During the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius, a Jewish family lives a simple life near Jerusalem. The youngest, Mary, is a dreamer; the only son, Lazarus, is a good man; and the eldest, Martha, sets her own wishes and happiness aside to ensure theirs. But when a new rabbi called Jesus and his dedicated followers arrive, Martha finds new faith, new strength – and new happiness.
Martha is a great book for all of us (religious or not) who’ve often thought rather grimly that while Mary may have “chosen the better part,” there wouldn’t have been as much “aw, sweet, pious Mary-ing” if someone – someone named Martha, as a matter of fact – hadn’t cleaned the house, cooked the food, served the meal, and made sure everyone was fed and comfortable. I liked this Martha and understood her, and I was sad when her first chances at happiness did not come to pass. Excellent historical detail and a respectful yet not cloying retelling of this story make Martha an outstanding choice for readers looking for inspirational Biblical fiction. (My only complaint: the meals Martha prepares are so lovingly described I kept wanting to go out for Middle Eastern food!)