I kindly received a review copy of this book through Netgalley
Title: Daughter of Jerusalem, A Novel of Mary Magdalene
Author: Joan Wolf
Published: April 16th 2013 (expected publication)
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
“At the time of Christ, the spoken language was Aramaic. The characters in this book are supposedly speaking Aramaic. The book is a modern English translation of the language.It’s the story of Mary Magdalene. Part One: Mary meets her first love at age 14. Part Two: Mary meets Marcus, Part Three: Mary encounters Jesus.”
In Daughter of Jerusalem, readers will quickly identify with Mary Magdalene– a woman of deep faith who used her wealth and influence to serve Jesus. This fictionalized story of Mary Magdalene is, in the truest sense of the word, an inspirational novel for modern people who are looking to renew in themselves the message of Christ. It’s the greatest story ever lived, told by one of the most famous women who ever lived, and it’s a page-turner. Joan Wolf’s years of success as a novelist enable her to combine storytelling and a faith plot in this beautifully written biblical fiction.
Even though I am not a religious person myself, I am very much interested in the various world religions and their origins. I also adore reading historical books, so I was definitely looking forward to reading this book. And I have to say I really enjoyed it. It may be surprising to hear that this isn’t an overly religious book, in spite of the fact that the main character is Mary Magdalene, and a large part of the book is focused on Jesus and everything he brought about. The way I see it, this is more a book describing the life of a young girl whose life took a few unexpected turns, and who happened to come into contact with an exceptional man. Throughout history, Mary has often been depicted rather negatively, which isn’t the case in this book. She’s described as being a kind, caring, and more than anything a very intelligent woman who was ahead of her time, and dared to think for herself and hold an opinion contrary to the masses. The fact that this book has a first person narrative, Mary’s, helps I think to establish her as a free thinking individual, and it makes her likeable. We see the world through her eyes, and it is very refreshing to see a few iconic events of this world through the eyes of a woman, rather than from a man’s perspective which is customary.
To what degree the story of her early life is accurate I couldn’t say, since I don’t know that much about Mary Magdalene and I had never read a book before that was specifically focused on her life’s story. But to me that didn’t really matter to be honest, because I found it a very interesting read and I know, like with any work of fiction that is based on real people and actual events, that you always need to take what’s been written with a grain of salt. The overall story will have many realistic elements, but many of the details will be either hearsay, or completely made up by the author to fill in the gaps and make the story coherent and interesting. And that’s okay, because it’s a work of fiction and not a text book. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with historical fiction containing some inaccuracies because there are a lot of things we simply don’t know, especially when the events described happened centuries ago, and there are things that just don’t work well and need to be altered or left out in order to make a story readable and coherent. Like I already said, it’s a work of fiction, and as long as that is made clear I see no problem with the author deviating from the facts.
I am torn between giving this 3.5 or 4 stars, but I’m leaning more towards giving the book 4 stars because it was a well written, obviously well researched and detailed story, and I enjoyed reading it very much.