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The Book of Longings

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

An imaginative and intriguing story of a first century woman full of courage and perseverance.



Ana was raise in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee. She is rebellious and has a daring spirit. She desires to write about the neglected and silenced women of her times. Unwillingly, Ana is betrothed by her parents an landowning older widower. And then she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus in the market place.

After the death of her betrothed, Ana marries Jesus and they live with his brothers families, and their mother, Mary in Nazareth

Ana’s pent-up longings intensifies amid the turbulent resistance to Rome’s occupation of Israel. Ana’s brother, Judas, is an active member of the resistance. She is sustained and encouraged by her fearless Aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret of her own. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria with her Aunt, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she ultimately finds refuge in unexpected surroundings.


THE BOOK OF LONGINGS is an imaginative and intriguing first person narrative set in the first century. Ana, is a women who more than anything wants to reach her potential and wants her voice to be heard. Ana’s character is full of courage and perseverance.

I approached this book cautiously, raised a Catholic I personally believe that Jesus never had a wife. But what if he did? Can’t we just imagine that for a while? What would she have been like. What would she think about him. THE BOOK OF LONGINGS is a work of fiction. It is not trying to rewrite history. This is Ana’s story, and she had a quest of her own.

One of the most amazing things I learned from the book was that a hymm written by Ana was actually extracted from a real document, known as the Nag Hammadi text, written by an unknown female author during the same time period.

Sue Monk Kidd’s wring is touching and poignant. She skillfully transports us back in time and I appreciate that she had tried to be true to the historical, cultural, political and religious backdrop. I particularly liked that her author notes identify the key areas in her novel that deviate from the know timeline, the written Word or from accepted tradition.

Kidd is from Sylvester Georgia and is best known for her novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings. Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin/Viking for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Viking

Published April 21, 2020

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