Book: “The Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Sue Monk Kidd has delivered an excellent piece of historical fiction in the form of “The Book of Longings.” The main character Ana is a strong young woman living in the time of Jesus. At the beginning of the story, Ana is betrothed to an older widower that she does not love. As she struggles with her reality, Ana meets Jesus and everything changes. The story reimagines the life of Jesus and explores his humanity.
I found myself hesitant to pick up this book, but finally caved because so many people were raving about this one. This is not my traditional preferred genre, so going into this one felt like taking a small risk.
The risk was definitely rewarded. Sue Monk Kidd’s writing is beautifully eloquent and it is vibrantly clear that each word choice was intentional and meaningful. The story glowed with a soft feminism highlighted by strong relationships between Ana and various family members. Ana’s Aunt, Yaltha, was one of my favorite characters. She is wise, intelligent and seasoned with life experiences that make her discussions with Ana full and weighted with significance.
There were some tragic moments in the story and then other moments laced with hope and happiness. This ebb and flow makes the novel feel realistic. However, the story is not only literal. The book allows the reader plenty of room for philosophical reflection, which I appreciated.
Recommendation: This story is a slower read but will be great for those interested in women’s literature, historical fiction or a reimagined approach to the life of Jesus.