I have long been a fan of Diana Wallis Taylor’s work. I reviewed her wonderful novel “Martha” in 2011 and when I was offered an opportunity to read her newest novel “Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate” I couldn’t say no. Taylor has a gift for historical detail. There are not many inspirational romance novels written about the time of the Roman Empire, and even fewer that include Jesus and his preaching in the plot line. How fascinating to be reading a history of Claudia, the wife of Pontius Pilate who is mentioned in one paragraph of the Bible. She had a great impact on her husband and as you find out in the book, the decision he makes about Jesus, affects him the rest of his life.
Claudia’s life did not start easily. The illegitimate daughter of Julia, reviled and exiled daughter of Caesar Augustus, Claudia spends her childhood in a guarded villa with her mother and grandmother. When Tiberius, who hates Julia, takes the throne, Claudia is wrenched away from her mother to be brought up in the palace in Rome. The young woman is adrift–until she meets Lucius Pontius Pilate and becomes his wife. When Pilate is appointed Prefect of the troublesome territory of Judea, Claudia does what she has always done: she makes the best of it. But unrest is brewing on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, and Claudia will soon find herself and her beloved husband embroiled in controversy and rebellion. Might she find peace and rest in the teaching of the mysterious Jewish Rabbi everyone seems to be talking about?
Readers will be whisked through marbled palaces, dusty marketplaces, and idyllic Italian villas as they follow the unlikely path of a woman who warrants only a passing mention in one of the Gospel accounts. Diana Wallis Taylor combines her impeccable research with her flair for drama and romance to craft a tale worthy of legend.
Now mind you this is a historical fiction novel and Taylor makes assumptions based on history in regards to Claudia’s story and how it continues after Jesus’s death. I could not put this one down. Truly, I wanted to know if she would be found out as a Christian. Would she be a martyr for the faith? Would she leave Pilate or he leave her due to their different beliefs? What would happen when Rome’s hierarchy was in turmoil? So many questions and so much rich storytelling to read. I stayed up until the early morning hours with this one. I think you will enjoy it as well.
I give this book:
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