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The Book of Longings

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  19 reviews
“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.

In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2020 by Viking
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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JS is Reading
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this in a couple cozy sittings over the holidays - it struck me as I read it that I hadn't read a book like this in a long time - a true, traditional, storytelling experience, this book is mythic and intimate, joyful and painful - it really reads like an instant classic. Unnlike a lot of books I read that feel half formed or not fully cooked - this book felt like it just exists - not that it was written or attached to any author - it stands totally on its own and that is a rare thing in ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Interesting subject matter! Interested in seeing how Monk Kidd writes about this - I feel like it could be a rich experience (and hopefully better presented over Colm Tóibín The Testament of Mary - a book I felt close to loathing for.)
Jillian Doherty
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was both curious about this captivating story, and curious if the read would be as good as hoped with such a momentous premise... it does!

Well researched and easy to enjoy; the narrative voice with fully realized, provocative characters become an immersive human story - plus it has a killer first line: "I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus."

Ana's voice is strong, assured, and intoxicating - filled with rich, evocative power, as compelling as her previous titles, yet even more literary and
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was a little skeptical going into this book, mainly because I consider myself a fairly devout Christian. While I am extremely open to interpretations and opposing beliefs, I thought this book would offend rather than inspire. I am so glad that I ignored my reservations and finished the book. This was definitely one of the most delicately explored historical fiction books I have ever read. Sue Monk Kidd explains herself that, while she was extremely careful to perform the necessary research and ...more
Claudia Silk
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you have been waiting for a book like THE RED TENT for the past 20 years this is it. Ana is Jesus’ wife and a force in her own right. Monk does not come across sensational in her writing about a fictional marriage for Jesus but rather goes into great historical detail of the time and what it would be like to be a woman. Loved this book.
Nancy Mijangos
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is based upon a possible wife of Jesus Christ. The storyline is written respectfully and I feel that Jesus's character remains Christlike. The manner in which women were devalued in that time period is shocking, but realistic. Ana is a strong woman, a loving wife, and a gifted writer. She loves Jesus, but she also has dreams and aspirations for herself.

This would make a great discussion novel for a
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
So beautiful. Has the potential to be trite, but avoids every (or at least almost every) pitfall. The Red Tent with more star power, but also with less of the deep, feminist earthiness I loved in that book. If this book had existed when I was a teenager I would have spent at least several weeks after reading nursing a very big crush on Jesus.

"It was true I no longer believed in the god of rescue, only the god of presence..."
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A unique novel about a Jewish woman, Ana. Told through her voice, I learned about the life of Ana and how she meets and eventually marries a Jewish carpenter, Jesus. I liked how the author blended scripture and fiction to weave a story. It brought to life the people in the Bible and made them seem more realistic.

Different subplots kept the story moving. At a fast pace.. With twists and turns. Until The climatic
Diane Payne
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sue Monk Kidd wrote an interesting novel by creating a fictional character, Ana, to be the wife of Jesus. No one is certain if Jesus was ever married, something Kidd has pondered for awhile. Ana gives us a glimpse of the dreary and violent lives of women, and lets readers see them as heroines. Of course, Jesus was a saint, and quite the catch in many ways, so Ana was fortunate to marry the man she idolized. Obviously, we know the fate of Jesus, but we don't know about this young Ana or her ...more
Sally Stieglitz
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I am of two minds about this book. It is divided into sections based on divisions in the character's life and her location. The first one, in which she is a young woman (teens), I found pretty dismal. The language felt stilted, although that was probably an attempt to give a historical feel. However, to people living in any time, their language is natural and this device felt like artifice and a barrier to embracing the narrator's reality. Most characters were introduced without much nuance- ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Book of Longings creates the unknown years of Jesus' life and his probable wife (Ana). She is scholarly, defiant, and above all loyal to her purpose. She never gives up on her own campaign in a time where women were only thought to have but one true purpose. Her story begins betrothed at the age of 14. She seeks out her will and she runs from despair. It's a story of true human love and the mission to fulfill one's life and leave your legacy. I enjoyed this tale and the relationships she ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
For even attempting a novel about the wife of Jesus, I give the author 5 stars. That she managed to write it believably, compassionately, with an historically accurate setting and a realistic portrayal of the life of women at that time is amazing. Obviously Jesus is part of her narrative but his wife, Ana, is really the main character around whom the story revolves. She has written a great book, one that inspires reflection and brings life to a 2000 year old story.

Big thanks to NetGalley and
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Well written, provocative, yet in essence a simple story. The writing was quite good, the pacing was quite slow for the first third, but overall a good story. I just....was not a fan of the protagonist. I am very picky with my historical female characters and found Ana to be too much of a reach for a modern feminist type character. I found her fire and will to be remarkable, but very unrealistic for her age in the beginning. It was very interesting to read of a fully human Jesus, yet I confess ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will be talked about when it is released, no doubt. There’s plenty of book club fodder within its pages. You know the story of Jesus, but do you know his wife? What a subject matter to tackle! Based mostly on what life would have been like at the time for men, for women, for families and society, Sue Monk Kidd makes a case for Jesus taking a wife and why history would have forgotten her.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
A novel I didn’t know I needed. The story, and the character of Ana, that Sue Monk Kidd creates I devoured this over two days and will be processing for a while. I can’t imagine any other 2020 releases will top this one for me, and I look forward to the publication date so others get to experience this one.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I really enjoyed this book. Sue Monk Kidd imagines what if Jesus was married and not just to any woman, but an intelligent, scholarly, and spiritual woman in her own right. The power of women’s spiritual voices and men’s efforts to silence them are strong themes in this beautifully written novel. Thanks to NetGalley for ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
Stephanie Crowe
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
A most interesting story by Sue Monk Kidd which demonstrates her storytelling capability. She has taken a possibility and crafted an inventive tale of Ana, the young woman who became the wife of Jesus. The description of life in that period and the characters come alive. I found it fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed the story!

Anne Paulson
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a bookseller at a small indie bookstore. I was thrilled to find this in a recent box of ARCs! Beautifully written! I devoured it!
Joy Matteson
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Dec 16, 2019
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SUE MONK KIDD was raised in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970 and later took creative writing courses at Emory University, as well as studying at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other writers’ conferences. In her forties, Kidd turned her attention to writing fiction, winning the South Carolina Fellowship in Literature and the 1996 Poets &