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Two Women of Galilee
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Two Women of Galilee

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  259 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Seeking to restore health to her lungs, Joanna, wife to Herod's chief steward, approaches her cousin Mary, mother of the healer Jesus. Though their families were estranged when Joanna's parents adopted Roman ways, Mary welcomes her graciously. Jesus indeed heals Joanna's body...and her soul blossoms through her friendship with Mary and with her work as one of his disciples ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Mira Books (first published March 1st 2006)
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Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it
The author is a journalist who has a Master's Degree in Religion from Yale Divinity School and Art History degree from Queens College.
This is a very fast read. It lightly covers the history of the Hebrews who choose to align with the Romans for the wealth and give up their religion.It is set in the time when Jesus was just beginining his ministry as an adult. It very beautifully tells about Mary, Jesus's mother and the political scene. It is beautifully told and gave the reader a realistic detai
This book was only ok. The writing was bad, but it was a good idea. I almost stopped reading it halfway through. It's the author's first novel, and you can totally tell! Her sentences don't always go together well, and there isn't much flow. I don't recommend it.
Ruth Bonetti
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more. An interesting concept, and attempt to recreate the Biblical world, but let down by less than gripping writing.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at a facet of the life of Jesus that we seldom read about--his mother and other women of the time.
Joan Horkey
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Feb 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: clients
• "Two Women of Galilee is a daring book indeed. Mary Rourke has been bold enough to trespass to the very edges of "the greatest story ever told" and she returns with a novel that is beautifully written, original and emotionally resonant. In the spirit of The Red Tent, Rourke has pondered the lives of the women of the gospels, and from a half line reference here and there has skillfully evoked an entrancing world."
--Geraldine Brooks, author of 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning March

• “What was Joanna
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
The two woman are Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joanna, the wife of the Herod's chief steward Chuza. Joanna only gets a brief mention in the Bible, but here the author has her tell her story in detail. Along the way she does a great job of capturing the historial feel of the first century. Joanna is also a believable character, from her motivation to meet Jesus because of a personal illness to her subsequent support of his ministry. Her life changes drastically, but she finds something she was ...more
the two woman are mary, the mother of jesus, and joanna, the wife of the herod's chief steward chuza. joanna only gets a brief mention in the bible, but here the author has her tell her story in detail. along the way she does a great job of capturing the historial feel of the first century. joanna is also a believable character, from her motivation to meet jesus because of a personal illness to her subsequent support of his ministry. her life changes drastically, but she finds something she was ...more
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The novel takes a look at a lesser known portion of Jesus's tale... one of his young female followers, Joanna, who is his mother's cousin. Joanna is suffering from an illness that is progressively worsening. Consequently, when she learns of a healer in the area, she decides to go see him. It turns out to be Jesus, and Joanna appeals to his mother, Mary, to go to him on Joanna's behalf. Mary recognizes Joanna, although Joanna does not recognize Mary: they are cousins. It was an interesting way to ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
Man, I wanted to like this, I really did. Alas, no. Essentially biblical fanfic, this novel tells the story of Joanna, one of the women healed by Jesus who comes over to follow him in the time leading up to the crucifixion. As such, I thought it had incredible potential, but it falls short, mostly because of the writing. Someone did not sit Ms. Rourke down at an early age and say to her, "Show, not tell." The narration is bland, and the emotions described feel forced. There is none of the passio ...more
M.M. Strawberry Reviews
I wasn't sure quite what to expect after finding this book in a bargain bin at the store. It looked intriguing enough, So I picked it up. It's a nice story told in first-person perspective by a woman briefly mentioned in the Bible. Since this is entirely in her POV, much of what led to Jesus' death is omitted, so if you're looking for a book about Jesus, look elsewhere. It was a fairly quick but enjoyable read for me, though I wish this book could have gone with a bit more description, some of t ...more
This was a very fast read, which is what I needed right now as I can't seem to get into anything lately. I enjoy historical fiction and am fascinated by biblical fiction. This book was okay. It was good for an afternoon read. I feel the book is entirely lacking in depth - especially when the character was someone she could have created so much about with so little to go on from the bible. It felt like an opportunity lost. Again, good for a good superficial read on a cold day under your blankie.
Heather Hare
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Joanna suffered from poor health until the healer Jesus cured her. Jesus is the son of her cousin Mary, with whom she develops a closer relationship over the course of the book. A quick, interesting read. It doesn't retell biblical events as differently as in The Red Tent, but does provide more insight into what life was like at that time. This particularly resonated with me right now because I spent a few days traveling in the area of Galilee last fall, including a visit to Capernaum which was ...more
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
this was not as compelling as it could have been. the premise is that joanna, the wife of herod's steward, is healed by christ and becomes a convert. she has more of a relationship with mary (the mother of jesus) than with him. there was nothing that i really objected to in the way this was told, but i expected it to be a better story than i found it to be. perhaps it is because i believe that being converted makes you change your behavior and not just your thoughts.
this was not as good as orso
Nancy Mills
This is the story of Mary and her cousin Joanna. Mary is, obviously, from the Hebrew culture and Joanna is from the Roman culture. The book gives an interesting insight into the Roman culture and the people's view on healers and superstitions. However, I did enjoy the view of Mary in this book. It talks shows her struggles as Jesus' mother--how much she continued to care for Him, even though He led a like that she could not control.

Good book for one that was picked up at Goodwill!
Louise Pronovost
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
"Two Women of Galilee" is an interesting first hand account of being a contemporary of Jesus' later years. The story is told by Joanna, Mary's cousin who has embraced the Roman ways and is married to a senior official in Herod's court.

Though the story is interesting, the writing is amateurish. I hope that Mary Rourke will continue developing her writing skills because in combination with her deep knowledge of biblical times, she could spin some very powerful books.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was hoping the book would give a historical perspective on these two women and shed light on the times they lived in. I was very disappointed. I found the characters and history shallow. The book seemed like a romance - a romance of a woman falling in love with Jesus and Mary and being born to Christianity. The only reason I finished the book was because it was so short. I just found it boring.
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Quite liked this book. The story is of two women related but one is Mary, the mother of Jesus and the other has embraced the Roman way of life with her husband no working for the local ruler. The story is quite theatrical and easy to read. Makes you wonder about some "what if's" in the holy scriptures.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The cousin of Mary tells of life in the times of Jesus and Mary. I am on the start of my research of Mary and feel like this was a good jumping off point. I feel that at some point once I have a stronger hold of the life of Mary I will want to revisit this book! Thankful for the easy but not dumbing down writing of historical story not many truly know.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Insight into the life and times of people, in this case women, who lived two thousand years ago in what's now Israel. Such stories never made much sense to me except on the very surface; however, now that I've been there to see for myself, I can't seem to get enough! Ah, the power of travel to open up your world and increase your understanding of stories you've heard all your life!
Janet O
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet book that takes place during the time of Jesus. The main character is Joanna, a cousin of Mary. The settings are rich and interesting, the story is simple yet powerful, and I would encourage Christian women to take a few days to read it.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading Rourke's gentle story of Mary and Joanna, two cousins crossing paths near the end of Mary's son's ministry. In an era shrouded in mystery, any thing is possible, but Rourke's story sounds plausible and makes a meaningful contribution to one's lenten preparation.
Gina R
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who liked The Red Tent
Recommended to Gina by: myself
Not as good as The Red Tent, but same idea.
I think the author did a good job of portraying Jesus and Mary as fictional characters. Especially the ideas of the New Testament. "Love your neighor as you love your brother."
Carol McHale
There are very few books that I don't finish because I dislike like them, but this was one of those books. It was on the verge of being a good book but was missing the quality of s good story. I was very disappointed in the way the author presented the Blessed Mother.
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
An interesting tale that incorporates many Bible stories I've known since childhood, it contains virtually no descriptions which made it almost impossible to imagine anything. However, the way the author draws from one-verse references to weave her story is amazing.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
Pretty writing but the story never really came together or got believable, plus she uses some truly ungainly metaphors. Still, fun to read for the history and the perspective of Chuza's (Herod Antipas' steward) wife Joanna as she chooses to follow Jesus after he heals her.
Wendy Bowen
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Very slow...I thought I was really going to enjoy this - it had a wonderful ending, but didn't enjoy the story very much.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Put a more human and fleshed-out spin on the brief stories I've heard for so many years of my life at church.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
A quick read. Interesting perspective. Loosely based on Gospel quotations.
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is about Mary the mother of Jesus and her cousin. It was a wonderful, easy read. Mary became a real person to me through this story.
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