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The Centurion's Wife [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Davis Bunn , Janette Oke
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

December 2008 Thorndike Christian Fiction
Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.

Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions. Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor.

This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, The Centurion's Wife unfolds the testing of loyalties--between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From the Inside Flap

Mediterranean breezes caressed her, and Leah could not help but pause between kitchen and bath house. She lifted her face to the cry of the sea birds and the few clouds overhead. Sea waves lapped gently along the promontory's edge. Not even the first stirrings within the palace compound behind her could wipe out her sense of peace. Leah finally turned toward the elaborate courtyard with its columns and statuary, the opulent ceramic tiled baths, and the impressive marbled facade of the palace. No childhood dreams had ever included residing in the palace of the Prelate of Palestine. In different circumstances, Leah would have found it all impossibly beautiful. In different circumstances...Leah sighed and turned away. The reality was that she was here because she had no other recourse. Far to the northwest lay her home. True, it was no longer her home, but it still held her heart. There her mother faced a new dawn also, alone. Leah yearned to be with her, giving what love and comfort she was able. But trapped within this imposing palace, she was surrounded by elegance she could appreciate only from a distance. Yes, even though she had been born to wealth, to position, yet here she was little more than a slave. Bitterness filled her throat and caught her breath. She pushed the dark thoughts aside, cast one more longing look out over the wide expanse of sea, and with a determined lift of her shoulders walked on toward the bathhouse. Her first of many duties for the day would have her laying out fresh towels and robes... --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

A sweeping saga of the dramatic events
surrounding the birth of Christianity--
and the very personal story of Leah,
compelled into a betrothal she never wanted,
drawn by a faith she never expected...

When her family's wealth and power are lost forever, Leah is sent to Pontius Pilate in hopes that he might arrange a strategic marriage. But despite her betrothed's striking countenance and position, Leah deems life as a centurion's wife a fate worse than death.

Head of the garrison near Galilee, Alban has ambitions that could one day see him at the seat of power--in Rome itself. Eager to prove himself, he takes on the assignment of a lifetime, one that will put his career, his beliefs, and his very life at risk.

But when the death--and missing body--of an obscure rabbi find Leah and Alban searching for the same answers, what they discover changes everything. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!! March 13 2009
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read! Could not put it down. Every book I have read written by these 2 were great! Keep writing wonderful faith-based books, Davis Bunn and Janette Oke!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  147 reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Story Idea Dec 31 2008
By L. Curtis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm not sure what the other reviewers problem with this book is. Having said that, I haven't read anything else from these authors and am coming to this story with fresh eyes. While some of the narrative drags, I found that the story idea so compelling (a mystery where you already know the ending, but the journey is so interesting) that I kept turning the pages. I loved the idea of the authors deciding to expand on the backstory of the Roman whose servant was healed by Jesus. I thought it was a great read and look forward to seeing more in this series.
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ignore bad reviews Jan. 16 2009
By Rosalie Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After waiting forever for this book to be released, what do I see but a one star review. Having read ninty percent of Oke's books and all of Oke and Bunn's co-written books, and never being disppointed in their work, what to do? Since I'd never heard of the reviewer, and the authors have sold many million copies of their books, I bought the book. Once again I was not disappointed. This is the first in a series, and did not capture me as the "Song of Acadia" series, or the "Heirs of Acadia" series. But it was a good read full of interesting facts of early Christian era life
and customs. I'm looking forward to book two, Leah and Alban are compelling characters,their future together as followers of Jesus should be facinating. People of faith and bible students should enjoy this book.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read Jan. 10 2009
By Ella Andrews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Janette Oke & Davis Bunn have wrote yet another wonderful read! Much like the Song of Acadia series, I had trouble putting the book down. Despite several interruptions I was able to read The Centurion's Wife in two days. My only let down is waiting for book 2 to come out or for a glimpse of what is it to come. What a shame I can read faster than they can write such great books. I was enlightened by this book & long to read more. I won't give away any of the story, but rather say read it for your self. You will come away with a greater knowledge and long to learn more. I never thought of the details after the resurrection in this light and found it very helpful. You go much deeper than scripture, you see everyday life and the new struggles that arise. To think of the great faith and trust needed in that day. Today we lack the threat of death and true faith and trust in God. Why is it we don't trust any more?
To the nonbeliever this book is the stating point. To the new Christian it is enlightening. To the seasoned Christian it is thought provoking and will make you ashamed at your lack of faith and trust. Oh for more books like this...books with a real meaning and purpose. Thanks for causing me to stop and really think.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected Sept. 7 2009
By Michele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read one prior work by T. Davis Bunn and one by Janette Oke. That was many years ago and, since I didn't consider either of them particularly good writers, I have never read another book by either one. So when I bought The Centurion's Wife, I didn't have particularly high expectations -- I didn't think their joint effort would be any better than their solo books. But I gave it a try, since I am always searching for new Christian authors who really know how to write.

And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised -- the book was better than I expected it to be. The plot was predictable from the start and didn't contain any surprises, and, although other reviewers have commented on the "mystery" element of the book, I really don't know what they're talking about; I didn't find one bit of mystery in this book. But in spite of this, the fact that the writing was well done kept the book interesting and readable. The characters and the dialog were well done, the scenes and plot transitioned well, and they did a good job of depicting the time and place and weaving in historical detail.

There were, however, some aspects of the book that didn't make sense to me. The first -- which several other reviewers have also mentioned -- was the whole premise of Alban getting married. It has always been my understanding that ancient Roman soldiers weren't allowed to marry.

The second was that the characters continually drank tea. Perhaps I am wrong -- and I would like someone to comment here if I am -- but I'm quite sure that 2,000 years ago tea was unknown outside of China and the Far East. People in first century Judea would have drank water, wine, juices extracted from whatever fruits were available to them (grapes, pomegranates, etc.) and various combinations of these three. This may sound like a minor thing, but actually I found the tea issue very distracting. Every time it happened my concentration was broken because I would think to myself, "that's not right!"

My third and most serious complaint about this book, was Alban's and Jacob's attitude towards Jesus. Bunn and Oke depict Alban as the centurion mentioned in the Bible whose servant was healed by Jesus, and who Jesus commended for his great faith. And yet, through the entire book until the very end both he and Jacob are ambivalent towards Jesus. They seem to regard Jacob's healing as just some minor thing that happened, and they've almost forgotten about it. I really don't believe that's how it was; Jesus, who could see into the hearts and minds of all, wouldn't have commended the centurion for his great faith if he hadn't indeed been a man of great faith who believed in Jesus' miraculous healing power. And such a man wouldn't have brushed off this miracle as just a passing incident.

This third issue I consider a serious enough flaw that it caused me to give the book 3 stars rather than 4. However, the book still managed to pass my bookshelf test (I am keeping it on my bookshelf rather than donating it to Goodwill) and I plan to buy the next book in the series.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Centurion's Wife Review Dec 13 2010
By Shoopette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Centurion's Wife" by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke the first in the "Acts of Faith" series by these authors.

"The Centurion's Wife" is the story of Leah, a distantly Jewish servant in Pilate's household at the time of Christ's death, and Alban, a Roman Centurion. Alban and Leah end up in an arrangement to be married after Alban fulfills a duty to Pilate to find out what happened to Jesus' body after his death and resurrection. The narrative is told from Leah's point of view as well as Alban's and spans the several weeks in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after Christ's resurrection. It involves both characters' course to finding out what they believe about this man Jesus.

I have never read a historical fiction book that is based on a biblical account, so this is a first for me. And based on this book, it might be my last. Since the main character was not portrayed as I thought he should be portrayed based on the Bible, then the story was not "real" to me. Alban is supposed to be the centurion mentioned in the Bible in Matthew 8 and Luke 7. In the biblical account, Jesus heals a centurion's servant (from afar...without going to the servant), and then Jesus commends the centurion for having great faith. Because of the way this book portrays this account, I did not really enjoy the book. When this miracle happens to Alban and his servant, Alban doesn't really even know who Jesus is. He is not portrayed as having any faith in Christ or even God at all. The rest of the book is his search to find out who Jesus was, but I think anyone who Jesus commended for having such great faith would have already believed in Him. I understand that historical fiction is, in fact, fiction, but if the authors are going to base a book on history, then I think they should at least get the history right. For example, I wouldn't enjoy reading a historical fiction book based on the American Revolution and in that book read that the British won! The same thing seems to be happening in "The Centurion's Wife."

Another thing that bothered me was that everyone in the book drank tea. Tea? Did they drink tea in the Bible? I don't know. It is not mentioned in the Bible, but maybe they did. I do know that wine was mentioned in the Bible, and I thought that was what they would drink in this book. It is not a big thing...it is just something that bothered me every time I read it! I guess the authors were trying to make the book "cleaner," as in not putting alcohol in the book, but come on. It just didn't seem realistic to me.

I have to say also that I thought this book was just boring. After getting into the beginning and getting to know the characters, I was bored until over halfway through the book. Maybe it's just me, but I almost fell asleep several times while reading this book, and I rarely do that!

One thing I did like about this book was that it made me think about what it would have been like to actually know Jesus on earth. Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are minor characters in this book, and it was remarkable to ponder how it would have felt to actually see and hear Christ during his time here.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction from the time of Christ, you might enjoy this book. You can enjoy the story in this book if you like this genre. I just couldn't get into it because of the poor portrayal of the biblical account.

I am disappointed that this book is from Janette Oke. Maybe it is more "Davis Bunn" than "Janette Oke" and that is why I didn't enjoy it.

"The Centurion's Wife" by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke was sent to me as a complimentary review copy by Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group.
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