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This is the story of Mary Magdalene’s entire life, from childhood to her death. I enjoyed seeing this controversial historical figure in her own element, with no one sitting in judgment of who she was and her relationship to Jesus. The woman who emerged from these pages was initially very troubled. She was doing her best, but she was literally plagued by demons. She met Jesus when she had given up all hope. He gave her her life back, but her old life didn’t want her back. Her family was ashamed of her, partially because of the time she had spent alone with unrelated men, and partly because she believed Jesus’s message. With nowhere else to go, she became one of his first followers and traveled and worked miracles in His name.
My problem was that it was too long. Had it been about half this size, it would have been perfect. I started to feel like this whole group was wandering up and down Israel without any real idea what they were doing. There are only so many pages of that I can read.
I haven’t read very many historical fiction books set around Jesus and his apostles, so I liked seeing all of them as “real” people, in language I could understand. I had a much better idea of their individual personalities after finishing this. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Biblical scholar, but I feel that the author stayed true to the sense we get of them in Scripture.
I also liked seeing what everyday life was like in those times. I especially liked reading about women’s lives.
Since I mentioned the relationship with Jesus, I’ll say that I thought it was pretty delicately handled. I am pretty open-minded, but it all felt plausible to me.
I did find out the problem with sort of getting to see Jesus in a new light: the crucifixion is all new too. My reading pace practically stopped when I knew I was getting close. It wasn’t as graphic as I was afraid it would be, but it still hurt to read it.
Those with more patience for aimless wandering may enjoy this more than I did. I do recommend it as a book that lets you see some central figures of Christianity in more of an everyday light.
Read an excerpt.
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