Thursday, January 19, 2017
Abi of Cyrene
by Mary Lou Cheatham
This novel is Biblical fiction, sort of. Abi (a completely fictional character) is the wife of Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried Jesus’ cross. It begins with Abi as a young woman whose father negotiates a husband for her. She leaves everything she’s ever known and travels far to the land of her new spouse. She must learn a new language, and figure out her place in the world with very little help.
She takes her internal struggles to the God of the Jewish nation. She is part of the diaspora, raised in Africa, and committed to Adonai. The story follows her coming of age, her family, and intersects Biblical events in a very sweet way. The Biblical scenes bring a fresh perspective which truly enable the reader to see those events in a new way.
While the romance starts out as the main focus, as the novel progresses, it turns to the deep thoughts and struggles of Abi, and how God answered (and didn't answer) her prayers. Her feelings and attitudes change as she ages, but her one desire in life remains the same. The book was a gift for Christmas. I'm not sure I would have picked it up on my own, but I'm glad I was encouraged to read Abi of Cyrene. It reads quickly and it's worth the effort.
Are you a fan of Biblical fiction? What is your favorite era of the Bible to read about?