Ana is a very unusual young woman for her time. From a very young age, she has been interested in reading, writing and learning – pursuits deemed, not only unnecessary for a female but most unseemly for a girl who should be thinking just of marriage and motherhood.
But Ana’s position as the only child of head scribe to Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, has put her in the privileged position of being able to study as much as her disapproving mother will allow and she spends the precious moments she devotes to her beloved studies copying the words of the matriarchs of the scriptures onto scrolls that she keeps in a chest in her room.
Ana is rebellious at heart and wants more than the life her parents have marked out for her, and she is encouraged by her aunt Yaltha – herself a woman of learning and unconventional notions. So when she meets the young Jesus, his ideas and passion call to her, and she longs to be free of the marriage contract her parents have arranged to further their ambitions.
Yaltha emboldens Ana to express her inner desires in prayer. Ana wants to be “a voice” and to be free to choose her own fate in this world, and her life is about to change in ways she could never have imagined – for Ana is about to become the wife of Jesus of Nazareth.
An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings
In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.
Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humour and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome’s occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbours a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.
Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.
As part of the Audio Blog Tour for The Book of Longings, I am honoured to be able to bring you the opportunity to listen to Part Five of the first section of the fabulous audiobook version
Headline Books · The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, read by Mozhan Marnò – Part 5
See the poster below for the fabulous bloggers who are hosting the other parts and buy the book to get the full wonderful experience.
Thank you to Caitlin Raynor
Publicity Director of Headline and Tinder Press for gifting me a copy of this fabulous book, in return for an honest review.
Writer On The Shelf
“You are about to meet Ana, a brilliant and rebellious young woman in the first century who becomes the wife of Jesus. Living in a time when women are marginalized and largely unheard within the histories of men, she struggles to realize her passion and potential and to have a voice. Remarkably, the story has relevance even today, women still struggle for greater empowerment. The quest for one’s voice, one’s bravery, one’s freedom, one’s largeness is timeless”
– Sue Monk Kidd