Review: Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf

She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress.

In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth — the Son of God.
In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible’s most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary’s world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary’s life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town — and ultimately to the moment she saw Him risen from the dead.
As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history’s greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus’ beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene’s story and find yourself in this remarkable woman’s journey to discover the Kingdom of God.
I started this book with a bit of trepidation. I generally love Biblical fiction, but I wasn’t crazy about the first book I read by Ms. Wolf.  It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it either. However, I really, really wanted to read the story of Mary Magdalene.
This time, Ms. Wolf doesn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, though I wished for a bit of a different outcome with the romance for Mary. That said, historical constraints do exist and I accept that no problem.
I loved the historical aspects of it and the way Christ was portrayed. I appreciated some of what I read a bit more having read Tosca Lee’s Iscariot. Some of the lesser known sects at the time were more familiar because of that.
I loved Mary’s relationship with her mentor during her marriage, even if that mentor influenced her in ways that weren’t quite the best. I wondered if maybe Mary was able to influence the Roman women for Christ eventually. I also found the relationship with Jesus, Martha, and Lazarus to be fascinating. There is also insight into the families of the disciples and how they could have reacted when suddenly their husbands/sons/fathers took off with this itinerant preacher.
Overall, I enjoyed it and read it quickly. I won’t be as reticent to pick up another book by Ms. Wolf in the future.
Overall rating: 8.25 out of 10 stars
Thanks to NetGalley for an ecopy and Wynn-Wynn Media for a paper copy in exchange for my review – not quite sure how I ended up with both…