There is a lot going on in this book. The afterward by the author intimates that it is not quite fiction although it must be categorized as such and I thought it was very brave of her to do that. The story does make you think and I do agree with the author when she says that history was written by the winners - so who knows what they didn't tell us? I look forward to the sequels - I hope there are many. I would listen to this book again.
The Afterword of this book is the best part!
It gives the background and motivation of the author as she pursues this oft-overdone topic. I found it the most heartfelt and sincere prose in the entire volume!
But... This book just tries too hard. The convuluted plot (hinting at Vatican intrique, for example, but never really resolving the issue) offers a semi-sweet plot about yet another adorable heroine who follows her heart and her head into a mystery that repeats the thoughts of Dan Brown and others. Was Mary Magdalene married to Jesus? If so, what are the political and religious implications?
Holy Blood, Holy Grail did this so much better, and without the thinly drawn characters.
My biggest objection was the interplay between pseudogospel to tell the story of MM and the present day mystery. I found myself wishing the gospel sequences had been shortened and summararized. I had a hard time relating to the reader as well.
It appears that this is the first of a trilogy, but I doubt I'll take the time to read the sequels.
It seems the narrator had s bad sense of punctuation and timing. The accents she used were not do good either. The story was okay, but really didn't surprise or excite . Not inspired to continue the series and don't listen to this particular narrator on any other book.
I loved the puzzle of Dan Brown's work but was hoping this take things would be a bit more grounded. Unfortunately, it is less so. The excerpts from Magdalene's gospel spends most of it's time giving Mary's compliments to the other disciples (at least for the first several chapters) which makes it more of a personal memoir than a gospel. The modern academic heroin spends more time overcome with visions or interviewing others who have them than thinking academically. There is too much melodrama and too little intellectual puzzle or historical background to make this interesting.
I tried to like this book, truly I did. The premise is good! But everything is just so drawn out and slow, you feel like you are drowning in plotlines and words. I am sad to say I am returning it back to audible. It did make me want to learn more about Mary!
First of all I'd like to say that this is not "just another da vinci Code". For one it was written about 10 years or so before Dan Brown's book. Second, it goes way more into the story of Jesus, Marry and the beautiful love story between them.
The "Afterward" was really interesting but I wish it was in the beginning so I could have listened to it with that knowledge.
As a Christin who feels that Christianity has some major problems, I highly recommend this book for Christians & non Christians alike because is shows what the church & Christians are suppose to be like.
I might listen to another book by Ms. McGowan, although the prose and unidimentional nature of her characters in this first effort are clumsy.
No previous experience with this author.
Ms. Stephen's narration is extremely distracting: she pauses after many sentences for durations that are excessive; at the outset, the cadence of every sentence was identical.
The most interesting facet of this book was the way in which the author took well-known stories from the 4 canonical Gospels and offered new interpretations (e.g. the wedding at Cana was that of Mary M and John the Baptist; a re-interpretation of the story of Judas; etc.)
I thought this book was extremely interesting--so refreshing to read a more plausible and more likely story of Jesus, as compared to the contradictory versions of his life as told in the Bible, which we know was edited and changed over the years by the male hierarchy of a very misogynistic church. I'd recommend it to any self respecting woman trying to get a better view of Jesus.
50ish retired public radio news broadcaster, female, rancher. I love good writing from historical fiction and interesting, off beat mysteries to history of religions and interesting biography coupled with excellent voicing. I have no use for poorly delivered reading. I'll suffer though so-so writing if the content is engaging, but if the narrator is bad, I'll buy the book and read it myself.
I read The Poet Prince, the third book in this series, first and enjoyed it immensely. That led me to want to read the preceding two. While this book provides interesting insight into the Mary Magdelene information, I didn't enjoy the writing as much as the third book. The characters are fairly shallow, and the emphasis on designer clothes and expensive malls and hotels is trite and boring. All that quickly became something to simply get through in order to get to the meat of the information regarding the Mary Magdelene cults, about which I think Ms. McGowan has done some great research. The Poet Prince is a more engaging story with the same characters more skillfully drawn as well as fascinating characters and information from Renaissance Florence. I will read the second book, The Book of Love, rather than listen to Linda Stephens again.
The reader was far to "prim" sounding in general while her tortured attempts at the various accents were just painful to listen to. In addition, her phrasing and tempo of McGowan's writing sounded completely off. She often split phrases meant to follow one and other as one thought, and most of the time she read the material far too slowly and affectedly. I will buy the next one as a book and read it myself.
A much better read than a listen, I'm sure.
The narrator for the third book in this series, The Poet Prince, is excellent.
One thing you have to say about this book, it was extremely well-researched! I looked up a lot of the things the author talks about, and while there were some discrepancies (I assume for the sake of the atmosphere and plot), I could confirm everything that I researched. The author's version of Jesus' life is told through a political lens, which is interesting. Some parts did drag, some parts were fascinating. A mixed bag, but worthwhile if you are at all interested in the myriad different interpretations of Christianity. The narrator was slightly annoying, but only slightly.