Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Martha

Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor

Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Biblical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 256pp
ISBN-13: 9780800734657

(Received for a honest review from Revell Books)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

Diana Wallis Taylor on the WEB: website, blog, facebook

Excerpt from Martha


Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented characters of the New Testament is Martha. Often painted in the colors of reproach, Martha seems to be the poster child for how not to be a follower of Jesus. From the mind of Diana Wallis Taylor comes this touching, well-researched portrayal of Martha of Bethany, sister of Mary and Lazarus. Through Taylor's lush descriptions and inspired combination of imagined and recorded dialogue, Martha's world—her trials, triumphs, and loves—vibrantly comes to life. Follow Martha as she is jilted by her betrothed, falls in love with a Roman soldier, grieves the death of her father, cares for her siblings, and serves her Lord with dignity and grace. Readers will never read the biblical story of Martha the same way again.


Author Diana Wallis Taylor takes a little known woman from the New Testament and tells her story in a new and refreshing way. In her latest book, Martha, Diana Wallis Taylor weaves Biblical accounts with fiction to create the life of this caring woman. Readers will love Wallis Taylor's power of description and her ability to take a character that is mentioned in less than a few sentences and give her a life, with the loves and trials any woman of the time might have faced. This is a stirring account of Martha of Bethany's life, that will leave readers with a much deeper appreciation for a woman who didn't feel like she had time to sit at the feet of Jesus.

Martha has carried great responsibilities most of her young life. With her mother dead, it is up to Martha to care for her father and brother Lazarus as well as running the household and keeping up with her little sister Mary. Martha has become adept at making things run smoothly, seeing to everyone's needs, making sure Mary does what is expected of her, but will she ever find time for herself? Martha dreams of a life and home of her own with a husband and children she can love and nurture, but that doesn't seem to be in her future. There is always something else that needs done, some task to attend to, no time for her to enjoy herself or to experience the freedom of young adulthood. Will she ever find time to find love?

Martha has always been a very interesting character to me. Since childhood I have always heard the story of Jesus going to visit the home of Lazarus of Bethany and how Mary sat and washed his feet with her hair. Mary seemed to be the main character of that particular story, but you also have Martha who was so busy doing everything that had to be done, she didn't take the time to sit down when Jesus was there. She's usually depicted as someone who didn't have time for Jesus and in a negative way. I always thought that was a misconception, even as a child. I always wondered what Martha was up to, what made her the way she was, was there more to the story. Though we probably won't ever know the actual details Diana Wallis Taylor's book Martha gives readers a wonderful idea of who Martha could have been.

It is obvious that the author did a remarkable amount of research on this novel. Her descriptions of life during the time when Jesus walked the Earth are fantastic. She describes the area, the dress of the people, the attitudes that pervaded Bethany at that time. She even goes into detail on the daily life that Martha probably experienced and how being a friend of Jesus affected her family. Jesus was not always the most popular person to be friends with during this time and I thought the author conveyed that to the readers as well. Martha becomes a real person in this book, readers become attached to her and want her to find love and even sympathize with her when she is rebuked for not sitting at the feet of Jesus. Diana Wallis Taylor takes a person from the Bible who readers know practically nothing about and she brings her to life with ease and purpose. I think it was the author's intention to show her in a different light and she pulls it off in a great way.

Readers who have been reading Christian fiction for awhile will find this new spin off called Biblical fiction interesting and something that changes the idea of what inspirational writing is all about. Biblical fiction basically takes people from the Bible or stories from the Bible and expands and develops them with fiction. They give the reader an idea of who these people really were, how they lived, what they faced in their everyday life. There are many different authors who are beginning to write Biblical fiction and to see the benefits of telling these stories, though they may not be an exact portrayal of Biblical events, they do have their place and I look forward to reading more of this kind of Christian writing. Diana Wallis Taylor is sure to be a front runner in this sub-genre. Martha is beautifully written, very descriptive and very poignant. I think readers will appreciate a different view of this often misunderstood woman. I recommend it to anyone who love Christian fiction and to those who wish there was more to the story...

Martha is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Diana Wallis Taylor is an inspirational speaker, an award winning writer, and the author of the novel, Journey to the Well. She lives in California.