The Birthright of Mary Magdalene

Young Adult - Coming of Age
118 Pages
Reviewed on 01/02/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

The uncompromising religion of childhood led Joan to discover the Sacred Feminine. A restless heart continues to seek balance in life's divine mystery. With husband, dog and honeybees, she lives in Michigan's north woods - an artist*, grandmother and yoga teacher. Her first book, "This Garden Grows a Goddess" was published in 2005 by Ice Cube Press and is available on Amazon.


    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In a unique and inspiring story that takes readers to the childhood of the famed Mary Magdalene, The Birthright of Mary Magdalene by author Joan Riise is definitely a book that will keep you reading from the very first page. At seven years old, Mary is just beginning to blossom. With her grandmother, Sakinah, and mother, Hannah, Mary is in training to be a midwife, the work of the women in her family. Her mother and grandmother are assisting Mary of Nazareth at the time when her child's birth draws near, and Mary Magdalene will serve as an apprentice at the child's birth. Certainly a telling of the Mary Magdalene story that is different from any that readers will have encountered before, this story of Mary Magdalene's early life will keep readers engaged and reading obsessively until the very end.

I very much enjoyed The Birthright of Mary Magdalene. Author Joan Riise has done a great job in drawing her young protagonist in a realistic and relatable fashion. Her ability to create settings is simply second to none. Readers will feel as if they can slip through the pages to the time of Jesus' birth. Any reader, young adult or no, who has any interest in the history of this time period, Mary Magdalene, or in a strong story of the sacred feminine, should absolutely read The Birthright of Mary Magdalene. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to reading more from the highly promising author, Joan Riise, in the very near future.

Tracy Slowiak

Wow! Just wow! How's that for a review? Well, that's definitely what I thought when I finished reading the very creative and lovely new book by author Joan Riise, The Birthright of Mary Magdalene. Marketed for young adults, but really appropriate for any reader with an interest in stories related to the enigmatic Mary, the story follows the titular character during her childhood, from the time that she turns seven years old, to be exact. Mary is trained by her mother, Hannah, and grandmother, Sakinah, to follow in their footsteps as a midwife, and is set to assist in her first childbirth, that of the child of Mary of Nazareth.

I loved The Birthright of Mary Magdalene. Loved. It. The creativity of this storyline was absolutely amazing, and author Joan Riise's ability to create a very realistic character in the child of Mary Magdalene, as well as her guiding principles, Hannah and Sakinah, was astounding. I could not put this book down once I started. I found myself obsessively reading from the very first page until the last. Readers will feel as if they are directly in the story with young Mary, the scenes are that well drawn. I highly recommend this book to any readers who enjoy a wonderful work of historical and religious fiction, not just young adults, although it would be highly recommended for that age group as well. I will keep my eye out for any future works from the extremely talented author Joan Riise, and I hope that she is already working on a follow up book to The Birthright of Mary Magdalene even now!

Carol Coetzee

In The Birthright of Mary Magdalene, Joan Riise introduces us to a young Mary Magdalene. Mary is seven years old at the time of this story, and is filled with love, joy and incredible intelligence. She travels with her mother, Hannah, and grandmother, Sakinah, on a journey to Bethlehem. They travel with a heavily pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph, preparing for the birth of her son, Jesus. Hannah and Sakinah are to be midwives to Mary. An interesting story surrounds this journey. Young Mary is a delightful, cheerful and loving child, who is deeply loved by all, and learns the fascinating history of her family as the journey progresses. The family history, told by Sakinah, will keep you well entertained throughout the reading, and certainly make you wonder long after you have finished.

The Birthright of Mary Magdalene by Joan Riise takes an interesting and somewhat controversial look at the life of Mary Magdalene. There are many myths and stories surrounding her life, and here we take a look at her childhood and her family history. Mary is a charming and delightful child, intelligent and insightful. It makes one wonder what happened to her that she became the reviled harlot in the Biblical story. Joan Riise has researched the subject, using myths, legends and Biblical references, along with imagination, to produce The Birthright of Mary Magdalene. What one gets to understand from this is how little we actually know about her and it makes for fascinating reading!

Indie Book Reviews

Mary Magdalene is a controversial figure in Christianity. I've read several versions of her life and legacy but this unique spin by author Joan Riise is brilliant. What a wonderful story! Joan's writing is descriptive, emotional, engaging and atmospheric. An impressive read, one I recommend for almost everyone.

Indie Book Reviews

The Birthright of Mary Magdalene is an addicting piece of historical fiction. I appreciated that the author took risks presenting Mary Magdalene with a new slant. Excellent editing and despite the shorter length it provided an emotional punch and payoff at the end. I'll never look at bees the same way again! A must-read for fans of historical fiction. (4 stars)

Dawn Silver

From start to finish I was captivated by the spirited seven year old Mary. Her journey through seven generations of ancient mother healing wisdom leads her to a future of penetrating accord with her twin flame; a future that will demand her willing sacrifice to preserve the sacred truth at all costs.