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  • Extraordinary and moving

    What a story this is. The story of a woman who might have been Jesus’ wife, spanning the time shortly before he begins his mission to his death. A surprising story. Not a story about the type of woman we might expect to be Jesus’ wife, not his Little Helper, quiet, devout, always by his side, deferring to him, acquiescing to his every wish. Instead it’s the story of a strong woman with a voice that will not be silenced who makes her own path, finds her destiny and satisfies her longings. It’s a story about her everyday relationship with him and her influence on him, and His influence on her and His understanding of the unique person she was. Ana is very much her own person and always has been. Her background and personality are nothing like that of Jesus. She comes from wealth and privilege, isn’t always a nice person, is often selfish and self-centered. In other words, often human She isn’t necessarily a believer either, but her love for Jesus is deep. It came over her the first time she saw him and never wavers. We don’t know that Jesus had a wife, but we don’t know that he didn’t either, since the Bible doesn’t tell us much about those years. Author Sue Monk Kidd flawlessly weaves the “what if’s” with what we already know of Jesus’ life and presents a story that is completely plausible and believable, and completely mesmerizing, filled with characters that could have been part of history. Her parents, her aunt Yaltha, her friend Tabitha, and her brother Judas – that Judas – all come alive. As does the human Jesus, leading an everyday life as a husband, brother and son, while being drawn to a higher purpose. Women were meant to be silent and obedient in this time and place. Wealth, privilege, or association with a powerful ruler did not exempt you from danger. Again, author Kidd weaves in facts about known historical figures with events and consequences in the lives of Ana and her friends and relatives. The Book of Longings is extraordinary, touching, thought-provoking and a very enjoyable read. I received an advance copy from publisher Random House. All opinions are my own. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it without hesitation.

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    4 person found this review helpful

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  • This is a wonderful read

    I have always loved this aauthor. And I purposely savored the book. Because I am a preacher I was a little concerned, but she knocked it out of the park again. Something to cherish.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • A must read!

    If you only read one book this year, make it this one! Your soul is longing to be immersed in it. You just don't know it yet.

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  • Two Outliers Find Love and Meaning in Their Lives

    Sue Monk Kidd's fourth novel offers an enthralling and believable back story to Ana, the much loved wife of Jesus. Wealthy, brilliant, daring, and independent -- with a gift for and love of writing-- Ana receives a much richer education than was typical of girls in this era. Thanks to an indulgent father. But at 14, her parents begin arranging a marriage to a much older widower who will ensure financial comfort for Ana and advance their own personal goals. Ana's objections are ignored. Then, a chance encounter in a marketplace with 18-year-old Jesus changes Ana. And as circumstances unfold, and their OWN marriage becomes possible, Ana finds her life of privilege transformed into one of household chores in the crowded home of her husband's family, while her husband is frequently away searching for work. While Ana's decidedly feminist story is primary in the book, and tells much about the difficulties of being an intelligent woman at a time when women were the property of the men who controlled them -- the story of Jesus is just as compelling. His unique perspective on society, uncertain parentage, and continual religious questioning make him an outlier in the community. He is searching for something. But all the while, what is so touching is the way he supports Ana and encourages her longings for more in life. When Jesus meets John the Immerser (Baptist) and decides to follow him, Ana gets to do some traveling of her own and have her own adventures. Though separated for long periods of time, their love endures. And we learn much about the meaning of family -- which is sometimes made up of those related to you and other times, those you choose. It's a lovely novel. My only criticism is that it felt a bit slow at times, though the last 20% is a real page-turner.

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  • Incredibly powerful & A MUST-READ!

    WOW. What an incredibly powerful story. I did not want it to end! I'd definitely label this one a MUST-READ! Reading about life in those long-ago days - especially the way people were treated - was so FASCINATING, although too many were treated with horribly cruelty. It's very difficult for people in this day and age to believe how oppressed ALL but the wealthiest people were. It was thought that women, men, birds and animals of all kinds ... ALL of them existed to be used and abused at the whim of the rich and powerful. Shocking and difficult to understand. Thankfully we've come a very long way since then. Every character in this book - and there are many - has a purpose, and all are interesting. But, of course, the central story was of Jesus and Ana. They had a very beautiful, but tragic, love story. My heart ached for them. And towards the end, as Jesus was led to his crucifixion, Ana following behind, reminding him of sweet moments of their life together, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. I admit that books have often made me cry, but not like this. This story was so powerfully written that I was reduced to a blubbering puddle of tears. This is not the kind of story that comes around every day. You do not want to miss it!

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