Review by Cristy Ballard
“Salome’s Conversion” is a retelling of the biblical story of the step-daughter of King Herodias, who was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist. In the New Testament version, Salome performs an erotic dance known as the Dance of the Seven Veils, and so entrances the king that he swears to give her whatever she might ask of him. When Salome inquires of her mother what she should request, the king’s wife replies “Ask for the head of John the Baptist.”
Ms. Federbush’s version begins in the same manner, though Salome’s part is much more innocent than the biblical version in that she is tricked into the dance by her mother and doesn’t really understand what’s happening until it’s all over. Afterwards, where the Bible leaves a mostly blank hole for the rest of Salome’s life, the book takes over and weaves a tender tale of love and redemption as the young girl enters the house of Mary, mother of Jesus, and eventually falls into the camp that follows Jesus as he preaches in Galilee.
Salome begins her journey when a young Roman guard named Decius kidnaps her
from the king’s household after the disastrous dance. The two of them, along with
Salome’s nurse, make for Nazareth in the hopes of being safe from Herodias. Along the way they encounter many hardships, but Decius and Salome’s love for one another, as well as for this strange man called Jesus, grows.
It’s a sweet story of young love, enduring love, and the power of God’s love that readers will find both heartwarming and tragic. As someone who has always had an interest in the stories of the Bible, I love how Ms. Federbush has woven both historical and biblical aspects into her writing, but I also believe that anyone who is looking for a good clean romance will enjoy this book. The author writes in a straightforward and solid manner, but also with a sort of naive innocence that is in keeping with the character of Salome.
She’s a heroine you want to see have a happy ending, despite her selfishness and cruel tendencies in the beginning. Somewhere along her journey Salome becomes a woman and it’s a transformation worth seeing.