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MAGDALEN RISING: THE BEGINNING

 

ELIZABETH CUNNINGHAM
Historical Fiction
April 2007

Monkfish Book Publishing Company


ISBN #: 9780976684329

Everyone loves a grand storyteller! For some unexplainable reason, some have the gift and some don't. But one thing is always clear - lovers of story instantly recognize a true storyteller, a bard to be sure who can grip the attention and imagination of the listener and hold it far beyond the end of the tale!

Magdalen Rising is an enigma for sure! As the prequel to The Passion of Mary Magdalene, it introduces the reader to the childhood and teenage training of Maeve. Born to warrior witches of Tir na mBan and the god of the sea, Manannan Mac Lir (or so we are led to think for a very long time), Maeve grows with confidence, indeed one may even think precociousness, and grace into the mysteries of nature and the myths of her Celtic beloved people. The visions, extraordinary experiences, and spiritual rites she experiences are totally fascinating, spiked in between her racy, bold, and indomitable spirit!

Nothing prepares her for the actual meeting and interaction she will undergo with her beloved, Esus the Stranger (later known as yes, Jesus), and the opposition and attacks she will face from the authoritarian Druids.

Each story within this novel is connected and rivets the reader, uniting in a deeper understanding of Celtic culture and mythology. Yet the story actually has very little substance beyond this Celtic connection. We never get to know Esus very well and Maeve seems to be a stranger even to her own people, coming from a land whose female inhabitants are believed to be witches. The mystical quality of Druids is somewhat lost and even embattled in this account of the land where Maeve travels to be schooled.

Elizabeth Cunningham is a grand storyteller who fascinates and haunts the reader, creating a legend about Esus and Maeve that obviously carries into later Judaism and Christianity. But it does little more, leaving the reader feeling a bit cheated, especially after the stunning predecessor to this novel!

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on April 24, 2007

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