I have so enjoyed Roseanna M. White's recent releases that I've slowly been making my way through her earlier works. I was not entirely sure what to expect with "A Stray Drop of Blood," but that was okay - once I got into the novel, every time I thought I had figured out what would happen next I was always wrong! That's some strong storytelling right there.
Our heroine is Abigail, a young Hebrew slave who lives in Jerusalem. Her mistress is also Hebrew, while the master is a Roman soldier who believes in the One True God. Despite being a slave, Abigail is treated more like a daughter, loved and educated throughout her upbringing.
Things shift drastically when the master's son Jason returns from Rome, having been away for several years. Seeing Abigail's beauty, he believes he must have her for himself, no matter the cost to Abigail or his parents.
Tensions run high in Jerusalem as the words of the teacher Jesus are much reported, and Barabbas wreaks havoc in the streets as he leads an uprising. From the fateful Passover day that changed the course of the world to the beginning of the church in Rome, Abigail's tumultuous journey will keep you glued to the pages.
This book does not shy away from the debauchery of the times, so I would not recommend it for readers under 18 years of age. If sexual assault or abuse is a trigger I would also caution readers to look elsewhere. For a technical note on the writing, I found the vast number of point of view characters to be a different approach. In general I do not prefer to have so many come and go, though it helped with the suspense of never knowing which direction this story would turn. Overall this book was quite reminiscent of a classic story I loved as a teenager: "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas. I would recommend "A Stray Drop of Blood" for adult readers who enjoy Biblical fiction or looking into life as it might have been at the time of Jesus.