I am Ana.
I was the wife of Jesus..
– The Book of Longings
[ About the Book ]
Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious, brilliant mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome’s occupation of Israel. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father’s ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. A chance encounter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating.
Taking Ana on a journey she could never have imagined, The Book of Longings is a glorious evocation of a time and a place where astounding events unfolded, and of one woman’s fate when she fights to make her voice heard.
[ My Review ]
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd will be published April 21st with Tinder Press. It is described as ‘a glorious evocation of a time and a place where astounding events unfolded, and of one woman’s fate when she fights to make her voice heard‘ and is a book that explores the possibility of Jesus having married.
The Book of Longings is a fascinating and incredibly researched piece of work, written passionately and from the heart by Sue Monk Kidd…
“What mattered to me was imagining that Jesus had a wife. The premise of a married Jesus evokes a fascinating question: how would the world be different if Jesus had wed and his wife was part of the story?
I understood from the beginning that I wanted to write the story from a novelist’s perspective and not a religious one”
– Sue Monk Kidd
Ana is an inquisitive, forthright young lady living in a society where women did not question their lot in life. Encouraged by her wayward and forward-thinking aunt, Yaltha, Ana writes in secret about women and their lives, about the hardships faced. Ana is from a wealthy family, living in Galilee, with most of her life sheltered from the outside world. Her step brother Judas causes the family much pain. He is rebellious with ideas to quash the power of Rome. He walks in the company of zealots and brings shame to the family. But Ana loves Judas. She loves to hear the news he brings from beyond the walls protecting her. Ana is different from other girls and is a constant frustration to her mother and father. Her father does provide her with pens and papyrus but he is not fully aware of the rage burning inside her, her longing for freedom and the desire to express her thoughts openly and without fear of reprisal. Ana is idealistic and wants a very different life for herself. She will marry for love. She will have her voice.
Ana’s dreams tilt when her father arranges a marriage for her to a man many years older. Ana is adamant in her refusal but her permission is not necessary. Her father’s decision is binding. But an accidental meeting in a market between Ana and a young man called Jesus, sets in motion a chain of events that would change everything.
Ana, with Yaltha by her side, makes decisions that go against all that her family wish for and with incredible insight, Sue Monk Kidd brings the reader on a journey with Ana as her relationship with Jesus deepens. Moving to Nazareth to live with Jesus, his mother Mary and other family members is initially a challenge for Ana. Losing all her wealth and the associated trappings exposes her inability to do basic tasks so she must learn. She also must learn to become accepted by Jesus’ family. Ana is different to them all but she has grit and a determination to become a part of their lives.
To see Jesus depicted in such a light is an incredibly deep experience. As a Catholic, many of the individual characters in The Book of Longings are familiar to me, by name and in some cases by action. Sue Monk Kidd brings them alive in a very cinematic fashion. Her meticulous attention to detail, and her phenomenal research, is astounding.
Jesus and Ana, as a married couple, is a fictitious relationship from the mind of Sue Monk Kidd. Following Ana’s journey through many dangers and reading about how their relationship grew is really an incredible experience. Ana is a woman with a strength, a curiosity, a thirst for knowledge and this is her story.
Sue Monk Kidd handles the depiction of Jesus in a very considered manner, writing about the man and his humanity.
“I am deeply and reverentially aware that Jesus is a figure to whom millions of people are devoted
It was clear to me from the beginning that I would portray Jesus as fully human. I wanted the story to be about Jesus the man.”
– Sue Monk Kidd
The Book of Longings is an extraordinary book with the most unique premise. Ana’s character feels very real as her story is interwoven into the life of Jesus. From a historical perspective it provides some very authentic depictions of ‘the turbulent resistance to Rome’s occupation of Israel, partially led by her (Ana) brother, Judas.’
The Book of Longings is an exceptional read, one that will stir up the imagination and ask the question…what if? It is a wonderful reading experience, a remarkable blend of fact and fiction, a book I expect to return to in the future.
The Book of Longings is a glorious read, an inspiring tale of one woman’s search for her own truth and the journey of discovery she embarks on in her search.
[ Bio ]
Sue Monk Kidd’s debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than six million copies in the United States, was turned into both an award-winning major motion picture and a musical, and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, was a number one New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a television movie. Her third novel, The Invention of Wings, an Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 pick, was also a number one New York Times bestseller.
She is the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, her groundbreaking work on religion and feminism, as well as the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. She lives in North Carolina.
Twitter ~ @suemonkkidd