The third book in author Angela Hunt's Dangerous Beauty series, Delilah is an interesting read. The story of Samson and Delilah is one of the Bible's most famous love stories. Samson, an Israelite, is a judge and Nazirite, dedicated to God at birth by his mother. He has the gift of incredible strength, which gets him in trouble with the Philistines, the political rulers of the time. The Bible doesn't tell us about Delilah's ethnicity or country of origin. She's most often portrayed as a bad girl, a conniving woman, as in the 1949 movie, Samson and Delilah, starring Victor Mature and Heddy Lamar.
Hunt tells the story by alternating viewpoints between Samson and Delilah. Since the Bible gives no backstory on Delilah, she creates a fictional one. Abused by a Philistine, Delilah was rescued by traveling merchants, and taken out of the danger zone. She takes up residence with a widow who weaves for a living and runs a travelers' stop on a major trade route. Delilah has a baby by the Philistine who abused her and raises her son with the help of the widow. Samson enters the picture after the widow's death. He lives with Delilah and helps her raise her son. She hides him from the Philistines from time to time.
In the Bible story, Delilah betrays Samson by finding out the source of his strength, his long hair. She arranges for the Philistines to cut it while he's asleep. When they capture him, he is too weak to break free. As Hunt presents it, Delilah loves Samson, and he loves her. But she still betrays him. She's present when he dies in the Temple of Dagon, taking the Philistines down with the temple.
It's a fascinating read. As always, Hunt presents known historical details accurately. She fills in what the Bible doesn't tell with plausible fiction. I alternately felt sorry for Samson and Delilah. She loved him. He loved her. Ultimately, her betrayal led to the downfall of the Philistines. Was it part of God's plan for her to betray him? Read the story and decide for yourself.
FYI, if you are fuzzy on the Bible account, here's a summary.