readers come away with,” Mesu replied, “—a hunger to read the TRUTH in God’s Word because their curiosity has been piqued by my fiction. It’s the only reason I write…to drive people to the Bible.”

If you’d like to find other biblical fiction buffs, you can check out a Goodreads group by that name (Biblical Fiction Buffs) that chats about their favorite biblical fiction books. This summer they’re reading Mesu’s book, The Pharaoh’s Daughter.

Book Blurb for Isaiah’s Legacy

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power. 

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

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