By Octavia Randolph on June 28, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary’s tale will attract and hold the attention of young readers – and even this adult (and demanding) one. The story begins on the eve of Jesus’ birth, then backtracks to that of Herod’s excesses, and the struggles of Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim. We are there for Mary’s birth, girlhood, and adolescence, and witness her development into a virtuous yet occasionally rebellious and questioning adolescent, which gives her character depth and believability. She initially rails against her arranged marriage to the much-older Joseph, but at length accepts it with good grace. No angel of Annunciation serves as the harbinger of the special nature of the child Mary is to bear, and in fact her wedding day and the period that follows is very much presented as a typical Jewish marriage of the time. (It is a visiting blue-eyed Roman legionnaire who presents the only inkling to young Mary that she may be destined for greatness, an interesting and even arresting touch in the narrative.) Period details and Hebrew terms and customs are deftly integrated into the narrative, and Mary herself is presented as an intelligent, spirited, kind, and most of all, thoughtful actor in the immense drama she is central to. It takes ability and imagination to breathe life into a story as well-known as this one, and the author rewards every moment spent by the reader, providing a fresh, vital, and oftentimes surprising retelling of one of history’s most revered personalities.
By Patty Kogutek (SSWW)
Mary’s tale will attract and hold the attention of young readers – and even this adult (and demanding) one…It takes ability and imagination to breathe life into a story as well-known as this one, and the author rewards every moment spent by the reader, providing a fresh, vital, and oftentimes surprising retelling of one of history’s most revered personalities.
Book Review of A Girl Named Mary
The author brings forth a fresh and creative approach in her lively novel of the early life of Mary, Jesus’s mother. She accomplishes this through an artful mingling of Jewish traditions of the times, Roman occupation and its suppression, and through her skillful use of conversation making the characters have depth and credibility. Mary’s struggle with arranged marriage customs, her resistance and eventual acceptance seems to be a harbinger of the life of her son, Jesus, and the change he would produce. This is an exceptional and thought provoking read for ‘tweens and adults.