SISTERS of the WAR by RANIA ABOUZEID

Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True Stories of Survival and Hope in Syria (Scholastic Focus)

Living in the United States we think we know what is going on in the world. We have 24 hours of news coverage and constant updates on social media sites.

But a few years back when I began to try and figure out who was telling the truth about Syria, it was obvious we know nothing. The reports I was given told two entirely different stories depending on who was writing them.

This book lets the children and adults who are living on both sides of the conflict tell their own stories.

There are innocent people on both sides, and the children’s sense of hope was inspiring. The differences in their lives while living only a few hundred miles apart were stark. One set of parents determined to shield their family from the ugliness beyond their own door while the other encourages rebellion.

Rania Abouzeid is a journalist I admire and can trust. Her writing in this book is exceptional and honest.

I will be sending a copy to my granddaughter!

Scholastic September 2020

VERITAS: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife by Ariel Sabar

 

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife

 

The gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that engulfed Harvard.

Dr. Karen King, a well-respected professor at Harvard Divinity, announced to the attendees of a scholars conference, steps from the Vatican.

Someone had given her a scrap of an ancient papyrus where Jesus calls Mary Magdalene his wife.  As you can imagine, this was huge. I know I followed this in the news because I had an interest in the Gnostic Gospels and what was and wasn’t true. I never saw Mary of Magdala as a prostitute and I never found any corroboration of that.

Imagine if all these years later we find out Jesus had a wife. What? What a shakeup that would be for the Catholic Church especially. If he was married, why celibacy in the priesthood? Why no women in positions of power? There was a powerful uproar and King’s reputation suffered. Was this piece a forgery and if so was King in on it?

Amid all of these questions, journalist Ariel Sabar started digging into the story. Where did the fragment come from? With impeccable research and detective skills, he brings us the story of King and the man who may or may not be a forger.

This was a brilliant look at the rivalries in academia. The hopes of King that there was an alternative to the bible out there that was more inclusive to women. I’ll leave you to enjoy the mystery.

I am still mulling over questions this book brought up. And I’m sure I will be for a long time.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ August 11th, 2020 by Doubleday Books

 

 

 

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel by Naomi Ragen

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel

An Unorthodox Match is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from author Naomi Ragen, the internationally bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.

Lola/Leah had it all. Or so she thought. A tragic love story, a new love along with a great career, but while her eyes were elsewhere, her lover hops into bed with the boss and the boss has destroyed the business leaving Lola/Leah with no job, no boyfriend, and no place to go.

Although her mother is Jewish, she rebelled against her parents and the faith early on and led her own non-believing life. She has taught her daughter that religion is a cult and she should make her own rules. But Lola/Leah is broken. And curious about her faith.

When she enters a program for newly practicing Orthodox Jews, she finds it hard and rewarding. She knows this is how she wants to live her life. And when love finds her, the same people who showed her the path will try to push her out of it.

There was a lot of writing in this book. A bit too much. But the story. The words. A lot of them hit too close to home. Oh, how we love to convert someone to a believer or bring back a lamb that has strayed. But we still think we are better than you. I was humbled by this book.

A beautiful and powerful look at true faith and love. Well Done!

NetGalley/ September 24th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

JUDGE Thee NOT by EDITH MAXWELL

Judge Thee Not (Quaker Midwife Mystery #5)

A QUAKER MIDWIFE MYSTERY #5

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll must fight bias and blind assumptions to clear the name of a friend when a murderer strikes in nineteenth-century Massachusetts . . . 

This is not the first Edith Maxwell book I have read, however, it is the first one in this series. I love a good historical fiction mystery and yet I wasn’t sure if the Quaker part would be a good fit for me. I should never have doubted Ms. Maxwell. 

Rose Carroll is a Quaker midwife living in the small town of Amesbury. It may be small but prejudices and judgy attitudes are alive and well. Especially with Mayme Settle. She is not nice and disapproves of everyone. Including Rose’s friend Bertie and her partner.

When Mayme is found dead, a sketchy witness points the finger at Bertie. With her friend the main suspect in a murder, Rose gets down to business and opens a pandora’s box of long-held grudges, money troubles, and some hanky panky. For this one, Rose is going to have to pull out all the stops to get her friend out of trouble!

For me, one chapter into the book I felt such a calm. Rose’s character is just a calm, good person and I felt so much respect for her. I also learned a lot about the attitudes of men and some women towards the female gender. I am extremely glad I didn’t give birth back then!

Now I shall go read the other 4 books!

NetGalley/September 10th, 2019 by Beyond the Page