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The Book of Longings: A Novel Audiobook, by Sue Monk Kidd Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Sue Monk Kidd Narrator: Sue Monk Kidd, Mozhan Marnò Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2020 ISBN: 9780593212837
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Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by O, the Oprah Magazine, Good Morning America/ABC-TV, Good Housekeeping, and Marie Claire

An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings


In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.

Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [A] novel that imagines the life of an unforgettable woman, written with reverence to the topic it covers. This intricate story is an epic journey, which fans of The Red Tent will devour. PopSugar
  • A daring leap into historical fiction . . . Deeply researched and reverent, The Book of Longings explores the importance of women making their voices heard in a time when the powers that be strove to keep them silent. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Richly imagined . . . Ana’s ambition and strong sense of justice make her a sympathetic character for modern readers . . . In addition to providing a woman-centered version of New Testament events, Kidd’s novel is also a vibrant portrait of a woman striving to preserve and celebrate women’s stories—her own and countless others. Publishers Weekly (starred) 
  • An engrossing, briskly paced story in an appealing voice . . . the message about the importance of kindness and the power of women’s voices should resonate strongly with today’s readers. Booklist
  • “A daring leap into historical fiction…Deeply researched and reverent, The Book of Longings explores the importance of women making their voices heard in a time when the powers that be strove to keep them silent.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • The latest from Sue Monk Kidd introduces us to Ana, a courageous, intelligent woman who marries Jesus long before his public ministry begins. Based on meticulous historical research, this is a humanizing look at Jesus the man, as well as an inspiring story of a strong woman living in a society bent on her silence. Good Housekeeping
  • A testament to the author’s talent for creating both compelling characters and intriguing story lines . . . Historical details of daily life in the Roman Empire, strong female characters, and richly imagined glimpses into the philosophical communities and libraries in Egypt . . . make this an excellent book club choice . . . Don’t shy away from this historical fiction page-turner thinking that it falls into the inspirational genre. The intensity, bravery, and strength of character of Ana . . . will inspire readers but in a different way: to live authentically and remain true to oneself. Library Journal 
  • A well-researched novel about a young Jewish woman, who fights against cultural norms to realize the passion and potential inside her. Good Morning America

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About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, the memoirs Traveling with Pomegranates, which she wrote with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor; The Dance of the Dissident Daughter; and When the Heart Waits, and Firstlight, a collection of her early writings. The Secret Life of Bees has spent more than 220 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into an award-winning movie starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys. The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, was adapted into a television movie. Both of her novels have been translated into more than twenty-four languages. The recipient of numerous literary awards, Sue lives with her husband on an island off the coast of Florida.

About the Narrator

Mozhan Marnò is an Iranian American film and television actress, most notably appearing in Charlie Wilson’s War and Bones. Her audiobook narrations have won several AudioFile Earphones Awards.