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Publisher Description

“An extraordinary novel . . . a triumph of insight and storytelling.” —Associated Press

A true masterpiece.” —Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed

An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.

Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.

Fiction & Literature
April 21
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

stmalaar ,


This book deserves a standing ovation, I loved it from beginning to end and I would recommend it without hesitation. I'm in a book club and we liked it so much that we keep talking about why it was so inspiring in our own lives. I also want to mention that the author did not lose detail when creating this masterpiece. I am considered a person of great faith, but before reading it, my connection was lost and after it I can say my connection was awakened by thee book. That immense faith in God, Jesus and religion came back to stay In such a positive way on my life. As a woman it made me want to never silence my voice and less in this era where we can be more heard, where we just need to get encouraged and Sue Monk Kid did the enough encouragement I needed. Thank you for this precious gift.

LSU Sue ,

A different imagining of what might have been

This is an interesting take on the undocumented portion of Jesus’ life. These things could have happened, but certainly there is no record of it. Really interesting take on a possibility.

Sue 🙏 ,

Enjoyable read!

Real enjoyed this fictional Biblical based novel. I’ve also read The Red Tent and this has a similar theme. Ana is a well developed main character with flaws and a dream. Relatable for many women who are still seeking their voice. I also enjoyed the author’s note at the end of the book, which answered a few questions that I had.

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