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The Book of Longings

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  67,721 ratings  ·  9,252 reviews
“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in fur
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Viking
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Emily Devine I would highly recommend looking into the Council of Nicaea and the Gospel of Mary to start. The laws, languages, and beliefs of Christianity, like mo…moreI would highly recommend looking into the Council of Nicaea and the Gospel of Mary to start. The laws, languages, and beliefs of Christianity, like most religions, have been changed greatly over the years to suit the needs of those in power at the time. Jesus could very well have had a wife, most likely Mary Magdalene, or he could not have. We may never know, as many accounts of his life are lost, destroyed, or not included in the Bible ( i.e. locked away in the Vatican). I assume, though, that if he took a wife it would be for love and companionship, as I'm sure prophets get lonely too here on Earth. Either way, if you have any interest in the plot, I would recommend you read it. Even if it contradicts your own personal belief system, consuming media that reflects another's point of view often reaffirms or evolves your own view of the world, offering a richer life experience.(less)
Ellen How on earth could anyone (whether real or fictitious) in the time of Jesus, convert to Christianity, when it wasn't even created yet?!…moreHow on earth could anyone (whether real or fictitious) in the time of Jesus, convert to Christianity, when it wasn't even created yet?!(less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
im not a historian, nor am i a theologian; but neither are necessary to feel so deeply astonished by this story.

before reading, the book synopsis had intrigued me. i found the concept to be fascinating and promising. but it was when i opened to the first page, read the first paragraph, that i knew this story would own my heart. the writing is just so breathtaking beautiful, i had goosebumps. the language is so poetic and radiates love.

and i think thats why this story worked so much for me - bec
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
While this novel contains the historical rather than theological Jesus as a character, it is really the story of his fictional wife, Ana. It is widely believed that during the “lost years” of Jesus he worked as carpenter in Sepphoris rather than Nazareth and Ana meets Jesus during this time. The first part of the novel is a bit slow to start but nicely introduces Ana as a feminist with an aching need to read and most importantly to write. Jesus and Ana marry and eventually part as Jesus follows ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 28, 2020 is currently reading it
Just started it! And look at my silly, too red quarantine reading style!
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: histoical fiction fans, Sue Monk Kidd Fans
Sue Monk Kidd brings so much heart, insight and new perspective to any work she has done. Several of my favorite books were written by her including Secret Life of Bees and Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

This is similar to Wings of Invention where she takes us into the past and makes it live again. Her writing here is stunning and like poetry. This is a historical fiction book that she made up, but it's so well done that I kept feeling like this was a true account of what happened. Sue did deep
Angela M
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
There have been many times when I’ve read about strong, courageous, intelligent women, both real and imagined who long for and achieve things that are deemed only acceptable and possible for men at the time of history in which they live. I have at those times thought that these were women beyond their time, but now I’m not so sure that thinking does justice to them. The striking thing is that they are women of their time, different than most because of their audacity to follow their longings whe ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
For many Christians, it has been believed that Jesus was an unmarried man who was crucified and buried and was the son of God. Our knowledge of his life comes to us through the bible but there were many years that were unaccounted for in his thirty-three years on earth. What if in those years, Jesus did indeed marry? For some this might be a difficult concept and yet Sue Monk Kidd decided to take it on and wrote an interesting tale of just that possibility.

Ana, the future wife of Jesus was a he
Many sighs.

What can I say about this? I have no idea what I was expecting, but what I got was basically Bible fanfiction, complete with a speshul heroine.

This is the story of Jesus's fictional wife, Ana. It's not really about Jesus. The first third of the book follows Ana before she meets him. She's a spirited young woman with a passion for writing that is cruelly suppressed at all costs. When she is nearly forced into marriage, she gets betrothed to Jesus instead. Most of the time, she's not w
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
Lauren Lloyd
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read this out of genuine curiosity. Finished it with disappointment. First off, Sue Monk Kidd writes beautifully. Figurative language is vivid and original. It’s a delight to read a sentence she has written. However, for a book that was “well researched” I was disgruntled by some of the blatant inaccuracies. I welcome correction or conversation if it’s offered. I’m no history buff or biblical expert, but I believe I know the New Testament well enough to be annoyed at some of the inaccuracies. Un ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus of Nazareth. I am a voice.”

I loved The Invention Of Wings and I will admit to being a lil skeptical about the subject of this novel being about Jesus. I’m so glad I didn’t let that deter me from giving this a chance. I was expecting biblical Jesus, however, Kidd came at this novel from a totally human perspective. Through his wife’s voice. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the concept of Jesus having a wife this novel tells how it is entirely pos
4.5 Stars

’All my life, longings lived inside me, rising up like nocturnes to wail and sing through the night. That my husband bent his heart to mine on our thin straw mat and listened was the kindness I most loved in him. What he heard was my longing to be born.’

This is the story of Ana, the daughter of Matthias, who has allowed Ana to learn to write, in a time where very few women were taught this skill. Her father is the head scribe for Herod Antipas, and as such he is able to provide her
May 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I can not tell you how bitterly disappointed I am in this book. I had eagerly awaited its arrival as I really like this author. I wasn't disappointed for the reasons you may think. I am just tired of spending time with characters I do not like and believe me, I did not like Ana, Jesus's wife. And because of this the entire book failed for me.

I had no trouble with Jesus having a wife. We know nothing of his life from 18-30 reading from the Bible. The Bible was written by men so women get a short
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I saw the premise of this book, that Jesus Christ had a wife, I was quite intrigued to read it. My one hesitation was that this might feel like work to read. I demand from my reading experience to provide an interlude of escape and relaxation. I don't like to "get into the weeds" when I read. On the religious front, I am a believer. But back in the early eighties I purchased "The Reader's Digest Bible" and found that it was the only palatable version I could withstand reading. I needn't hav ...more
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Glennon Doyle, Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Untamed

Sue Monk Kidd, the brilliant, beloved storyteller who gifted us with The Secret Life of Bees, has done it again. Her most recent treasure, The Book of Longings, is the first book that has literally taken my breath away. As I read, I had to close it and breathe deeply, again and again.

Both a radical reimagining of the New Testament, and an homage to all untamed, trespassing women, The Book of Longings is right on tim
Ron Charles
Jesus’s wife is back.

The kids won’t believe it, but in 1988 the biggest thing we had to complain about was Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” a Hollywood adaptation of a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis that includes a vision of Jesus married to Mary Magdalene. Protesters picketed theaters, and in Paris they set one on fire. Scorsese received death threats. Several countries banned the film.

Now, into this controversial arena steps Sue Monk Kidd with “The Book of Longings,” a novel abou
Cathrine ☯️
I was mostly bored then longing to finish this one and move on.
Rambling Reviews
Apr 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
I simply couldn't suspend my disbelief. Ana's beliefs about herself were too modern, she was too perfect, there were too many obvious fallacies and inaccuracies for a 'well-researched' book, and I found myself rolling my eyes every time she showed up at YET ANOTHER significant historical event, while remaining largely silent on her husband's activities?

Much historical, political, cultural and religious research went into the writing of this story. Sue Monk Kidd's writing craft really shines in her development of characters (even several minor ones) as well as her highly descriptive writing. Her "Author's Note", read by Kidd herself, goes on to explain her hesitant reasoning of choosing the possibility of Jesus having a wife and what this woman would have been like; however, the majority of this story focuses on Ana's independent thinking and h ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
If you are a fan of myth retellings or Biblical tale reimaginings, this is likely a book for you. Sue Monk Kidd also takes the material she wrote a memoir about over a decade ago and uses it in this novel. That memoir had an impact on me when I first read it - The Dance of the Dissident Daughter - about her discovery of Gnosticism, feminist spirituality, and how that changed her perspective of her own faith. It was easy for me to see how those ideas are wound through this novel.

Okay, so if that
This story brings a fictional wife of Jesus. It imagines what is possible rather what is believed. “It could also be argued that in the first-century Jewish world of Galilee, (...) marriage was a man’s civic, family, and sacred duty.” Jesus’s family would expect him to marry.

Sepphoris, 16 CE. Ana is fourteen-years-old. Her aunt Yaltha, who comes from Egypt to live with them, opens Ana’s eyes to a world she had no idea existed. Jewish girls and women in Alexandria, studying with philosophers, wr
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Book of Longings is a what if: what if Jesus was married? It's certainly a valid question as his movements, as tracked in the Bible, don't start until he's well into adulthood, and documents from the time period are spotty due to all the unrest in Emperor Tiberius"s reign.

Sue Monk Kidd introduces Ana, daughter of wealthy parents who has learned to write, believes in herself and that women matter outside the home (this was a fairly radical notion) and is related to Judas.

Ana is a great at ev
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
"All shall be well...I don't mean that life won't bring you tragedy. I only mean that you will be well in spite of it. There's a place in you that is inviolate. You'll find your way there, when you need to. And you'll know then what I speak of."

In The Book of Longings, Sue Monk Kidd has given voice to women of the 1st century. Really she's given voice to the unheard women of history through the imagined narrative of Ana, Jesus' wife.

Obviously no one knows whether or not Jesus was ever marri
Jennifer Keyser
May 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This is straight-up blasphemy. Why would a Christian think this is okay to write?
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An imaginative and intriguing story of a first century woman full of courage and perseverance.

Ana was raise in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee. She is rebellious and has a daring spirit. She desires to write about the neglected and silenced women of her times. Unwillingly, Ana is betrothed by her parents an landowning older widower. And then she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus in the market place.

After the death of her betrothed, Ana marries Jesus and they live with
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020


I went into this book very, very intrigued - as I always am very interested in adaptations/retellings/alternate reality stories especially since focusing on such in my MA. So the story of an alternate world where Jesus had a wife? like yes, consider me intrigued.

I then became slightly uncomfortable lol like most Christians, I really don't
Katie (never.ending.reading.list)

I was skeptical when I first heard about this one but definitely curious. It felt blasphemous to read a book with a fictionalized love story with Jesus but I decided to give it a shot - I'm so glad I did.

The story is remarkable. It focused on the historic life of Jesus and didn't touch on the divine. It was interesting to imagine his life and what his day to day or his lost years would entail. I learned so much about the times and beliefs of people in the Middle East during the 1st century.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
"We women harbor our intimacies in locked places in our bodies. They are ours to relinquish when we choose."

When I first read Sue Monk Kidd had written a new book and it was about Jesus, I was not interested. I felt it would be a didactic persuasion which I wasn't interested in. Chosen by one of my book clubs, I unwillingly started to read it, but I read it with a skeptic's lens, thinking the proof of my reservations was about to be revealed. I needn't have worried.

This is Ana's story. She is th
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.
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- the ...more
Ali Edwards
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book last night and decided to sleep on it before writing up a review. After my walk this morning I texted a friend, "I found it so interesting to really think of Jesus' human self. I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to imagine that piece of him so clearly." I felt filled up after reading this fictional account of the life of Ana - wife of Jesus and woman with a voice. I love books that make me think and dive deeper and ask questions and this one certainly did and it was so, ...more
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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 & Writers

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