Written by Carol McKay
Review by Edgar James Rice
The premise of Carol McKay’s novel Blood and Silk is that Jesus of Nazareth was married to Mary Magdalene as well as the father of her children. Blood and Silk should come with a caveat: devout Christians beware. If you are steadfast in traditional Christian beliefs, this may not be the novel for you. If you are interested in an intriguing, well researched novel about life during the time of Christ, and you are willing to go where the story leads you, you might find this a good read.
The story begins after Jesus’ death on the cross. Mary Magdalene, now a widow, recounts her tale of betrothal and marriage to Joseph’s son. Through impeccable research and a knack for weaving research and story, McKay tells us about Mary’s life as Jesus’ wife. There is great detail about Jewish life during this time, and I felt as if I were walking alongside Jesus and Mary on their journey from an Essene monastery to Jesus’ call to pastor to the people, his ultimate betrayal, and his death. It is told first person from Mary’s point of view, so we have a chance to imagine this biblical world as Mary herself might have seen it.
This book is not the first to suggest that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus. Scholars have been waving that theory about for some time now. In McKay’s version, we see Mary as a dutiful wife and mother. McKay does not present Jesus so entirely differently than we would expect from traditional Christian teachings, yet the idea that Jesus was married at all may be a problem for those who believe he remained single.
I thought Blood and Silk was entertaining and informative. I have always been interested in the Bible from a historical standpoint, and McKay delivers on that point. I recommend this book for those interested in learning more about life, particularly Jewish life, during the first century, and for those who can read a story about a married Jesus with curiosity and imagination. McKay presents the marriage between Jesus and Mary as a love story, and perhaps it was.
Edgar James Rice is a writer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He continues to write his first historical novel set during the time of the American Civil Rights Movement.