Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

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.

Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am with child… the child of Jahveh, himself. Even he of Joseph’s lifelong covenant. God the victor. God—he saw it now—the rival.

Countless people are familiar with the biblical story of Mary and Joseph. The novel Two from Galilee by author Marjorie Holmes is one story I’ve encountered that illustrates what the couple’s early experiences together might have been like.

Yes, it’s a love story, with an old-fashioned flair that’s much like dramatic poetry. There’s depth and an almost painful beauty to it, and distinct characters with backstories, personalities, and different motives that come into play. Mary and Joseph’s feelings for each other are unashamedly romantic, and yet their tale isn’t all sunbursts and butterflies. It’s set against a religious and political backdrop of uncertainty and violence. It’s a tale about how flawed human beings might react when what they “claim to believe” may no longer just be an ideal concept that’s a nice, safe distance away from reality.

It was a grave thing to become involved with God.

I’ll admit, though, that while I appreciate the novel’s poetic style, the many comma splices got to me sometimes. Also, while the story’s depth is a plus, there were moments when I became a bit bogged down with all of the contemplation and such. I would’ve been fine with the story getting some ideas across more concisely and then moving on.

Even so, this is the second (or third?) time I’ve read this novel, and I see why so many other people have enjoyed it over the years.


Can’t help it. I now picture Mary and Joseph in this book like the actors from the 2006 film The Nativity Story. I imagine that in the midst of Jesus-in-a-manger anticipation, people probably overlook the fact that the love story in this movie is pretty excellent and beautifully done. And, no, the actors don’t play it like a modern, Western romance, which is good, since the story takes place thousands of years ago, in the East. You can see my review of this film here.


The Nativity Story (2006)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films 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.

The Nativity Story (2006)
Rated PG. Drama, Historical, Faith, Christmas


My thoughts: Albeit Jesus, naturally, is a major theme in this film, the work as a whole shouldn’t be relegated down to a little Christmastime-Jesus-in-a-manger story. Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, and their supporting cast bring wonderful humanness to this picture, the three wise men adding some nice and unexpected humor.

I’ve heard other viewers say that the actors’ dialogue is “stiff” or what have you, but I’m pretty sure the filmmakers weren’t trying to portray the characters as modern and Western, speaking as modern Westerners would. The simple expression and cadence of the dialogue help to keep the story in a time, place, and culture far removed from many of us.

Also, the love story here between Mary and Joseph is well-developed. Again, it doesn’t play out like a nowadays-Western romance, but Castle-Hughes and Isaac bring it to life with a quiet kind of beauty. And the growth of their characters is clear–they’re not the same two people in the stable in Bethlehem that they were back in Nazareth.

Quite a movie.

My corresponding reading: Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes.