In this stunning debut novel, journalist Mary Rourke offers a vivid panorama of life in first–century Galilee. Creating a richly imagined life for Joanna, a follower of Jesus mentioned briefly in the New Testament, Rourke also offers a new perspective on the world's most celebrated woman–Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Wife to Chuza, King Herod's chief steward, Joanna lives a life of luxury. Yet not even the finest doctors can restore her health. But Joanna has heard talk of a local healer, Jesus of Nazareth, whose mother is her own estranged cousin, Mary. So, intending to reconcile with her family and seek a meeting with Jesus, Joanna sets off on the dusty road to Nazareth.
Jesus indeed has the power to heal Joanna's body, but that is not all–her soul blossoms through friendship with Mary, and as one of his disciples. Then, as word of Jesus' miracles reaches Herod's court, the ruler becomes increasingly agitated and intrigue, treachery and murder cast dark shadows onto Joanna's new path.
'Mary Rourke has been bold enough to trespass to the very edges of 'the greatest story ever told' and she returns with a novel that is beautifully written, original and emotionally resonant. In the spirit of The Red Tent, Rourke has pondered the lives of the women of the gospels and, from a half–line reference here and there, has skilfully evoked an entrancing world.'–Geraldine Brooks, internationally bestselling author of Year Of Wonders and March.