Reviewed by Marian Baay
An Amazing Debut Novel
Mara is a 15 year old Samaritan girl who lives with her younger, crippled brother and her mother in a small clay house in Sychar. Mara’s mother, Nava, is mentally unstable, and Mara is trying to take care of her mother and brother. She is scorned in the village because of her mother’s sins, so life is not easy for Mara.
There’s a pagan man named Alexandros who stops by their house once in a while to stay the night with Nava. No one can know about this because the people of Sychar will stone Nava if they ever find out.
Mara is trying to persuade Nava to turn Alexandros down next time, because she is living in constant fear that her mother’s ‘secret’ will be exposed.
Shem is a young man from Caesarea where he received a good education, and where he could live a good life…if he hadn’t gotten himself into trouble. His father is sending him away to his grandparents in Sychar. Once there, he rescues Mara from three boys who are bullying her on her way to the well—and in doing so he makes his first enemies in Sychar.
One day Nava is going to the well where she meets Jesus. He knows all about her husbands and doesn’t condemn her. She receives new life at the well and is changed after that. But the village people refuse to believe she’s changed—they want to punish her for her sin.
When something bad happens to her mother, Mara is called in a dream by Jesus. Meanwhile Jesus has left Sychar and has gone elsewhere. Mara and Shem go after him—together they travel from Sychar to Nazareth, and further. On the way they get into several dangerous situations.
Will they find Jesus? Will her mother get healed? And what is the reason Jesus called Mara to come to him?
I enjoyed this book immensely! It is hard to believe this is a debut novel. The writing is excellent; the author has a pleasant voice, the plot is very well done, the characters are so real, easy to love, and easy to identify with. From the first till the last page, this book is a pure delight. I highly recommend this book!
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