Tuesday, February 6, 2024


Up from Dust: Martha's StoryUp from Dust: Martha's Story by Heather Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No stranger to adversity, Martha of Bethany is a woman of dust, undone and unseen in her hurt and loss. After her mother's untimely death, the responsibility for raising her siblings—Lazarus and Mary—lies heavily on her shoulders. She finds solace in a new friendship and the beginnings of first love, but her father's disapproval and unforeseen hardship leave Martha broken and guarded.

Twelve years later, when her friend's husband contracts a severe disease, they send for the new rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. Martha recognizes the miraculous Healer from a story she heard many years ago, and the life-changing encounter reawakens Martha's hardened heart, even as she faces an unknown future.

With impeccable research and a keen eye for detail, Heather Kaufman delivers a moving narrative of Martha's life in this hopeful story of love, loss, and the promise of redemption.


Up from Dust by Heather Kaufman is an evocative novel that becomes one of my favorite books of all time. I was caught up in this story from the first page and highly recommend it.

Biblical fiction can be kind of iffy for many people, myself included. But Heather Kaufman has done her homework when it comes to research, which enables her to create a fascinating and compelling backstory for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Nowhere does she contradict what Scripture reveals about this family and their relationship with Jesus. Kaufman's blending of fiction with historical background and culture helped me to better understand Martha. And I was literally holding my breath in the scene where Jesus calls for Lazarus to come forth from the tomb.

One particular scene that makes me pause and reflect is when Jesus heals a leper in the hillside colony and Mary asks, "Why not the others? When there are so many in need?" And Thomas answers, "The true question, is why the one?"

Up from Dust is a relationship drama between parents, siblings, and friends. Kaufman's writing style reminds me of the classic author, Taylor Caldwell, whose biblical fiction in stories like Dear and Glorious Physician and Great Lion of God first gave me a love for this genre. For this reader, Kaufman accomplished her hope that she shares in her author's note at the end ... In all things, dear reader, Scripture is preeminent. My hope is that Up from Dust ignites your love of Jesus and drives you deeper into the Word, where there is endless wealth to be found. In weaving this fictional account, my desire was to remain true to what we do now of these flesh-and-blood people who actually lived and loved the one we call Savior and Lord.

-- "Some men are so sure of their appearance that they stop tending to the man inside - the soul."
-- "Sometimes love engulfs us suddenly, like a consuming fire. Other times it comes over us slowly, like a sunrise."
-- "There's truth in his words that it's the sick who most need a physician. He comes to the sinners, and I find it interesting that the righteous do not like it." - Lazarus

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