Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching. --Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld

Praise for Eve

Bible literalists won’t like the creative license Elliott takes in her story of Earth’s so-called first couple.  Non-judgmental readers willing to envelop themselves in Elliott’s musings may find Eve highly entertaining.”

—USA Today (Winter Picks Preview)

A debut novel that richly evokes earliest biblical times…really comes alive when it departs from lushly imagined retelling and thrusts the family into unfamiliar territory when the brood encounters a city and city people. Elliott is at her imaginative and linguistic best describing city life, customs and architecture…[and] makes biblical fiction her own with a female perspective that emphasizes emotional turmoil, sensual experience and an impressive range of imagery that brings to life daily life in the beginning.”

—Publishers Weekly

An imaginative and deeply felt debut…Exotic setting aside, this could be any contemporary family plagued by a manic-depressive son, a sulky teenager and a father who is shockingly deficient in the wisdom expected…Highly original.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Put[s] a definite female spin on the familiar saga….Readers who loved Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent (1997) will welcome this fresh addition to the biblical fiction genre.”


This debut novel by a contributing writer for Books and Culture tackles the subject with the right combination of background, research, and positive spin.”

—Library Journal, starred review

Tossed from the Garden of Eden for a seemingly insignificant act eating a piece of fruit Eve is adrift.  What did it mean?  Why was the punishment so harsh?  And then, where is God?  Does he still exist?  Does he remember her?…Like many of the best novels, “Eve” works on two levels.  Elliott’s plot is action-packed, but her story also raises spiritual questions about free will, creation and the human relationship with God.”

—Associated Press, M.L. Johnson

Elissa Elliott has written a midrashic novel in a compelling narrative about life….Ms. Elliott writes in modern Midrash of what it may have been like to be in the presence of God and to talk and walk with a celestial being on earth. The scenes between Eve and the nachash are the most intriguing, as the creature is presented not only as seduction or evil, but as doubt; doubt which will lead Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. The rest of her life Eve will continue to both believe and doubt in a God that created Eden and then so harshly threw them into a world of labor and pain. How could they continue to have faith and find peace in God’s world?”

—Jewish Book World

The Old Testament tale of Eve informs this imaginative, poetic novel of what the first woman’s life might have been like, both before and after her expulsion from the Garden of Eden….Each chapter is narrated by and focuses on the experiences of Eve or one of her three daughters, and Elliott skillfully uses different narrative points-of-view and voices to further the character development…Elliott draws not only on Jewish and Christian scholarship but also on Mesopotamian history for her interpretation, and an afterword describes the sources consulted and the author’s creative process…readers who enjoy woman-centered reinterpretations of Old Testament texts (such as Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent) will be drawn to Eve.”

—Historical Novels Review

Minnesota writer Elissa Elliott is the latest to fill in the missing pieces on the fall of man in her affecting debut, ‘Eve: A Novel of the First Woman,’ in which she conjures all the the dysfunction and dissent a reader would hope to find from the family that also invented fratricide….[Eve] is a complicated woman–doubtful of her Creator’s love, despairing at having lost the paradise she once shared alone with Adam, dissatisfied with his efforts to re-create it–and Elliott is at her most effective when she brings Eve’s high-relief choices of good vs. evil down to human scale.  ‘Why would Elohim have given me these desires, unless they are good desires?’ she asks Adam, before eating that fateful fruit…Elliott’s imaginative and convincing portrait of Eve ought to give book clubs plenty to talk about, and will leave Bible study groups even more to argue over.”

—Minneapolis Star Tribune

What happened to Adam and Eve after they left the garden?  Did God walk and talk with them in Eden?  Was the garden free of death and pain?  Were Adam and Eve really the first people?  How did Eve live with her longing for God as she aged?  Was the snake that tempted Eve really evil?  Those are the sweeping questions Elissa Elliott raises in “Eve,” her debut novel, which is sure to be controversial….‘People are saying I was very brave to write about this topic.  But it wasn’t bravery.  I wanted people to talk about things.  Sometimes, I feel like I am on this journey of changing as I am reading and talking, which is the whole purpose of life.  I want to engage with others who are on that journey.  Even if we are going in different directions, we can at least talk about it.  I don’t find there is a lot of political, religious or spiritual charity allowing people to believe what they want to believe’…. ‘I do not believe Adam and Eve were the first people,’ Elliott says.  ‘Historians differ on how long they think humans have existed.  I left it open to the reader to decide.  Conservative Christians would say every word of Genesis is true.  Hasidic Jews say the first book of the Torah is true.  I wanted to say that perhaps God likes stories just as much as we do.’”

—St. Paul Pioneer Press

The appeal then becomes the telling, the journey up to that point and the parts invented.  Luckily, Elliott’s craft is up to the challenge.  The idea of the novel may be the initial draw, but it is the author’s writing which will keep your faith until the end.  Now, if only Sunday service could be this interesting…”

—MN Daily, University of Minnesota’s newspaper

…And still others [‘fiction with an Old Testament setting’] grow from a faithful writer’s wrestling with questions that many of us have asked over the years in our encounters with the strange, powerful, and often enigmatic living word of the Old Testament.  It’s in this last category that we should place Elissa Elliott’s Eve: A Novel of the First Woman, published by Delacorte Press…Her first novel is a midrash of sorts, pursuing theological themes by means of a family story rooted in a world radically different from our own and yet also unmistakably the same….”

Books & Culture

Eve is a beautiful novel, richly imagined.  Elissa Elliott has written about Eve in such a new way, and by exploring her heart, conflicts, desires, and choices, she illuminates our own.  I loved the intimate tone, and although I know how the story goes, I found myself reading on the edge of my seat.  This novel is irresistible, and if it were an apple, I would have to eat it.”

—New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice

Elissa Elliott’s debut is Biblical fiction at its absolute best. Like Anita Diamant and Marek Halter, Elliott reaches across the millennia to embrace a woman whose story has never fully been told. A thought-provoking and gripping read, Elliott has triumphed with her wholly original Eve: A Novel of the First Woman.”

—Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen

In this novel hauntingly beautiful poetic language, a powerful imagination and extensive scholarship combine. Together they weave tender love and dark passions, suspense and drama into a richly textured, colorful and strikingly beautiful tapestry. Eve is an intense and fascinating read that will keep you spellbound until the last engrossing page.”

—Eva Etzioni-Halvey, author of The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth, and The Triumph of Deborah

Elliott tells this tale in crisp, vivid prose, with a keen sense of the psychological, relational and spiritual dramas that unfolded at the dawn of human history.  In these regards, her style is particularly reminiscent of the fiction of Frederick Buechner, perhaps most like Son of Laughter, given the common biblical framework and backdrop of ancient human history.  Like Buechner, Elliott breathes life into characters that experience a full range of human emotions: love and rage, faith and doubt, etc.  The fruits of these passions–sex, murder, betrayal, loyalty–are depicted in clear, but honest terms that poignantly reflect the struggles and intentions of the characters….From the heights of life in Eden’s garden–where she sees and converses with Elohim her creator, and where she is one with her husband, Eve plunges into the turmoil of life after the fall: tense relations with her husband and her children, and doubt stemming from the evasiveness of Elohim.  As the story draws to its close, however, she begins to find a sort of peace even in the fallen world….Thus, following in the footsteps of Buechner and those of writers like Flannery O’Connor, Nikos Kazantzakis and Walker Percy, Elliott creates a world of deep and twisted brokenness, and yet one that is saturated with an even deeper hope.”

—The Englewood Review of Books, Chris Smith

Do you have a patient boss? You’d better hope so, because listening to ‘Eve’ on your commute is going to make you late. You’ll want to hear ‘just one more minute’ of this positively beautiful novel.  Spinning a tale that’s both lush and lyrical, author Elissa Elliott gives Eve a complex humanity as a mother worried about her children and as a wife who sees her husband slipping away. She feels bereft and abandoned, powerless to stop the changes she sees. Elliott’s story sticks pretty close to the Biblical version, though still making Eve seem familiarly, comfortingly contemporary.”

—Daily Sound, Terri Schlichenmeyer (referring to audiobook)


Lori & Julia Show:

107.1 FM, St. Paul  (February 10, 2009): Elissa dishes about Eve, God, and that forbidden fruit on the popular Lori & Julia afternoon drive-home-from-work radio show.  [This file may take a while to load.  Go grab a cup of joe in the meantime.  Once it’s playing, move the cursor to almost to the halfway point.  11 minutes.]

Lori and Julia Show with Elissa Elliott (Tue Feb 10 2009 – Hr 2)

All Things Considered

Minnesota Public Radio, 90.3 FM, (March 26, 2009): Sea Stachura interviews Elissa about Eve, about the novel’s characters, and about her faith.  4 and 1/2 minutes.

Her.meneutics blog

(June 8, 2009): Ruth Moon interviews Elissa about Eve–writing from a female perspective and musings on her theological stance.

Showcase Minnesota

KARE 11 (February 17, 2010): Corbin Seitz interviews Elissa about Eve–what research went into the book and how women might experience Eve today.

David Group International

Tim King interviews Elissa about Eve–how she envisioned the first family, what the writing difficulties were, what she discovered.