THE BOOKS OF RACHEL
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Historical Fiction. True Crime. Then a message comes from her brother in Jerusalem. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Book Of Rachael , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 18, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: australia , historical-fiction , c21st , 11review. View all 6 comments. May 17, Kim Miller rated it it was amazing. Loooooved it!
Never wanted this book to end A novel that I know i'll read again and remember for days, and maybe weeks to come. I almost don't want to start another novel just so that these characters stay alive in my mind.
Jun 12, Sarah Mayor Cox rated it really liked it Shelves: narrative-non-fiction. I was hanging out to read this book, and desperately wanting to fall in love with it because I thought it might be like Anita Diamont's The Red Tent, which the blurb claims 'Is what the Bible would be like if it had been written by a woman'.
But I have to say, half way through, although i am really enoying reading it, I am really frustrated by what a revolting character Rachael's mother is - and I can't really figure out why Cannold needs to make her such a fishwife. It's really easy to read, b I was hanging out to read this book, and desperately wanting to fall in love with it because I thought it might be like Anita Diamont's The Red Tent, which the blurb claims 'Is what the Bible would be like if it had been written by a woman'. It's really easy to read, but doesn't have as literary a voice as i imagined it might have.
Anyway, I am going to still keep going with it, and even if i get to the end and don't like it, I will still be recommending it to people, especially teenage girls because I think the whole concept of writing the history of forgotten voices is so important. So I did stick with it, and ended up loving it, and just sobbing in certain parts because it is just such a moving book. And I stick with what I said earlier that it is an important book to read, especially for YA readers.
Well worth the read. Would make a great book club book too. View 2 comments. Jan 19, Laura rated it really liked it. Terrific, truly terrific! A fantastic story about Jesus' younger sister and the hardship the women at that time endured. Before you go "Hang on, Jesus had sisters?
Cannold takes the perspective of the youngest child, Rachael, a rebellious and intelligent child who comes up against prejudice and misogyny at every turn.
The Books Of Rachel
Rachael's eldest brother, Joshua Jesus , is a caring carpente Terrific, truly terrific! Rachael's eldest brother, Joshua Jesus , is a caring carpenter who - through Rachael's intelligence and his other sister's harsh treatment by the village after her brutal raping - disagrees with how forgiveness is given to the rich, whilst the poor and women must toil.
Rachael falls in love and marries Judah, Joshua's best friend and constant protector, and is thrust into a rebellion that starts the Christian movement. Experiencing and witnessing the worst of her male counterparts, Rachael fumes as men abuse the women around her; though is forced to resign knowing that she alone can do nothing.
An excellent view on women, religion, power and growth. I recommend this to everyone. View 1 comment. Feb 13, Calzean rated it it was amazing Shelves: author-australia , historical-fiction , woman-author , religious-literature , culture-israel. A brave idea to write a book using Jesus's Joshua sister as the narrator.
But Cannold delivers in spades. The women and their lives show us how poorly they were treated, what few no rights they had and how stoning of adulterers and wearing veils was considered the norm. The women, and the whole story, are so believable. Rachael is feisty, intelligent and wants a chance to break out of a life of cleaning, cooking and giving birth. The portrayal of Mary may bring criticism as it is Joseph who s A brave idea to write a book using Jesus's Joshua sister as the narrator. The portrayal of Mary may bring criticism as it is Joseph who shows the way for the family, and it is Rachael and Mary Magdalene who help Joshua.
Judas is portrayed as a strong and brave man who had a cunning plan which did not work. Priests abound who love their trappings and ceremonies over helping the needy. Greed and self interest could not handle a different point of view. Joshua's miracles and faith is realistically portrayed and you could see how these stories could be translated by the story tellers of the day to eventually form the Bible. One of the best books I have read. Jun 13, Carrie rated it it was ok. While engaging and certainly a page-turner, "The Book of Rachael" is one that I will not recommend or pick up again.
While Cannold's intentions and conceptions may be clear and intriguing, I found her style to be dull, riddled with modern Western cliches, values, and sensibilities. I found the characters, plot and themes were overshadowed by her clear and overwhelming need to portray modern feminist ideas and deconstruct the Biblical Gospel.
It is not her portrayal of these things that I find ir While engaging and certainly a page-turner, "The Book of Rachael" is one that I will not recommend or pick up again. It is not her portrayal of these things that I find irking, but the heavy-handed manner in which she addresses them. Cannold has placed modern sensibilities particularly those of women within characters in an historical setting in order to retell the history of that era in terms of women's experience.
I applaud this aim, yet dismay at the simplification of complex social and cultural issues through a Western, 21st Century voice. Shelves: feminism , biblical-fiction. So, biblical fiction that tells the untold story of women, is my kink. I love it. This should 3 and a half stars. The best thing about Cannold's book is not that she gives name and voice to the women of the Bible but that there's such a profound believability to them. Her women are flawed, deeply so, just like real women. Each suffering their own weakness, each revelling in their own strength So, biblical fiction that tells the untold story of women, is my kink.
Each suffering their own weakness, each revelling in their own strengths, each woman unique and though bound by the constraints of their time and gender each one defies these ties in her own way. The adage that well behaved women never make history is certainly true in biblical terms.
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One flick through the bible shows that very few "good" woman are named. Very few Good women are given voice with the most notable exceptions of Ruth and the idealised woman from Proverbs There are more minor players, but the most infamous women of the bible are the naughty ones. History also shows us that there are always defiant women. Whether we record their defiance for prosperity or not. In Rachel's case, she did not bring down a judge of Israel or slaughter a band of men in their sleep, and so evaded the history books but she rejected the nominal place of women and girls over and over again, much to the chagrin of her mother, the haughty wonderfully arrogant Miriame.
And blessedly Cannold chose to leave out the virgin birth Miriame, better known to us as Mary has her own secrets to which Rachel cannot guess. And so the very things that would have you condemn her, redeem her in the end. Your heart would break for little Rachel. The sister bond was treated with an equal amount of attention to reality. Parts of the story will make you hurt. Will make you angry. Will make you despair. Cannolds writing is anything but flowery or over reaching as is shown in her ability to convey the emotion without attempting to overwhelm us with prose, unlike Anita Diamant in The Red Tent.
A book I also loved though in the case of The Red Tent it was purely for the relationships between the various women, not the writing itself. The tender sub-story of Joshua, as seen through the eyes of his sister, is touching and beautifully done. Cannold wisely focused on Joshua as brother, son and lover, rather than as the Messiah.
As such, she was able to breathe into him a real soul. A man far more believable and probable than the man proffered up for us in the bible. And though the book focuses on the untold story of women, Cannold has not treated the men as shadows. Her supporting cast have dimension.
Gentle yet commanding Joseph, brave and brash Judah and the somewhat snivelling Jacob. Unsurprisingly, the strengths in Cannolds tale lie in her ability to weave her non-fiction expertise she has two other non-fiction books The Abortion Myth and What, no baby? The grown up Rachel is mistress of her own destiny, as much as a woman could be in that day and age. As apprentice to the mystical crone Bindy, Rachel learns how to control her fertility, she learns how to heal and how to comfort when the body is beyond all healing. Through Bindy she learns who she is and that who she thought she was may not actually be who she wanted to be.
At it's very heart, the Book of Rachel is the story of women in general, it spans the years, for just like Rachel did all those years ago, we still struggle to fight for the right to complete autonomy over our own bodies and the right to pursue and define our own destinies, whatever they may be and in this way Rachel's story is our own story. Jan 17, jhldjfau rated it it was amazing Shelves: i-own-it , books-that-halt-time.
Holy Mary Mother of God! This book is bloody brilliant! Take a bible story - hell, not just any bible story, lets take THE Bible Story, and retell it using the voices of those who would otherwise remain mute. Lets take Jesus, for example, and make him a supporting actor in someone else's story - like for example his sister. This is Leslie Cannold's starting premise - and boy does she deliver. Rachael, Jesus' younger sister and it's widely accepted that he did have siblings - thanks for that link Holy Mary Mother of God!
Rachael, Jesus' younger sister and it's widely accepted that he did have siblings - thanks for that link Lisa is a smart, stubborn, fiercely independent young girl distinctly attuned to the injustices of having being born female. At one point she even chops off all her hair in a bid to shed that most visible of female attributes Scout Finch all over. Rachael has a seemingly unaffectionate mother, whose bitterness she only comes to understand when she becomes a mother herself, and is haunted throughout her life by the fate of her beloved older sister who is brutally raped and subsequently condemned to an equally brutal marriage to her attacker no, you didn't misread that.
As a child, Rachael learns to read something women are forbidden or not considered worthy to do ; she demonstrates an affinity with languages, and in time dedicates herself to the study of midwifery - a pursuit which at critical junctures becomes distinctly political. Later, as a married woman, Rachael practices birth control so that she might delay the child-rearing years in favour of travel and adventure. And all of this serves to illuminate the story brewing in the background; that of Jesus - Rachael's brother, and Judas - Rachael's husband.
But to briefly summarise the key point 'cos you already know how the background story ends : Rachael is basically a woman to whom most modern women today can actually relate. Cannold's novel is fiction. She never claims it to be anything else. As well I should. But I think that the enduring point made by both theses authors is not so much what they have been capable of imagining and so skillfully portraying, but what their fictions represent. They remind us, very powerfully but so very simply, that there are always, always several sides to the same story- and so-called "divine" stories should be treated no differently.
Jul 22, Siegrist rated it really liked it. Being so used to reading Leslie Cannold's fiesty but highly analytical writings it was fun to be plunged into the world of her imagination. Still fiesty, but this time historical fiction re-imagining the gospel stories and inventing for Jesus a sister, Rachael. The detail of the world is very compelling - I loved all the little domestic details - as is the narrative itself. It is to Cannold's credit that the she builds the tension so well when it is such a well known story.
I imagine it's the sor Being so used to reading Leslie Cannold's fiesty but highly analytical writings it was fun to be plunged into the world of her imagination. I imagine it's the sort of book that read in a certain mindset could be easy to criticise but it you go with the flow it's good fun girl-power in the land of Caanan. Sep 09, Geoffrey Irvin rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction.
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Simply the best historical fiction I have ever read, wonderful detail, historical accuracy, activly unites the cutting edge scholarly research on the persons and politics of the 1st century Romanised holy lands, whilst creating 3 dimensional characters which resonate with modern times. Feminism, social justice, entrenched mediocre patronistic institutions and the explanation of suffering of individual characters all make this an exemplary rendering of the tale of Jesus the Nazarene.
A must read Simply the best historical fiction I have ever read, wonderful detail, historical accuracy, activly unites the cutting edge scholarly research on the persons and politics of the 1st century Romanised holy lands, whilst creating 3 dimensional characters which resonate with modern times.
Book review of Esther David's 'The Book of Rachel'
A must read for anyone seeking to understand the times, without reliance on entrenched religious dogma. Mar 09, Lisa - Aussie Girl rated it really liked it Shelves: heroines-around-the-world , historical , read-in An interesting imagining of what Jesus called Joshua in this may have lived through as a man told from the perspective of his sister's life. It may be controversial to some but reading it as a fictional account it was quite enjoyable and provided some intriguing insights especially in detailing the women's contribution to life in a time so long ago.
View all 4 comments. Sep 26, Alison Condliffe rated it it was amazing Shelves: personal. Really made me rethink and ponder what I had assumed and heard. Recommend to everyone just to get a different viewpoint of jesus. Also enjoyed interpretation of Mary and depiction of household life. Read our review here or listen to Sky's interview with Leslie Cannold. Dec 14, T rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , on-my-kindle. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. Look no further! The sights, the smells, the depravity It is all here and here in spades. They are all seen through the eyes of Joshua's Jesus younger sister, Rachael. Rachael is gifted; even for a woman.
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She is able to understand other languages after only the briefest of exposure to them. She learns how to read in secret, with the assistance of her father and older brother. She is also taken under the wing of the local midwife and healer, Bindy, to learn the ancient art of being a healer.
And she falls in love with her brother's best friend -- Judah. She is caught in a fierce internal struggle over her role not only within her family, but Jewish society as well. The healing arts that Bindy teaches her are in direct contradiction with that of the Law. The only weak part of this book was when Bindy suddenly dropped Rachael as a pupil. It felt almost Bindy was, quite obviously the crone and, to a point, so was Mary -- told you, this isn't your Sunday School Mary, Mother of God , Rachael's older sister, Shona, would probably best fit the virgin part as her virginity was ripped from her in a random act of senseless violence that would change the family dynamic forever, and, of course, sadly and erroneously, Mary Magdalene would once again fill the role of whore.
Where does Rachael fit in? Interestingly, I find her a blend of all 3. Like I said, if you're looking for a book that gives the Greatest Story Ever Told a huge spin and turns it on its head, this might be the book for you. Even if you don't agree with it and you don't have to I finished this book without necessarily agreeing with it, but I did appreciate the questions it raised , then read it for the fact that it is a riveting historical fiction. The key word being fiction.
Full disclosure -- I am a Christian. That being said, I was not, in the slightest, offended by this book. After love, I firmly believe that God's greatest gifts to creation are that of critical thinking, reason, and free will. And you will be challenged to use all three while reading this title. Jun 06, Ann rated it liked it.
I picked this book up for a few dollars at a used book sale, and started reading it as my "lunchtime book". The premise is that Joshua of Nazareth, who becomes the Christian Saviour Jesus Christ, had a sister named Rachel who was - against all social pressures for her time - a bit of a prodigy and rebel, defying her mother and roster of chores to sit outside the boys' schoolroom and learn to read and write, and later to become a sort of herbal medicine-woman. She also seems to have a gift for la I picked this book up for a few dollars at a used book sale, and started reading it as my "lunchtime book".
She also seems to have a gift for languages. I felt this book was interesting and enjoyable to read, and I sometimes found myself wondering in my 'non-lunch-time" about what would happen to Rachael. However, when I finished the book, I felt there'd been a bit of a let-down. Rachael had all these talents, all this intelligence and wit, all this promise.
At first I imagined her brother would take her under his wing, and make use of her talents and skills in his ministry. However, the story abandoned Joshua for a large piece of time, and once it got back to him, his demise followed on quite quickly, without that opportunity. Even his own Mariam Mary Magdalene seemed a bit underused and undervalued in the story, and pretty much discarded by the finish. I know the times didn't promote women's involvement, to say the least, but this is fiction, and it had seemed to me that path could have been a powerful one.
After all, why take so much time showcasing Rachael's skills and potential and then just throw it all away? Perhaps to illustrate how often that happened? Kind of boring premise.
I ended up feeling as though the author had been torn about which path to follow, then chose the less interesting though historically accurate one which simply illustrated the downtrodden-ness of women in that time. In addition, the big lead-up, the "looming question" of the book - "What would you do if the man you loved betrayed your brother? So - I enjoyed this book, but was disappointed by the final chapters, and it's not a "keeper".