Debbie's Reviews > Unafraid: Mary

Unafraid by Francine Rivers
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's review
Dec 22, 09

bookshelves: christian, historical
Read in December, 2009

"Unafraid" was an enjoyable, thought-provoking historical novella about Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. It sticks to the facts given in Scripture and then fills in the information not given in the Bible accounts with the author's ideas about what Mary and Joseph were like and so on. Readers might not agree with how she chose to 'fill in' the story or the personalities she gave Mary, Joseph, etc., but it's one possibility.

The pacing was good, and the characters were complex and interesting. It's obvious that Francine Rivers did a lot of historical research in order to get the historical details right, and the details brought the events alive in my imagination.

However, some of the minor historical details (which may not have been known or been easy to discover when she wrote this) weren't correct, like she has Mary unable to study the Torah with the boys when, in the first century, she actually would have been allowed. She also used a non-standard (which may confuse some readers) but well-researched view (apparently based on "The Star of Bethlehem" by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D.) of when Jesus was born and how old he was in relation to the coming of the wise men, their going to Egypt, etc.

There were also a couple continuity errors in some minor, non-critical details, like Mary sleeping on straw one moment and on hay in the next.

At the end of the book, the author included a nice six-part Bible study on the life of Mary. The story obviously had strong Christian content, but I wouldn't call it preachy except for a statement obviously aimed at Catholics at the very end. Actually, there were several things about how Mary was portrayed that were Bible-based but which Catholics might not approved of.

There was no bad language and no explicit sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novella as well-written, clean reading.
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