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Mary Magdalene a Novel Book Review

Updated on April 26, 2018

About the book

Author: Diana Wallis Taylor

Published: 2012

Publisher: Revell

Pages: 292

Mary Magdalene is a name in the Bible that everyone knows and has heard of. When I saw this book listed on Amazon, it intrigued me. Although I've read many stories and accounts of Mary, a novel about her is something I thought would be interesting to read.

The book begins with Mary living at home with her parents, Jared and Rachel as a 12 year old child. Her father runs a ship building business in the town of Magdala. In Jesus' time, women were expected to stay at home and tend to the house and family while the man of the house was the main bread winner. So when Jared went to the local Rabbi informing him he wanted Mary to learn the Torah, he refused. But, Jared hires a tutor called Nathan to come to the home twice a week to teach her. Personally, I know little about the Torah, but found out from Google that it is the first part of the Jewish Bible.

When she is kidnapped for ransom, this affects her badly. After her father rescues her, she suffers with headaches, nightmares and seizures and is known around Magdala as 'Mad Mary.' This has a profound affect on her life. Her parents take her to the Rabbi for healing on numerous occasions, but she still suffers. As Mary grows into a woman, she is still troubled by these demons that affect her, but Nathan loves her and when they get married, he cares and supports her through her illness.

We hear about Jesus quite early on in the book when talk goes around the town that he claims to be the son of God. People flock to see him heal people and perform miracles. Nathan himself witnessed Jesus feeding the 5000. On his return to Magdala, he tells Jared, Rachel and Mary about his encounter with Jesus, and Mary has hope that she can be healed too.

When Mary eventually meets Jesus, she is healed from her demons and both Mary and her family can't believe it. But she knows she has been healed by the Lord and vows to dedicate her life to him. When her parents pass away and her husband dies in a tragic boating accident, she devotes her life to following Jesus with a group of other women. Throughout the book we see how Mary has first hand accounts with not only Jesus himself, but also with his mother and the 12 disciples.

My thoughts

When I purchased this book, I didn't know what to expect. But, what is unique about this book is that you see Jesus as a person. There is dialogue between Jesus and Mary. We get a personal account of every day life with Jesus and his 12 disciples as Mary follows them around for about 2 years. We witness what it was like to witness his sermons and miracles, and also his ultimate arrest and crucifixion and ascension to Heaven.

I like the fact that this book is written in the form of a novel so you get a detailed insight into every day life of what it was like to be around Jesus and his followers. After his death and resurrection, we hear about what happened with the 12 disciples and, of course, Jesus' mother, Mary. Mary Magdalene is a woman who's name is synonymous with prostitution and having a bit of a reputation, but this book shines her in a different light all together.

I really did enjoy this book, and enjoyed the fact that you see Jesus as a human being. Yes, he is the Son of God, but this book portrays the story of Jesus as a man who loved everyone and walked amongst the crowds performing miracles and delivering sermons. Personally, I really enjoyed this book. I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Biblical stories and the life of Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene a novel by Diana Wallis Taylor

My thoughts

There are many stories of Mary being a prostitute and having a bit of a reputation, and I did honestly wonder if this would be part of the storyline. But this book gives a different perspective on Mary Magdalene and her outlook on not only Jesus, but the other people around her. She even meets Jesus' mother, also called Mary. This book is unique in the fact that you see Jesus as a human being. Yes, he is the Son of God sent to earth for a reason. But the reader sees him as a man. There is dialogue between Jesus and Mary and as she and the other women follow him, we hear many of the famous miracles and sermons he performed from the stories in the Bible. We witness first hand accounts of what it was like to be around Jesus on a daily basis and his movements and how people reacted to him. And from his arrest and crucifixion and ascension to Heaven, it is interesting to read Mary's account of what happened and what went on when the found the tomb empty.

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. But I found the book remarkably well written about a woman that has been written about thousands of times over the years. It gives a personal account of what life was like being around Jesus every day for the 2 years or so Mary spent with him. This book is unique in the fact that this is written in such a way that you get a first hand account of what Mary was like as a child growing up in Magdala, and witnessing first hand Jesus' death and ascension to Heaven.

Maybe this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but personally I enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. I think Diana Wallis Taylor wrote an excellent novel here about Mary Magdalene, and I feel I know Mary a little bit more intimately now.

© 2018 Louise Powles


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    • techygran profile image


      4 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Louise: I hadn't heard of this particular novel about Mary Magdela. I do know that there are several "theories" about the various women named Mary who show up in the New Testament, and I believe that it is permissible to do imaginative writing around what her role could possibly have been. This novel treatment sounds intriguing and I will certainly look for the book. Good review!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      8 months ago from London

      Thanks for sharing this marvellous novel on Mary, a great woman.

      I don’t see any defect in her and there can’t be.I respect her as one of the pious women on mother earth.

      Would love to read this book and would let you know how I felt.

      Bless dear for your insightful hub on this beautiful book.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      8 months ago from USA

      My only exposure to Mary Magdalene was in a Women’s Studies course and therefore I don’t see her in as negative a light as she is traditionally portrayed. It would be interesting to read this book. Thanks for reviewing it.

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for reviewing this book. I would like to read it. I do not subscribe to the view that Mary was a prostitute. We know she had demons which is probably a mental, not a moral (or immoral) situation. I've read a lot on her too, and would like to read this one.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      8 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Here are a few observations.

      1. A novel is fiction and should not be used to establish facts. A novel does Not ..."give a personal account of what life was like being around Jesus..."

      2. The first five books of the Christian Bible is the Jewish Torah.

      3. Did Jesus resurrect from the dead? The Rabbis and Imams of the world say, "No," and offer other explanations:

      a. The swoon theory: Jesus took a substance which put his body into suspended animation and appeared to die. He was taken down and the drug wore off and he revived.

      b. The substitution theory: Jesus substituted a dull witted person for the crucifixion, then made self inflicted wounds to fool his followers.

      c. The metaphor theory: The whole story shows how we are to live, but is not factual.

      We do not know what really happened because we were not there.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      8 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Thankyou very much, Frank. Yes, it is a very interesting book.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      8 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes I think you're right - her reputation is changing. I didn't know that Pop Francis had recently honoured her though. How interesting. Thanks Mary.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I think Mary Magdala's reputation as a prostitute is now changing even in the Church. Pope Francis recently honoured her as the frist person to witness the Resurrection of Jesus by declaring July 22 as her feast day in the Church callendar. I enjoyed this book as well.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      8 months ago from Shelton

      Coffee, I rarely read books fiction or fact on religion, but your book review fueled my curiosity.. I think I saw this novel flashing in my amazon page.. I think I will down load a kindle edition and check it out. I think I read Brainard's Magdalene .. thank you so much for this share..:)


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