The Centurion’s Wife

Written by Davis Bunn Janette Oke
Review by Susan Higginbotham

Young Leah, a penniless niece of Pontius Pilate, has something more on her mind than the prophet named Jesus who has just been crucified: she is about to become betrothed to Alban, an ambitious centurion who is a total stranger to Leah. Having witnessed her sisters’ disastrous marriages made by her financially ruined and embittered father, Leah is terrified about the prospect of her own match.

Meanwhile, Pilate, realizing Alban’s competence as well as his ambition, allows Alban to marry Leah on one condition: that Alban discover the truth of the prophet’s mysterious disappearance from his tomb. When Procula, Pilate’s wife, sends Leah on a similar mission, the spouses-to-be find their lives changing in ways they never contemplated.

This novel got off to a slow start for me, especially with Leah complaining rather repetitively of being sold in marriage. Once I was drawn in, however, I found it to be well plotted and suspenseful, with sympathetic protagonists. Readers interested in the earliest days of Christianity will find The Centurion’s Wife, which paints a vivid picture of day-to-day life in the province of Judaea, well worth reading.