THROUGH MARTHA’S EYES:
One woman witnesses the greatest
event in history
By Corinne Brixton
Troubador Publishing. 354 pages. £8.99
ISBN 978 1 788 036 283
Using an imagined back story for Martha of Bethany, one of Jesus’ friends, the author seeks to portray the events of Jesus’ public ministry from her perspective.
The novel provides well-researched historical, social and cultural details that are woven into stories recorded in the biblical texts. The author has inevitably used imagination in creating the story of Martha’s childhood, depicting her relationships with her siblings and friends in Bethany, and in suggesting how she came to be a friend and follower of Jesus. However, she has done this thoughtfully, intelligently and realistically. None of the imagined details are unlikely or unbelievable. Rather, they help the reader to understand more fully the social context in which Jesus taught, healed and performed miracles.
The first half of the book describes the imagined events of Martha’s early life – a Jewish girl raised in a devout family, learning her people’s traditions and practices. She experiences loss and heartache, but grows in faith and trust in God as she leads her siblings through their shared troubles. The reader will feel both compassion and admiration for her. The second half follows Martha and her siblings as they seek to discover more about the preacher from Galilee who appears to be no ordinary man. As they get to know Jesus and become convinced he is the promised Messiah, their ordinary lives are changed forever.
Dramatic, colourful and rich in detail, this book is definitely a page-turner. Beautifully written and, at times, very moving, it left me hungry to re-read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. That can only be a good thing!