This is an exceptionally interesting Biblical novel though some of the assumptions are controversial. The author displays unusual imaginative skill, psychological perceptiveness and accurate knowledge of the region and customs into which her characters fit. Building on the scanty details given in the New Testament about Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, the author creates in the case of Martha a character whose self-righteousness and legalistic zeal bring frustration to herself and degradation to her sister, whom the author identifies with Mary Magdalen. Mary is healed and Martha converted to love when they come to know and minister to Jesus of Nazareth. There is something a bit ingenuous about the way in which the author develops the character of Martha on the basis of knowing simply that ""she was anxious about many things"" and tries to account for Mary's harlotry in modern psychological terms based on interpersonal relations.