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  • Posted January 17, 2015

    Angela Hunt, author and Darla Middlebrook, narrator, have formed

    Angela Hunt, author and Darla Middlebrook, narrator, have formed an excellent team to provide the audio book, Magdalene. It is a beautiful historical fiction that takes place during and immediately following Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. Yeshua the Messiah is, of course, the central focus, and His teachings and ministry are scripturally accurate.
    While some of the conversations may not be exactly as occurred, they are essentially who Jesus was with Mary Magdalene - Rabboni. Jesus did call out demons from Mary Magdalene – known in this story as Miryam of Magdala. However, we do not know anything about her life outside of following Jesus and being one of the women who cared for the needs of Jesus and later, His disciples. And this is an encouragement to search the scriptures – the gospels and book of Acts, to clarify for yourself exactly the truth the Lord has given us in His love letter, the Bible.
    The rest of the story is fiction that is rich in history and with beautiful, emotive prose; that it is a work of fiction is made clear from Angela Hunt’s notes. Along with taking place during and after Jesus’ life on earth, it is also the period of the Roman occupation of Israel. Very well researched, one can almost hear the boots of the soldiers, and experience the fear and even anger of some of those under the occupation when soldiers were in town for any reason.
    In the novel, Miryam was a seller of fine cloth, and experimented with and made unique dyes to use on these cloths; she was a successful businesswoman. Her husband was Yaakov the fisherman. She was a mother to both her infant son and adult son, with a grandbaby on the way. When the unfathomable occurred at the hands of the Roman soldiers, she unknowingly sets events in motion that bring an even greater horror for her to endure, being possessed by several demons.
    Meeting Jesus, being immensely relieved of the demons by Jesus, and becoming a follower of Yesua, brought about heartache and rejection from Miryam’s friends. She believed in Jesus as Messiah and wanted to be part of His coming kingdom. Like many others of that time, however, she thought Yeshua’s kingdom would be earthly, and the revenge she so desired against the Romans would occur. She supported the work, travelled with and cared for the needs of the Messiah and His disciples. After His crucifixion, resurrection, and return to heaven, she continued to support the disciples’ work. Yet the thirst for revenge was not something she had given to her Lord – and it ate away at her very being.
    The characters are strong and vibrant men and women who are very well defined. Yeshua’s teaching and actions were in line with the Bible. Miryam and her fellow travelers and friends each have their feelings and convictions. Atticus, the Roman soldier, and his lady friend and son, and the transformation in their lives after their son was healed by Jesus, was nothing short of the Holy Spirit’s work.
    The plot is a tapestry of spiritual lessons. When we meet Jesus, there may be things from our past that we have to deal with and let go of, one by one. If we don’t turn over those things, they can lead us to make horribly destructive decisions, blocking our view of Jesus as they stand between us. There are interesting twists in the story; some took this reader completely by surprise and some did not. I am in awe of the historical research that Angela Hunt had done before writing, and the way she could weave a tale such that the spiritual lessons live on in the reader’s heart long after listening to the final credits.
    Angela Hunt’s excellent prose is taken to the next level with Darla Middlebrook’s narration. I was so appreciative of the beautiful sound of a gifted narrator reading Magdalene with emotions appropriate to the culture and time. I like audio books – I had purchased the book on Kindle a couple years ago but not yet read it, and this audio book showed me what I had missed! I highly recommend this to adults of any age who appreciate historical fiction written around the time of the New Testament writings, especially Jesus’ life. Fans of Angela Hunt will not want to miss this!
    With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Forget everything you thought you knew

    Back in 2006 when this book had originally come out, The Da Vinci Code was all the rage in the media. Even though it was a fictional story, there had appeared to be historical evidence to back up the claims. Also there was also a rise in interest in Gnosticism. Therefore many Christian publishers set to provide an alternative for those who were interested in what was considered the true story of what really happened between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Tyndale published a line of different versions of Mary Magdalene's story ranging from contemporary fiction to YA fiction to historical Biblical fiction. This book is the latter.

    Angela Hunt has always been one of my favorite authors because her books are always guaranteed to be well written and extremely well researched. You can tell in her books she's actually gone out and done first hand research in her stories, instead of just using second hand data. I really liked how there is an authentic feel to the book as the characters use Hebrew and Greek names such as Miryam and Yochanan. While the characters do speak in English so we can understand them, they don't speak in a contemporary fashion, as is a mistake some authors make when writing historical fiction. There is no mention of Mary being a prostitute or even a fallen woman in this book. Instead Hunt portrays her as a woman who has fallen on hard times and is on the brink of desperation. She does deal with demons as is stated in the Bible. There is a major parallel subplot involving a Roman solider that intertwines with Mary's story but other than that no major liberties were taken with the character. I really felt as if this book brought the character to life and helped me to understand her and the world she lived in better.

    As an added bonus there is also an interview with the author which details her research and answers questions about the accuracy of the story as well as pages of references of the books and original texts used in the research. I know that Biblical fiction can be a touchy subject for some readers, but if you are a fan of the genre and want to know more about this controversial woman, pick up this book. It's a fascinating read and will keep you enthralled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2006

    Eye-opening Biblical fiction

    As usual, Angela Hunt delivers a lively, engaging story¿this time taking familiar Bible characters and fleshing them out as living, breathing people. Told from the point of view of the title character and a fictional Roman centurion, Magdalene transports you to the dusty roads of first century Israel and Rome. Hunt¿s skillful writing helps readers understand the customs and culture of the time and debunks the myth that Miryam of Magdala ever shared a secret life with Jesus. The family Hunt sets Mary Magdalene in allows us to glimpse what daily life was like and provides a springboard for the historical events in Magdalene¿s life¿her demonic possession and her part in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Magdalene is told in such a way that readers are able to fully understand how Jesus¿ disciples misinterpreted his earthly ministry. Hunt retells incidents of traditional Bible stories in a way that gives readers those ¿a-ha!¿ moments, illuminating the meaning behind words spoken by first century Jews to first century Jews. I thoroughly recommend Magdalene as an important, timely book that provides hours of thought provoking and pleasant entertainment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    Deeply moving Biblical fiction for today

    Angela Hunt has written another winning book. She pays close attention to historical detail and remains true to Scripture. Miryam of Magdala suffers a terrible loss due to a rash act by her son and through a series of events loses everything in her world. Reduced to living in a graveyard and arguing with the voices in her head, she is pulled from destruction by the loving act of the prophet Yeshua. She devotes her life to him and follows him to his death on the cross and resurrection, even taking part in helping to spread the Good News after his ascension. But Miryam never truly lets go of the anger in her heart and seeks another way to find peace. This is not the traditional Mary Magdalene who has been portrayed so many times. This story is far richer and filled with lessons for readers today. I found myself disconnecting with the character until I recognized my own hard-heartedness within her. There is a helpful question and answer guide in the back for those curious about Hunt's research, as well as a discussion guide for book groups. Hunt is one of the finest in Christian fiction today, and this book is proof!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer


    In the first century in Israel, nobody hates the Roman occupation more than Miryam. She is married to a fisherman and has her own business in the market place. Her oldest son Avram preaches rebellion and spits on a centurion¿s foot. In retaliation that soldier Gaius has his men including Atticus burn the house down killing Miryan¿s son, pregnant daughter-in-law and her beloved husband. Atticus Aurelius finds an infant and in direct disobedienceto his superior¿s orders gets him to safety.------ Miryam, who was spared because she was away from the house, goes mad with hatred and allows demons to possess her. It is only when Yeshua comes along and casts them out does the bereaved widow and mother regain her sanity and becomes a direct follow of the rabbi. She follows him as he preaches thinking that he will somehow avenge her for what Rome did for her family Miryam witnesses his resurrection and spreads the truth about his divinity to the people. However her hatred for Atticus and Gaius and desire for revenge almost causes her to commit one of the biggest sins of all. In case anyone hasn¿t guessed it by now, this is the story of Mary Magdalene.----- Angela Hunt has written a meticulously researched and well told story of Mary Magdalene one of the most controversial people in Christ¿s ministry. The author makes the era come alive, populating the storyline with actual historical figures and allowing the reader to visualize the turbulence during Christ¿s earthly ministry and the disciples who spread his word around the world. This is a fascinating work based on biblical and historical details.------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted February 26, 2015

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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