Mona Lisa of the Galilee

Written by Beth Jacobi
Review by Leslie Murgatroyd

“You’re going to have to prove you can wash well enough to look after a husband!” … Kezia took a deep breath and grasped the moment: “I don’t want to marry!” she announced.

Murder, betrayal, lust, ambition and ancient faith – the joys of childbirth and the pall of death — are sprinkled with racial tension, political intrigue, family honour, humour and love in Mona Lisa of the Galilee, a historical family saga set in 1st century Palestine. The back cover blurb above sums this fascinating novel up very well!

Mona Lisa of the Galilee is a moving story about twelve-year-old Kezia, betrothed to the violent and unpredictable Jared, in 1st century Palestine.  It is a stunningly visual novel that follows her hopes and dreams, disappointments and loves as she matures from childhood to womanhood.

The novel’s linear plot is carried along by an authentic voice and clear historical context, with well-drawn characters that are just like real people who the reader can’t help but empathise with. The layout of chapters is pleasing to the eye and easy to read.

This is an enchanting book, only slightly let down by typos and clichés throughout the text. I would heartily recommend the use of a professional editor to iron out these few wrinkles. However, all in all, a good read!