The Book of Longings

I want to start by stressing that I wouldn’t consider this to be a religious book – it’s historical fiction. A well-written, incredibly researched piece of historical fiction, at that. Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing writer (and researcher!) but I hadn’t prioritized this book until my mom told me she was reading it and so I decided to read it with her. The premise? Imagine that Jesus had a wife. A feminist wife. The book is the story of Ana, Jesus’s fictitious wife. We’re introduced to her as a girl, growing up in a wealthy family in Galilee with her aunt Yaltha and brother Judas, betrothed to a much older man she doesn’t love. Through a chance encounter, she meets Jesus in a cave – they end up marrying, Ana giving up everything to be with him. The book is Ana’s story. It’s beautifully researched and incredibly written. It reminded me a bit of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (another classic!). I want to stress again that the book isn’t religious, it’s not claiming to be factual, and it’s also respectful to The Bible. (I’m saying this really as a response to DMs I’ve received which were a mix of “not wanting to read a religious book,” and also worried that the book would be disrespectful to the Christian faith. It’s neither!) I loved this book. I feel like I held my breath through parts of it, and it’s one of those books I know I’ll think about for years to come.