About the Book:
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.
This is the second biblical fiction book I have reviewed here and the third that I own. After getting a feel for what biblical fiction has to offer and enjoying it immensely, I was overjoyed when Worthy Publishing contacted me about reviewing Daughter of Jerusalem. Mary Magdalene is a character mentioned throughout the Gospel so reading her story, though it be fictitious, piqued my interest.
When I read the Bible, I often contemplate the backstories of the characters; I wonder who they were, what they're lives were like and what lead to their becoming followers of Jesus. Daughter of Jerusalem follows the early life of Mary as she leaves her father's home due to a disagreeable step-mother and moves in with her dead mother's sister, Aunt Leah (and a whole broad of other distant relatives.) From the first pages, I sympathized with Mary. I felt her pain as she was forced to leave the only home she'd ever known and move in with others whom disliked her. I thought that Joan developed the characters well. I think she wanted us to love Mary and Daniel and very much dislike the villains, Lord Benjamin and even Marcus Novias Claudius who caused Mary pain. She achieved that!
The historical elements were so seamlessly weaved together with the fictitious, that the story was believable. Though the Bible does not say why and how Mary came to lead an adulterous life, I felt that Joan's rendition was appropriate and fit the time and circumstances of the story. The words, characters and locations seemed to come to life before my eyes. I could easily imagine the rich fabrics and luscious gardens just to name a few. The mentions to familiar characters like Peter, and events life the death of Lazarus also made the story more believable and historically intact.
The best part of the story may just have to be the redemptive part where Mary believes that Jesus is who He says He is: The Son of God and begins living a consecrated life. She repents and goes back to her Jewish roots, getting to love the God whom she always knew existed and is now convinced that He loves her too. I can now say that I look at Mary as a heroine; she overcame countless obstacles and misery all to become a student of Jesus, the Messiah she had been waiting for.
Another plus to this book is that fact that it's different! I can truthfully say that nearly every fiction romance novel I have read has had a predictable ending. You know the type: the ones where the guy always gets the girl and they live happily ever after. Mary didn't get her first love, or even her second love, and was thrust into uncomfortable situations and until meeting Jesus, she led an unhappy, sinful life. I thought that this aspect alone could set Daughter of Jerusalem apart from other novels!
I can only fault this book in two areas, one of which is kind of pathetic. I felt that the frequent mention of new names, followed by insufficient descriptions, left me wondering who each new, secondary character was. As I didn't find too much in the book right away, I immediately pinned the new names as either children or servants. The second fault I felt I should mention was the romance between Mary and Daniel. I know that the book is placed in ancient times, where marriages between 14 year old girls and 16 year old boys were permissible but, even though I loved that pair, I felt that the romance was too intense. I nearly forgot that I was reading of children!
I truly, absolutely enjoyed Daughter of Jerusalem and know that you will too! It's a different kind of novel; one that will be a joy to read, one that will touch your heart and at times leave you at the edge of your seat! I rate Daughter of Jerusalem 4.5-5 stars! It was truly a phenomenal read.
Now, onto what I know you've all been waiting for: the giveaway. Worthy Publishing had provided me with review copies for my readers. If you enjoyed my review and want a shot at winning you own copy of Daughter of Jerusalem, enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
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