The Expected One

Written by Kathleen McGowan
Review by Andrea Connell

Described as an autobiographical religious thriller, this is the first book of a trilogy. It contains elements – religion, murder, conspiracy – which have been compared with The Da Vinci Code. (Never having read this book, I cannot comment!) It would be easy to get distracted by this novel’s controversial ideas, in particular the concept of the marriage and progeny of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and the idea that the protagonist’s experiences are autobiographical, but let’s view the book simply as a novel instead.

                The plot is essentially split into two halves. The first focuses on the experiences of Maureen Paschal, author of the bestselling HerStory: A Defense of History’s Most Hated Heroines. She experiences biblical dreams and visions which ultimately lead her on a journey from Jerusalem to France’s mysterious Languedoc region. Through a series of events, she begins to wonder just who she can trust as she discovers she is a descendant of Mary Magdalene and Jesus – and the only one who can find Mary’s long-lost Gospel. The second half is mostly dedicated to the telling of the story contained within the Magdalene scrolls, which reveal details about Mary’s relationship and life with Jesus and the events surrounding the crucifixion.

                The plot is imaginative, and the story contained in the scrolls is portrayed in a captivating, engaging manner. The biblical characters come fully to life, and the feel of the 1st century surrounds the reader. Unfortunately, the first half of the book plods along, reading like a journalistic narration and explanation of events and facts rather than flowing smoothly like the story in the scrolls. Although I felt that for reading enjoyment, this book was a mixed bag, I found the ideas in it to be thought-provoking and intriguing.