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The Book of Longings

Cover: 'The Book of Longings'

Staff Review: "The Book of Longings" by Sue Monk Kidd

★★★★★

Through an abundance of research and her own imaginings, Sue Monk Kidd weaves together a fantastic piece of historical fiction that tells the story of a young woman named Ana, who becomes the wife of Jesus. While one would think this novel would be religious in nature, it focuses more on the historical context of life in 1st century Israel and Jesus' life through a historical lens. More specifically, the book focuses on Ana and the strong, influential women in her life that most likely had no voice back in the 1st century. 

Born to a wealthy family in Galilee, Ana is a passionate and rebellious girl who would rather be left to write with her papyri and ink than marry. Ana's ambitious father, an advisor to the Roman tetrarch Herod Antipas, plans to marry her to a wealthy, cruel widower for political gain and influence. Ana does everything she can to get out of it, putting her life in danger. Her act of defiance drives a wedge between her tenacious parents and leads her to Jesus of Nazareth, a kind man she once met at a market in Sepphoris. Jesus saves Ana from a stoning and from there, the two marry and start a journey that takes Ana through Jerusalem and Egypt up until Jesus' crucifixion at Golgotha. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the history and historical figures Monk Kidd included in her text, such as Judas and King Herod. Recommended for any fans of historical fiction and those who want to learn more about life in the 1st century at a time of political and religious upheaval.

Audience: adults | Genre: historical fiction

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