Priscilla and Aquila by Lois T. Henderson and Harold Ivan Smith


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

7632846Priscilla and Aquila by Lois T. Henderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Priscilla and Aquila will experience love and untold challenges in marriage, and not only for matrimonial reasons. They’ll join others in the forging of a new way of faith in a Roman world in Priscilla and Aquila, a novel by Lois T. Henderson and Harold Ivan Smith.

I’ve enjoyed other novels by the late Henderson about biblical figures, namely, Miriam, Ruth, and Abigail–whose stories are rather popular material for fictional retellings. I think it’s safe to say that novels about Priscilla and Aquila are on the much rarer side, which may be what I appreciate most about this novel.

I also like how the man/woman and husband/wife relationships are not “copy and pasted” here: copied from the twentieth century the book was written in and pasted into 48-54 A.D. The characters don’t just automatically “get” how to handle the gradual shifts in gender roles in the early Church, but both the men and the women have to grapple with new ideas.

The book became a bit dull to me at some points after Priscilla and Aquila’s exit from Rome. It’s as if the plot isn’t quite sure what to do with itself at times. Upon the arrival of the apostle Paul and the telling of his story, Priscilla and Aquila (especially Aquila) seem to fade somewhat into the background. Aquila becomes a more minor figure toward the end, cutting his character development short. Paul essentially takes over the story’s leading role opposite Priscilla.

This was Henderson’s final novel. It’s apparent that she passed before it was published, and maybe before she’d finished writing it, since this particular novel of hers has a co-author. This could be one explanation for the disjointed feel of the plot toward the end. The rather last-minute characters like Faltius and Demetrius didn’t interest or evoke much feeling in me, as they show up when the novel is ready to wrap up.

Yet, all in all, it was an enjoyable read for me, one that other Biblical Fiction readers may think worthy of seeking out.


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