Title: The Handmaiden and the Carpenter
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Historic Fiction, Religious
Copy: Courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library
- A 13 year old girl meets her future husband, the charming 17 year old that is the catch of the town.
- The girl is visited by an angel.
- Before they are married, the girl is pregnant, yet a virgin.
- Joseph must decide if he will or will not marry Mary.
What makes it different
- The focus is on both Mary and Joseph, completely leaving out Jesus except where he is essential to the story line.
- Mary is accepting based on the experiences of her mother as well as her cousin Elizabeth. Yes, Elizabeth the mother of John.
- Joseph is not the strong believer that Mary is.
- Joseph believes in the traditions of his people, but not necessarily that Mary’s son is also the son of God.
Why you should read it
- While the Bible tells quite a bit about Mary’s confusion and acceptance, little is said about Joseph.
- It is very cool to see one author’s view of how Mary and Joseph adjusted to their life with Jesus.
- The bit about the Wise Men visiting really cemented in my mind how that may have taken place.
Why you shouldn’t read it
- It challenges what the Bible says about Mary and Joseph’s acceptance of their situation.
- It’s speculation, which may or may not sit well with certain personalities or religions.
- It isn’t your traditional Christmas Story.
I really liked this book, but I’m fairly opened minded about Christianity. It doesn’t bother me not knowing whether or not it is true; it possible that Mary and Joseph had the very reactions that Berg outlines. I really enjoyed that side of the story. It puts flesh on a great story outline, the same way that the Red Tent by Anita Diamant.