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The Book of Longings

by Sue Monk Kidd

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Historical fiction Books of the Month Literary Fiction Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of The Book of Longings

This thunderbolt of a novel about Jesus’ imagined wife - the unforgettable, immoveable Ana – stirs and dazzles with its bold narrative and intoxicating language.

What if Jesus had married? What kind of woman would he marry? Who would marry him?  These questions are at the heart of Sue Monk Kidd’s sweepingly inventive The Book of Longings.

Ana, with her “turbulent black curls and eyes the colour of rainclouds” and a narrative voice that sweeps you up in its bold passion, was born into a wealthy Galilean family. Sharp-minded and a gifted writer, Ana secretly transcribes the stories of matriarchs in the scriptures, women omitted from the records: “To be ignored, to be forgotten, this was the worst sadness of all. I swore an oath to set down their accomplishments and praise their flourishings, no matter how small. I would be a chronicler of lost stories.”

Ana seems destined to marry an elderly widower to further her father’s career (he’s the closest adviser to Herod Antipas, whom Ana despises), until she encounters eighteen-year-old Jesus and is emboldened and aroused by his revolutionary ideas: “I called him Beloved and he, laughing, called me Little Thunder.” Jesus understands Ana’s longings, her “life begging to be born,” and she loves his kindness, his capacity for listening. Of course, we know how the real-life narrative plays out, but this affecting story gets under the skin as familiar events unfold through Ana’s eyes, as a proto-feminist, as wife of Jesus, as sister of Judas.

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Joanne Owen

The Book of Longings Synopsis

'I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.'

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman called Ana.

Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious, brilliant mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome's occupation of Israel. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father's ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. A chance encounter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating.

Taking Ana on a journey she could never have imagined, The Book of Longings is a glorious evocation of a time and a place where astounding events unfolded, and of one woman's fate when she fights to make her voice heard.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781472232519
Publication date: 18th March 2021
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Publisher: Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 432 pages
Collections: 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction - Women’s Words, Our Favourite Books of 2020,
Primary Genre Historical fiction
Other Genres:
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Sue Monk Kidd Press Reviews

'The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant they will bring tears to your eyes' - Library Journal

'A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman - slave or free . . . a conversation changer' - Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine - Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine

This year's The Help - but even better - Fabulous

'A resonant, illuminating novel' - Observer

'Wonderful - well-written, moving and engaging by turns, and always compelling' - Daily Mail

'The tale of one motherless daughter's discovery of what family really means - and of the strange and wondrous places we love' - Washington Post

'Moving, original, and accomplished . . . It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous' - Joanna Trollope

'Exhilarating. . . powerful' - Washington Post

Praise for Sue Monk Kidd's earlier novels 'The message about the importance of kindness and the power of women's voices should resonate strongly with today's readers' - Booklist

Ana's ambition and strong sense of justice make her a sympathetic character for modern readers ... A vibrant portrait of a woman striving to preserve and celebrate women's stories - her own and countless others - Publishers Weekly

'A testament to the author's talent for creating both compelling characters and intriguing story lines ... The intensity, bravery, and strength of character of Ana ... will inspire readers ... to live authentically and remain true to oneself' - Library Journal

Superlative . . . from a writer at the top of her game . . . A practically perfect historical novel - New York Journal of Books

An inspiring story of a strong woman living in a society bent on her silence - Good Housekeeping (US)

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781472232519
Publication date: 18/03/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781472232496
Publication date: 21/04/2020
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd is the author of the highly acclaimed bestsellers The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair. The Secret Life of Bees was her first novel. Selling over 6 million copies, it has become a modern classic and has been adapted into a feature film starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson.   Author photo © Roland Scarpa

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