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The Book of Longings

Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

'I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.' 

So begins the exquisitely written new novel from the number one New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious, brilliant mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome's occupation of Israel. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father's ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. A chance encounter with the 18-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating. 

Taking Ana on a journey she could never have imagined, The Book of Longings is a glorious evocation of a time and a place where astounding events unfolded and of one woman's fate when she fights to make her voice heard.

©2020 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Book of Longings

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  • Overall
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A captivating story, narrated beautifully

Enjoyed this thoroughly. couldn't put it down. Beautifully written and we'll researched SMK has taken me on a journey through ancient lands and within myself. I loved the narration- I'd seek out this narrator again!

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Good insights into the times...

Good story and insights into the time of JC. Skips all the religious stuff which is great. At times it was a bit chringey in regards to her obsession with JC. Maybe in those times women worshipped their husbands, ain't like that for me now. The JC character was a little under developed so that may be why I didn't understand her obsession with him. The best part was it highlighted the tough life women had back then. It's nearly impossible to comprehend what it must have been like. No rights or freedom. Men in control of the destiny of women. It really is sickening which makes the lead character so much stronger and actually more inspirational than the JC character. Performance was good.

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Beautiful!

A historical story that we’ve all heard but reimagined and brought to life through the beautiful fictional character Ana. I’m not a religious person but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book and would recommend to anyone who likes a lead female character with a heartfelt story that will probably make you cry.

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Beautiful story

I highly recommend this audio book. Full of wonderful characters this beautiful story allows one to consider another side to this biblical story. Narration was brilliant!

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Loved it.

Beautifully written and articulated. I didn't want to stop listening! Enthralling description and idea.

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  • Sarah Warugongo
  • 07-08-2020

Captivating!!!

Absolutely loved the Re-imagination of Anna & how her existence & voice would have impacted our current world. A deep book of longing!!! I also loved her life-changing prayers!!!

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  • caroline
  • 27-04-2020

Unexpectedly Brilliant

I wasn’t sure that I’d like this book I absolutely loved it
Looking at history we all know through a woman’s eyes instead of a mans gives it a whole new meaning
Thoroughly enjoyable it keeps to the facts we know but comes from a very different view point making you pause for thought and think what if
Keep listening to the authors notes at the end it gives a further new insight
Definitely recommend this book and will be listening to it again

7 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline Lawrence
  • 26-04-2020

I wanted to be won over

But I was ultimately unconvinced by this picture of life in first century Middle East. Too many inaccuracies and also mispronunciations (in the audio version) Jesus does not seem remotely Jewish and there is little sense of us being in a Greco-Roman world. But it has some nice moments!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-2020

Wonderful book that brought New Testament tunes to life

I really loved this book for the way it brought the times of the Old Testament to life and told some of the ‘lost’ years of Jesus (and her own story) through a fictional character, Anna. I’ve recently read some of the Greek stories retold through female eyes and it so interesting to hear about stories where women often weren’t included in the original narrative from a woman’s viewpoint. In Anna we find a young girl who is 14 when the story begins. She loves learning and writing but is about to be betrothed to an older man against her will. Her voice and writings are in danger of being stifled in the patriarchal society of those times. The streets and ways of places like ancient Galilee, Nazareth and Alexandria are painted in wonderful detail, you can imagine being there amongst the braying crowds ready for a stoning, or in the basic and busy home of Jesus and his family, or the palace of Herod Antipas. The author’s research is meticulous as she explains in her note at the end and it is a thoroughly enjoyable read that makes you look at familiar stories in a new light. The narrator had a clear and engaging tone. Just a few pronunciations that bothered me and I felt should have been checked or researched before being read aloud repeatedly - it really grates, the same as if reading a spelling mistake in a printed book. The Jewish morning prayer the shemah is not pronounced ‘shee mar’, it’s ‘sheh mar’ - the name Chaya, meaning life in Hebrew is pronounced with a hard throaty ‘H’ not a ‘ch’ like ‘cheese’ and the name ‘Tabitha’ isn’t pronounced ‘ Tabeetha’ - this may sound pedantic but when so much work has gone into producing such a detailed account it does seem lazy not to check on pronunciations that could be verified quite quickly and easily - but don’t let it spoil a wonderful and well read book.

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  • Hoover
  • 28-05-2020

Not as good as Monk Kidd's other novels

I'm usually a big fan of Sue Monk Kidd, but this book was a struggle. The heavy feminist message and the historical setting in the ancient world meant that for me the characters were very one dimensional and underdeveloped. Shame that it didnt work as well as The Invention of Wings, which I loved.

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  • julie
  • 07-05-2020

In praise of completion

This book is one that brings together the whole of the interweaving of the female as well as the male voice. It integrated the human and the divine , mystery with the mundane acts of daily living. To hear it read during this period of lockdown was healing comforting challenging and nourishing in a number of profound ways. The authors note at the end shows the extent of her research as well as a profoundly spiritual encounter with the muse who would be heard. I shall listen to it all over again. Wonderful.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-09-2020

Absorbing

Beautifully narrated, this book captivated and brought to life a new, imagined reality of how things may have been at the time of Jesus. It evokes such a vivid picture of women in ancient society and the abuse of male power against women to keep them small, that still lingers today

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  • belinda dix
  • 14-08-2020

A stunning book

I truly loved this book to the extent that I feel bereft now that I have finished it. Beautifully and sensitively written I would highly recommend.

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  • Lucy Dabner
  • 04-08-2020

A pure triumph of a novel

I loved this book from start to finish. Expertly constructed, wonderful prose and the story spoke to me in so many ways. A perfect blend of spirituality, the feminine story, the power of soul, creativity, ostracism, survival, will and compassion. And so much more! It fed my soul. Thank you Sue Monk Kidd.

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  • sue shand
  • 25-06-2020

very interesting storyline

gives food for thought. the characters are well described so to be able to visualise them amongst the countries and within the cultures of the time thank you

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  • Bobbie Dan
  • 12-06-2020

absolutly brilliant

I loved this so much. its everything I wanted it to be and more . The story it's just of what I was expecting it to be