By Diana Wallis Taylor
Revell, $14.99, 292 pages

Those readers familiar with the history of Jesus Christ will know of his faithful follower, Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned briefly in the Bible as being present during his ministry and travels, as well as at his death and resurrection. However, we don’t know much about her early life before meeting up with Jesus. This historical novel takes us to Magdala, Israel, back into her childhood and young adult years and portrays a sweet, intelligent child that has high hopes for future love and family.

Unfortunately, after being kidnapped (and rescued) at age 12, Mary begins to have terrible nightmares, and over the years, her mind deteriorates into madness. Her childhood friend and tutor, Nathan, loves her despite her condition, and although their marriage starts off well, his patience is challenged as the years go on without much improvement in Mary. So, when Nathan hears of a man claiming to be the Messiah, ministering to the sick and casting out demons, he knows this is Mary’s best chance for healing.

Although the first half of the book relates her early years in an interesting way, Mary’s voice is lost in the second half of the book. As she travels around with Jesus, his miracles and lessons are described, but it feels like a basic retelling of the familiar biblical stories, without much of her personality or thoughts coming through in the narrative. The writing style is very simplistic, without much sensory detail or intricate dialogue.

Reviewed by Aimee Rasmussen