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Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf

Saturday, January 11, 2014

She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress.
In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.


In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible's most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary's world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary's life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town -- and ultimately to the moment she saw Him risen from the dead.

As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus' beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene's story and find yourself in this remarkable woman's journey to discover the Kingdom of God.

Goodreads Summary

The stories about Mary Magdalene and Queen Esther were my daughters’ favorites when they were young.  I enjoyed reading Wolf’s fictionalized account of Mary’s relationships with loves, cousins, the Apostles, and Jesus.  The reminder about the Roman oppression and the Jewish longing for the Messiah was interesting to read in these weeks before Christmas.  Reading passages about the status of women during that time is depressing because many women in the world still experience a similar lack of freedom and individual rights.  As Wolf writes, “The Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, and Abraham was ready to obey.  The Lord never asked Sarah how she might feel about that.”  “We [women] have no choice but to obey.”  The viewpoint of Mary’s Roman friend, Julia Tiberia, adds a worldly element to this story of Mary’s life.  It’s great to see that Mary’s world is opened to reading and writing through her Roman friends.  However, she also learns to be “fickle and their gods”.  Mary enters into an adulterous affair which is oddly encouraged by her Jewish husband.

As Mary says later, sometimes it would be easier to follow the “myriad rules of Jewish Law than to follow the very simple requirements of Jesus.”  She struggles to forgive those who have wronged her just as some of the Apostles struggle to “let go of their dream of power”.  Wolf’s fictionalized account of Jesus’ Crucifixion focuses on the bravery and love of his mother, Mary.  Martha loves to cook for Jesus and the Apostles; as a rich widow, Mary Magdalene is able to fund His teaching and the needs of His followers.  Wolf emphasizes the role of women in His life.

Four Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*    

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. LAWonder said...:

    Mary Magdalene and Queen Esther were both great women in scriptures. I enjoy reading different author's "take" in fictional stories of the scripture characters.