Magia has fashioned an involving novel fictionalizing the early life of Simon Peter and the woman he marries. She has chosen to write her tale as a first-person narrative from the wife. In so doing, the book takes on an intrinsically intimate and personal tone. You feel as if the narrator has chosen to share her account with you alone. It is a choice that brings both historical characters and their fictional counterparts vividly to life.
The tale begins in Capernaum where a young Jewish girl is soon to become the wife of a prosperous Egyptian fish merchant. The match has been arranged by her father, but it has not been agreed to by her. She loves Simon, an apprentice fisherman who works for their family. For accepting Simon’s offer of wedlock, the girl is disowned. Thus begins the couple’s life together.
The story then details their attempt to make a life beside the Sea of Galilee in a time when Roman taxes kept most hardworking families firmly in the grip of poverty. As they struggle to survive and grow, their love intensifies. It even overcomes the death of their son in childbirth. But can it overcome the intrusion into their life of a mystifyingly unique individual—Jesus of Nazareth?
Magia’s prose is languid and easily readable. She writes with skill and confidence about the ancient traditions, existing mores, and formidable tribulations that were part and parcel of biblical times. Most of all though, she writes captivatingly and intensely about the endurance of love—a subject she promises to explore further in an upcoming sequel.