The Book of Longings|Sue Monk Kidd
The Book of Longings
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"An extraordinary novel . . . a triumph of insight and storytelling." --Associated Press

"A true masterpiece." --Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed

An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.

Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.


  • ISBN-13: 9780525429760
  • ISBN-10: 052542976X
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publish Date: April 2020
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Page Count: 432

The Book of Longings

What Sue Monk Kidd has done with her latest novel is far from predictable, but she is steering her formidable narrative talents into somewhat familiar territory. How does one write a compelling, evocative and, most importantly, new take on one of the most analyzed and fictionalized people who’s ever lived? With a tremendous narrative voice.

The Book of Longings follows Ana, a young girl growing up under the reign of Herod Antipas with dreams of making her ideas resound across the ages. Ana’s sharp thoughts and probing mind eventually bring her into contact with an 18-year-old man named Jesus of Nazareth, who just happens to be as intellectually precocious and open as she is. Their curiosity about each other turns to romance, and Ana finds herself wrapped up in one of history’s great sagas, through it all searching for new and lasting ways to carry her own voice not behind Jesus’ but alongside him.

The gripping conceit at the heart of this novel stems from the idea that, if Jesus were married, his wife might be completely erased by the history that followed their relationship. This raises spellbinding questions. What kind of spirit would have been so compelling to Jesus? What kind of strength would she possess? And most importantly, how hard would she fight to be heard?

Kidd’s narrative, etched into the emotionally precise and tactile prose of Ana’s first-person voice, doesn’t always answer these questions directly. The Book of Longings is not an attempt to rewrite history. Instead it’s an exploration of a triumphant, fierce spirit and the stories she aches to tell. There’s an exuberance to Ana that vibrates off every page, and that is a testament to Kidd’s gifts.