Did Jesus of Nazareth have a sister? We will never know: at that time in Jewish history, such a woman did not merit a place in any written record. So Leslie Cannold has imagined her.
The Book of Rachael is the story of a fiercely intelligent child consigned by her sex to a life of ignorance and drudgery. But Rachael fights her destiny, secretly learning the forbidden skills of literacy from her father Yosef and her brother. And when she falls in love with her brother's closest friend, Judah of Iscariot, it even seems that Rachael will find happiness in her constrained world.
Then a message comes from Rachel's brother. He is on his way to Jerusalem for Passover. He plans to speak out in the Temple against the corrupt establishment, and he asks for Judah's help. And so begins the chain of tragic events that will change not just Rachael's life, but the world – forever.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Cannold is an author, commentator, ethicist, researcher and social activist. Her non-fiction works include The Abortion Myth and What, No Baby?
'Cannold walks an interesting line between faith and history here, as she explores an alternative Virgin birth storyline (what happens to unmarried women in this society who fall pregnant means, inevitably, that they are keen to stress the intervention of a god).' * Independent *
'This retelling of the Jesus story will resonate with women of faith who wish to forge their own path and stay true to their values...This is a good pick for readers who enjoyed Anita Diamant's The Red Tent or Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers.' * Library Journal *
'Cannold offers a thought-provoking, heartfelt, and tragic but redemptive tale about the difficulties of discovering and defining one's identity in a world that seeks unendingly to take that decision away.' * Publishers Weekly *
'There are dangers in attempting to fictionalise such a well-loved story as the life of Christ. First, the resulting account might offend. It might collapse into cliche. Or it might be filled with contemporary sensibilities, creating a world too familiar to our own. Though The Book of Rachael skirts each of these minefields, it is testament to the literary skills of Leslie Cannold that this debut novel avoids them.' * Courier Mail *
'The church has spent millenia writing women out of history. In the wonderful Book of Rachael, Leslie Cannold returns them to their rightful place at the centre of one of our most powerful stories.' -- Sophie Cunningham
'Passionate, eloquent and compelling, a terrific idea beautifully realised-I couldn't put it down.' -- Liz Byrski
'The Book of Rachael should be celebrated for its intelligence, eloquence and its fascinating version of well-known events. Cannold sustains her reader's interest from the first page to the last, offering us a credible explanation for one of the most incredible stories in our culture. Indeed, this is all the more impressive when we learn that The Book of Rachael is Cannold's debut novel, a remarkably confident and assured beginning to what I hope will be a long career in literature.' * Canberra Times *
'Engaging and fast-paced prose...a compelling read.' Four-star review * Australian Bookseller + Publisher *
'Cannold deftly creates a rich fictional world.' * Courier Mail *
'A beautifully narrated story about equality, independence and love.' * Sunday Herald Sun *
'Cannold successfully pulls the human stories from the mire of religion and self-interest that opened up in the days immediately following the crucifixion. Food for thought, indeed, and quite a page-turner.' * Weekend Press, Dominion Post *
`Enthralling and thought-provoking...I was completely drawn in to [the women of Nazareth's] world and found it almost impossible to put down...[Leslie Cannold] succeeds in not only writing women back into history but also in examining one our most enduring religious stories.' * Otago Daily Times *