The Book of Longings
Buy the Book: Penguin Random House, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Audible
• Published by Viking, Coming April 21, 2020
An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings
In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.
Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome’s occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.
Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.
“A richly imagined first-person narrative...In addition to providing a woman-centered version of New Testament events, Kidd’s novel is also a vibrant portrait of a woman striving to preserve and celebrate women’s stories—her own and countless others.”
“A well-researched novel about a young Jewish woman, who fights against cultural norms to realize the passion and potential inside her.”
—Good Morning America
“The latest from Sue Monk Kidd introduces us to Ana, a courageous, intelligent woman who marries Jesus long before his public ministry begins. Based on meticulous historical research, this is a humanizing look at Jesus the man, as well as an inspiring story of a strong woman living in a society bent on her silence.”
“A daring leap into historical fiction . . . Deeply researched and reverent, The Book of Longings explores the importance of women making their voices heard in a time when the powers that be strove to keep them silent.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“An engrossing, briskly paced story in an appealing voice . . . the message about the importance of kindness and the power of women’s voices should resonate strongly with today’s readers.”
“Most novelists wouldn't touch this territory with a ten foot pole, but then they're not Sue Monk Kidd. ..A daring and thought-provoking story.”
—Omnivoracious: The Amazon Book Review
“The author takes that enduring scholarly mystery and delivers unto us the story of Ana, who meets Jesus when he's 18 and falls in love with him. This historical saga conjures a woman who defies the expectations of her time by becoming a scholar and philosopher.”
"I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus." A bold start to a novel that imagines the life of an unforgettable woman, written with reverence to the topic it covers. This intricate story is an epic journey, which fans of The Red Tent will devour. A novel about the power of women's stories, The Book of Longings is perfect for book clubs.