She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress. In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.
Her name was Mary Magdalene.
As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith.
Of all the biblical novels I've read that included the character of Mary Magdalene, I believe Daughter of Jerusalem is my favorite. Joan writes in an easy flowing style that held my attention while moving the story along. The first two sections, which deal with the love of Mary's youth followed by her loveless arranged marriage, are great storytelling. And the third section, which includes many of the people and events of Jesus' ministry as seen through Mary's eyes, I found very inspiring. The story makes the miracles of Jesus come alive.
Mary Magdalene has been a fascinating character throughout history, and I like how Joan portrays her as adulterous rather than being a prostitute. Betrayed by the men in her life, Mary learned a hard lesson early on: "Never give men any more power over you than they already possessed. . . . I raised unseen walls around me and let nothing or no one come in." She strays away from the innocent faith of her youth - "I still believed in the God of Israel; I just wanted nothing to do with Him" - and her growing faith in the Messiah is a joy to watch.
The attention to historical and cultural detail is impeccable and adds much interest to the narrative. There were a couple of things I differ in belief on, but even biblical scholars don't agree, so that's okay. The story rises above that and never fails to entertain and inspire.
The way Mary became a devout follower of Christ, never wavering in her faith and using her considerable wealth to help others, offers both a challenge and example to us today. This is a story that I can easily recommend to all readers, not just to those who enjoy biblical fiction.
Excerpt from Joan's website: Why I wanted to write this book
Mary is a fascinating figure, and has been so down through the ages. One of the reasons she is so remarkably interesting is that she is one of the very few women in the gospels who is actually named. Jesus interacted with many women during the course of his ministry, but most of them remain nameless.
This book is Mary’s story, from her childhood to the resurrection of Jesus. The backstory is, of course, pure imagination, but it is not impossible that what I describe in the novel could have happened. Her early love for the brilliant young Daniel, the betrayal by Daniel’s father when he sells her into a loveless marriage, her search for love with a charismatic Roman – all of these things prepare her to meet Jesus and finally discover that the true meaning of her life lies in Him.
Daughter of Jerusalem is about a woman, a great woman, a woman who has been maligned and misunderstood for centuries. I fell in love with Mary when I was writing this book and I think you will too.
Learn more about Joan and her books at joanwolf.com.
This book was provided by Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
*** GIVEAWAY ***
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