Book Review: Eve in Exile

Book Review: Eve in Exile

Julie Terry

Being a wife, mother, and homemaker have been roles I have rejoiced in, felt a great purpose and calling to, and been fulfilled in. Sadly, these roles are those in which the chasm has become very deep between a Biblical understanding and current cultural norms. The value of a woman passionately living out the roles she is so clearly designed to excel in has become cheap and unwanted by today’s culture.

So, how do we fight back against the tide of a culture skewed against us? With truth, of course!

Below is a review of an excellent book for women who may be feeling like they are swimming against a heavy cultural tide:

Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle

This is the first book I have read by the author, but it will not be the last. There are a few things that make this book stand out in the sea of “Women’s Christian Living” books I have read through:

1- Historical Context.

Beginning with a history of feminism, she explains how the roots of feminism were planted in rebellion against marriage and family over 200 years ago and speaks to some of the damage that has been done in the process. However, she is honest that some cultural expectations placed upon women have gone against God’s design and need course correction! (For example, God created women to be hard workers. We are not designed for the sole purpose of “sitting pretty”. Therefore, it is no surprise that Victorian culture could only last so long before women became sorely unfulfilled.)

2- Extensive but Readable Biblical Commentary.

Merkle then dives into a beautiful explanation of how God actually designs women and doesn’t shy away from Scriptural terms like “subdue, fill, help, and glorify.” She slows down and explains difficult Bible passages about women, and I appreciate that she bravely went where few women will go in 2024! I left this part of the book grateful to God for creating women so uniquely and intentionally.

3- Application without too much Stereotyping.

Once an explanation of our design is clear, she moves into what it looks like for individual women to live out that design and how different it can look from family to family- but the big issue is our hearts. She writes, “We are a generation that needs to recover a sense of the importance of the home and the importance of wives and mothers who are invested in their people.” She shows how we can think too simplistically about how to carry out this calling to invest in our own home and family and uses Proverbs 31 to stretch our thinking.

One thing Merkle accomplishes that is not unique but very necessary is that she leaves the reader with hope. She uses Proverbs 14:1, a favorite verse of mine, to encourage us to be the women who build, not those who tear down our houses. She inspires us to see the eternal difference we can make as we walk in obedience to God in this area.

If I had to say one thing that could be improved about this book, it would be an extra measure of gentleness. However, I can chalk up Merkle’s directness to her likely spiritual gift of prophecy (probably because I can relate!) and assume that she is created to be a truth-teller more than a mercy-giver. She does not play the political correctness game, so some things she says can come off as offensive at first. However, it was so worth it to read to the end and see the full argument she made.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is when Merkle is describing a woman’s job as a homemaker:

“Our jobs are important because they are poetry. Because they shape loves and they shape loyalties, they teach, and they convict. They’re important because they take glorious truths and make them incarnate, make them visible, and weave them into the souls of the people around us.”

This book can be found on Kindle, in paperback from Target online, and on Audible if you are more of a “listener” than a reader (as I am!). I highly recommend it!

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