Top

We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Book of Longings

On sale

21st April 2020

Price: £20

Select a format

Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472232496

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

THE New York Times BESTSELLER

An inspiring story set in the first century AD about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

‘Transporting, life-affirming, gripping. It is simply brilliant’ Mel Giedroyc

‘Fascinating . . . Clever, rebellious Ana is a memorable character’ The Times

‘Brilliant . . . Brava!” The Daily Mail

Ana is born in Galilee at a time when women are seen as possessions, only leaving their fathers’ homes to marry.
Ana longs to control her destiny. Taught to read despite her mother’s misgivings, she wants to be a writer and to find her own voice. A voice that will speak for the silenced women around her.

Betrothed to an elderly widower, Ana almost despairs. But an encounter with a charismatic young carpenter in Nazareth awakens new longings in her, and a different future opens up.

Yet this is not a simple love story. Ana’s journey will bring both joy and tragedy, but it will also be enriched by the female friendships she makes along the way.

The Book of Longings is an exquisite tale of dreams and desire, and of the power of women to change the world.

‘One of my favourites’ Alicia Keys

‘I kept having to close this novel and breathe deeply, again and again . . . It is a true masterpiece’ Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed

Unleashes the reader’s imagination with glorious evocations of extraordinary times and places, allowing our minds to roam . . . Original, challenging, beautiful’ Adele Parks, Platinum

‘Compelling . . . Ana is a truly wonderful character, strong and inspiring, and her life story so captivating that it swept me along’ Good Housekeeping

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reviews

Good Housekeeping (US)
An inspiring story of a strong woman living in a society bent on her silence
New York Journal of Books
Superlative . . . from a writer at the top of her game . . . A practically perfect historical novel
Praise for Sue Monk Kidd's earlier novels
Washington Post
'Exhilarating. . . powerful'
Joanna Trollope
'Moving, original, and accomplished . . . It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous'
Washington Post
'The tale of one motherless daughter's discovery of what family really means - and of the strange and wondrous places we love'
Daily Mail
'Wonderful - well-written, moving and engaging by turns, and always compelling'
Observer
'A resonant, illuminating novel'
Fabulous
This year's The Help - but even better
Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine
'A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman - slave or free . . . a conversation changer' - Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine
Library Journal
'The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant they will bring tears to your eyes'
Library Journal
'A testament to the author's talent for creating both compelling characters and intriguing story lines ... The intensity, bravery, and strength of character of Ana ... will inspire readers ... to live authentically and remain true to oneself'
Booklist
'The message about the importance of kindness and the power of women's voices should resonate strongly with today's readers'
Publishers Weekly
Ana's ambition and strong sense of justice make her a sympathetic character for modern readers ... A vibrant portrait of a woman striving to preserve and celebrate women's stories - her own and countless others
Adele Parks, Platinum
Unleashes the reader's imagination with glorious evocations of extraordinary times and places, allowing our minds to roam... Original, challenging, beautiful
Good Housekeeping
Compelling ... Ana is a truly wonderful character, strong and inspiring, and her life story so captivating that it swept me along
Culturefly
'A wonderfully researched novel ... reimagining the past through the eyes of a creative, curious and defiant woman'
Sunday Times
A bold, imaginative reworking of the Christian tale from a female perspective
Daily Mail
Brilliant ... the familiar characters brought to vivid life
—The Times (UK)
"This novel has an intriguing premise . . . The novel's evocation of life in Galilee is fascinating, and clever, rebellious Ana is a memorable character."
Irish Times
This is not Jesus' story, but Ana's. [...] The Book of Longings is the testament of a bold woman, and the story of many stolen female voices.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
· A master of literary women's fiction, Kidd always strikes a chord with her strong, feisty female protagonists . . . [The Book of Longings] is an engaging story about a young woman defying the odds to make her voice heard, a story that remains relevant today . . . [and] underscore[s] what's lost when one group - be it one gender, race or religion - gets to write the history for all.
Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed
I kept having to close this novel and breathe deeply, again and again. A radical re-imagining of the New Testament that reflects on women's longing and silencing and awakening, it is a true masterpiece.
O, The Oprah Magazine
Kidd's bold narrative revisionism allows her protagonist to be in every respect the equal of her husband while posing this question: How would Western culture be different if men and women had grown in appreciation of each other's spirit?
Christian Science Monitor
No other writer has fleshed out a partner who can stand on her own, who is intellectually and spiritually well matched with Jesus . . . Kidd's research into first-century Jewish life, along with her vivid descriptions of the villages and terrain, make Ana's story come alive
The Washington Post
Kidd uses her unexpected narrator to reveal new perspectives on an endlessly parsed era.
TIME
Imaginative . . . Charts a young woman's struggle to confront the ways in which society dictates what she can and cannot do.
Caroline Montague, Woman & Home
I will be reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Book of Longings this summer . . . I am captivated by the idea of a strong female character being at its heart, the kind whose voice can still be heard centuries later. I loved The Secret Life of Bees . . . and have been eagerly awaiting this new novel.
Sunday Business Post
"Riveting . . . A wonderful adventure which reads like Wilbur Smith crossed with Margaret Atwood. A gripping read.
Sunday Business Post
Riveting . . . Telling the story of an extraordinary life in one of the most startling pieces of historical fiction you're likely to set eyes on this year