18 November 2014

Review #80: The Magdalene Mystery by Christine Sunderland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means."
----Luke 8:1-3 (English Standard Version), Mary in the New Testament

Christine Sunderland, an American author has portrayed the most notorious and most debated theory about Mary Magdalene's life and truth in her new thriller, The Magdalene Mystery , which is a subtle tale about a middle-aged woman trying to live up to her late god father's last wish in order to bring the truth of Mary Magdalene's life in front of the whole world.

Ten years ago a gunman opened fire in a parking lot, killing her parents. No one ever found out why. But a trip to Rome might reveal the truth. Thirty-year-old Kelly Roberts receives a mysterious envelope from her late godfather, director of a news service dedicated to exposing media lies, summoning her to Rome for a promising legacy. After losing her job, Kelly, a single parent, fears for herself and her five-year-old son. She could sure use the money implied in her godfather's letter, but she can't afford to go to Rome, she can't leave Matt, and she can't take him with her. Even stranger, the note says to contact Daniel Weaver, a professor familiar with Rome. To receive the legacy, Kelly must first locate her godfather's hidden research on Mary Magdalene. Accompanied by thirty-five-year-old Daniel, Kelly embarks on the journey of a lifetime, finding clues in Rome basilicas, the Apostles' Creed, and her godfather's letters. But she is shadowed by another professor who preys on the young, both online and on campus. Desperate to find the manuscript that could expose him as an academic fraud, he is willing to do anything to keep that from happening...even murder. Unlock the Magdalene mystery...and the power of historical truth.

Sounds like a gripping tale, and indeed it is. But I don't know why I got a feeling like I was once again reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Since Brown has used all his hypothetical theories to craft Angels and Demons, it not only irked the readers all around the world but has also disturbed the truth behind Mary Magdalene. Hats off to Christine, for researching extensively for her plot and showing us the real truth behind Mary Magdalene's life and her connection to the Son of God. Well this story is going to take you to Rome and the author has done full justice by giving life to Rome with her choice of simple words. The author has written this story with so passion that for a moment I felt like I was lost into the story, hopping from one church to another in Rome, along with Daniel to look for the hidden clues. This was a completely roller-coaster ride filled with myriad of emotions, not to mention Kelly was a very loving mother and also had an aching and lonely heart, and thrill and fear! And with a hint of romance, the journey is really worth experiencing!

Her description about the churches in Rome is very bright, vivid and striking. I can almost see the intricate details craved on the walls of those churches. Although there were not much sightseeing in Rome apart from the churches and all the while Kelly and Daniel were rushing to get to the end of the clue to save themselves from that evil and dangerous Dr. Stanby, who will stop for a second to kill, but still I felt Rome to be very alive with the author's eyes.

The characters, from evil ones like Dr. Stanby to the good ones like a mysterious and secretive Sister to the main characters like Kelly and Daniel, all were crafted with enough passion and even flaws. But their demeanor was quite striking and completely believable. I really liked the use of eloquent prose of the author, which made the narration very smooth and easy.
And that classic climax will only make you fall in love with the author and no doubt, with Mary Magdalene also!

Verdict: You can't miss out this enchanting and thrilling story which will not only take you to Rome but will also show you the truth behind Mary Magdalene's life!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Christine Sunderland, for providing me with a copy of her book, in return for an honest review. 

Author Info:
Christine grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from San Francisco State University Cum Laude with a BA in English Literature. She attended the Squaw Valley Workshop and the Maui Writers Retreat where she studied under the acclaimed novelist Jane Hamilton.
Having spent considerable time in Italy, France, and England, she developed a keen interest in history, the ability of the individual to change events, and the power of belief. In her stories, she brings to life the effect of the past upon the present, the puzzle of perception, and the mystery of time. She is also fascinated by the miracles of life and the pleasure of the senses, from a flaming candle lighting the dark to a rose petal glistening with dew, from the cherry and berry in a fruity Chianti to the yeasty aroma of fresh baked bread.
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  1. Thanks so much, Aditi, for this lovely review! I have to admit The Magdalene Mystery was a pleasure to write as I assembled a number of scholars and authorities to validate my research. In that sense it was a "team" effort... the book had been in my mind ever since Dan Brown came out with his odd conclusions (to say the least) and I was burning to set the record straight. But it was also lovely to revisit my favorite city of Rome, not to mention Provence. Many thanks for your review!

  2. Thank you so much. I'm so glad that you liked my review. :-)


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