Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: Literary Novel Excellent...Storyline Questionable

Mary MagdaleneImage via Wikipedia

Blood and Silk:
The Hidden Love Story
of Mary of Magdala
and
Jesus of Nazareth

By Carol McKay


Carol McKay has certainly created a well-researched literary novel opening up a vision of the world that is marvelously illustrative of the potential life of Mary of Magdala in her new novel, Blood and Silk.

Had she not added such a declarative subtitle of "truth," I might have been more receptive and not quite so attentive to her fictional account comparative to other written documentation. Indeed, Michele Doucette, in her novel A Travel in Time to Grand Pre, had already introduced me to new research that references Mary of Magdala as the wife of Jesus. I found her book to have creatively introduced the topic within novel form in a supernatural fantasy that was quite delightful.

Please note that I do believe that, given the custom of the Jewish people at that time, as shared in her novel, not based upon my own expertise, I can see where a promise between two families might lead to the pledge of marriage between two young people; however, since the story is written from Mary's standpoint, we have no reference about what, for instance, might have been the response of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Perhaps there was not a need to comment if it was assumed traditional--why then keep it secret for so long?

The richness and splendor of that time is full of references that historically has been presented in various ways for thousands of years. Indeed, there seems to be no beginning and ending of historical time periods. Yes, the architecture and sculpture of gods that had been worshipped is rich in cultural meaning and realistically brings the reader into a world where one can walk down the streets of that time. At the same time, if Jesus had been accepted as the Messiah by those who professed to be believers, wouldn't those former gods now have no place in the lives of those, and specifically Mary of Magdala, who accepted Jesus as more than a man? Yet, her participation and attendance to various activities as part of her normal family life seems unchanged to me.

The need for secrecy is explained by the desire to keep Mary and their children safe. Jesus and she had both come separately to a monastery where the marriage was to have taken place. Later, Mary's parents throw a huge wedding and while siting a need for secrecy, food is brought in, new clothes purchased, guests were arriving... The first marriage secretly happens, is consummated and children are born. The second marriage is public, talked about surely by merchants, neighbors, workers in the homes and yet is supposedly secret. It just didn't ring true for me...even in a fictional portrayal.


Later in life, after being recognized in public, the story indicates that she was to henceforth live in a cave. The story that Mary would be hidden in a cave for many years, separated from everybody and alone, purely for safety again seems...well, just wrong, if she was the supposed wife of their King.

As an aside, there are also smaller issues such as the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, being written totally different and, in essence, taking away the "miracle." Yes, this is the story from the Christian Bible--a source that is well known across the world.

For many years as a professional reviewer, I have read and talked about the need for authors to be historically correct, even while they are writing a novel against which they create a fictional storyline. Even though this book is historically sharing about a time when, perhaps, accurate records are not available, I think some degree of accountability must still be held so that what is presented is at least a logical "possibility."

I cannot totally discount the magnitude of work and the book, yet His spirit within me speaks against much of the proposed intimate statements as lacking truth. I find I cannot recommend it as anything more than fantasy of, for some reason, that Jesus was married. I don't claim that it never happened, I propose instead, Why? Why would it have been kept a secret. If you need some answer, then this book will certainly provide a major piece in your effort. The illogic of the story forces me to share it as a fascinating fantasy... but the storyline for me was too full of holes that left this reader dissatisfied and filled with questions...

Given the subtitle of this book, I do not feel anything I have shared "gives anything of the plot away..."




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