Mary is one of the most revered women in history, but she was an ordinary woman striving to please God in the same way that women still do today. Readers are sure to gain a new appreciation of the familiar story through Francine's signature style. A study on the biblical text is included for personal or group study.
In her fifth and final Lineage of Grace novella, renowned Christian writer Rivers tackles the most celebrated woman in Christian history Mary, the mother of Jesus with mixed results. Using the biblical account of Jesus' life as a framework, Rivers adds such imaginative scenes as Mary watching the young Jesus healing his little sister, Anne, or Mary pondering Jesus' ability to see that there is always enough bread and oil in the larder to keep the family afloat. There are warm mother-son exchanges ("You're so thin!") and personal details ("Jesus had Mary's chin... but no one ever said Jesus had her eyes...."). The stakes are higher here for Rivers than in previous novellas. While Christians may not mind Rivers taking inventive liberties with characters such as the prostitute Rahab (Unashamed), the same grace might not be extended to her fictionalization the revered Mary and Jesus. At the same time, Rivers having taken the plunge in choosing Mary could have risked a little bit more. Disappointingly absent from this novella are any undercurrents of sexual tension between Mary and Joseph, which Rivers conjectured so well with other characters in the series (particularly Ruth and Boaz in Unshaken). The result is a more lackluster offering. Rivers's writing, however, is excellent. If Christian readers can accept the imaginative episodes without rejecting the lessons embedded in the story, Rivers may succeed in giving them courage through Mary's example of strong faith.