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on June 5, 2012
It is nice to just immerse yourself in a good book. Sometimes it is just to get away. But sometimes reading one that is well written after having read a few not so well written ones is a treat.

Mary Magdalene by Diane Wallis Taylor is that book for me. It is very well written about a woman of the Bible that I can't wait to meet. I want to hear her side of a story that so many have guessed about through the ages. She has been misjudged, misunderstood, and just not known for years. Which does seem to drive everyone who studies, reads or knows the Bible crazy (No pun intended).

Mad Mary as she becomes known to her family and friends was a beautiful young lady, the apple of her father's eye. She was well known in Magdalene because of her father's ship building company. So when she is struck down by headaches, seizures and other mental illnesses the town knows and suddenly no one is interested in marrying her or even standing by her family.

I probably don't have to go into any more of Mary's story. She is probably one of the best known women of the Bible. Like I said before she has had her entire life guessed about and people believing they have the answer to who and what she was. The Catholic church declared her a prostitute, even though there was nothing written about it in the Bible. In recent years people have decided that she was married to Jesus again with no evidence to that fact (ok that is not a new idea).
This book is not meant to answer those questions. Diane will be the first to tell you she doesn't know either. However it does paint a picture of a woman that Jesus freed from her mental illness and she loved him for that and followed him to the cross. This was just a nice book to read.

I really enjoyed the gentleness of it and yet the beautifully written story of a forgiven soul.
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on June 22, 2012
I am surprised (and sad) to have to say that I didn't like Mary Magdalene as much as I had hoped--especially since I really enjoyed Diana Taylor's two previous biblical novels. There was just something about this book that didn't really click for me, making getting through this book difficult in some parts.

There were, however, things I did enjoy about this book. Such as the way Mary becomes possessed with demons. I wasn't expecting something like that at all, and while to some it might seem very still was very plausible. And Taylor worked it all together so seamlessly, it was very believable!

Another aspect of Mary Magdalene that I liked was the different viewpoint we are given of the last half of Jesus' ministry here on earth--when Mary joins Jesus' following. I haven't read anything like that before, and it was neat to see first-hand what the disciples--and the women--did in the hours after Jesus' crucifixion.

So, while I didn't become enthralled with the story of Mary Magdalene, there were still some parts I enjoyed. And from all the reviews this book is getting, I know I am in the minority here, so don't take my word alone that you won't enjoy Mary Magdalene for yourself. It might just be the biblical fiction of the year you have been waiting for!

I reviewed this book for Revell. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.
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on June 19, 2012
Mary Magdalene is a fascinating but mysterious character in the New Testament. The authors of the gospels do not give much information about her past other than where she was from and that she was healed of demon possession. Diana Wallis Taylor does a great job filling in the blanks in this fictional account of Mary's past. The internal torture Mary goes through with headaches, seizures, having to be locked up so she wouldn't hurt herself or anyone else, being ostracized in the community and called "Mad Mary" makes your heart hurt. Her husband, family and close family friends stay by her side through very difficult times and make the choice to stick by Mary even though it looks like there will be no end to her torment. The healing she receives from Jesus gave me a better understanding of why she was so devoted to Jesus. The book also gives you an idea of how she might have come to be one of Jesus' followers and the first one to see Jesus alive after his death and resurrection. I like how this book is written and would highly recommend it.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
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on August 6, 2013
I found that the beginning of the book which gave an explanation of the madness and posession of Mary Magdalene was interesting. The book was well written and the details of the settings helped me to vizualize the atmosphere. Once the demons were expelled and Mary Magdalene was healed (no spoiler here if you have read the gospels), the storyline started getting more unbelievable for me. Mary Magdalene's understanding and insight into the truths spoken by Jesus just struck me as too convenient. The story seemed to rush at the end, not going into as much detail about her life after meeting Christ as it did before. I guess that's part of what I was looking for when reading this book. Note: This book does refer to the other children of the Blessed Mother, naming 4 sons and alluding to daughters. The Catholic Church declares the perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This was not central to any part of the book but I wanted to point out the doctrinal error to any Catholics who may read this book.

Overall, it was a good read, but will not be on my "read it again" list.
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on May 12, 2013
This is a fictionalized account of a little known biblical figure. The beginning was interesting as Mary is a young child who is kidnapped and traumatized. The descent into madness a little too unbelievable and her final following of Jesus was strictly by the book--basically a recounting of the gospel. I didn't really feel I got to know Mary any better. I had wanted more depth.
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on August 9, 2014
Very well written. Although written as a novel, it was an excellent study of Mary Magdalene, the one from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons and recorded in the Bible as the first person to see the risen Jesus. "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept." (Mark 16:9-10).

The fact that women were the first to visit the tomb and a woman was the first person to see the risen Jesus is evidence that the Biblical account is not fiction, because if it was fiction the writers would have chosen someone other than women to be witnesses. At that time in Jewish history, a woman's witness was not worth anything.

As I read the novel, I checked Biblical accounts for accuracy. I learned quite a bit about Mary Magdalene as a result of reading the novel. The only thing that bothered me a little was it appeared that Jesus ascended to Heaven after visiting with the Disciples the one time. Actually He was on earth and seen by some 500 different people over a 40 day period before ascending to Heaven.
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on September 16, 2014
What an amazing journey of a real woman with real life problems and real life love, lost and insanity and then her cure…Jesus. The man who was said to make the blind see.. this is an amazing story of the everyday life of a woman.
Mary in this book, gives up nothing at all to follow Jesus. She did not have much but in following him she gained everything and I loved this fact of the book. Subtle, never preachy but the message is clear and the book filled me with hope.

Nathan, Mary's spouse in this novel is an inspirational character by himself. Teenage love, true love and a determination to do what is right. I loved this secondary character as I did the freed slave. So many characters in this book Mary included made this an amazing book. Mary is a very well formed character. Not faultless, human and afflicted but a good person nonetheless.
The author did an amazing job in writing a novel that serves to inspire.

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on September 15, 2014
I loved this book. It takes you on a journey through Mary's live from a young child to adulthood. I cried in certain parts of this book. It was very touching. She was kidnapped as a child, taught about the Talmud, married her best friend, became insane as a result of the kidnapping and went to follow Jesus. It is a very warm, touching, loving story, that shows you who Mary Madalene was. As a book on Catholic Fiction I know you will enjoy this. It is one of the most realistic books I have ever read. It cites stories fromt he Bible that everyone is familiar with, it is not preachy, it is about a young woman who's live started out norman, ended up in total chaos, only to return to normality after meeting Jesus. If you are looking for a great book to read, I would strongly suggest this book. Again, it is one of the best that I have ever read.
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on August 10, 2014
A truly wonderful book about a precious Bible character, Mary of Magdala. I can't find anything wrong with her story and since I am well versed in the Scriptures, not much gets by me. I was so moved by the intimate account of Jesus and his disciples. It was so real and I wept in many places when His tender mercies revealed His true identity. What really amazed me was the authors insight into difficult passages of Scripture and how she brought out many hidden nuggets of truth that I myself wasn't even aware of after 40 years of reading it. This is truly a treasure! I loved every minute of it and the characters were all so real and very loveable and in the end even Zerah her father's brother turned to believe in Jesus. I hated to see it end. I recommend this book to any wanting a very intimate look at this precious saint of God.
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on August 3, 2014
An interesting story of the possibility of Mary's background....but too many theological errors. For example, citing the miraculous loaves and fish feeding, that the 5000 "included" women and children. The Bible cites "not including". Perhaps a small error - but as a devout Catholic, the mentioning of Jesus having younger siblings, while unproven, dogma claims any siblings were step-siblings. This was pointed out in other reviews, so was forewarned..... but it takes away from the authors ability to write a story about an individual in the Bible. One needs to take ALL religious beliefs into consideration and write the story as neutral as possible while sticking to the facts presented by the Bible translations. At best, it soured the taste in my mouth to continue reading and to finish the book.
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