Title: Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Published: June 15, 2013
Claudia’s life didn’t start easily. She’s the illegitimate daughter of Julia, reviled and exiled daughter of Caesar Augustus, and she spends her childhood in a guarded villa with her mother and grandmother. When Tiberius, Julia’s ex-husband who hates her, takes the throne, Claudia is ripped away from her family to be brought up in the palace in Rome. Her life is spent feeling adrift – until she meets Lucius Pontius Pilate and becomes his wife.
Claudia’s life finally has meaning. She finally has her anchor she needs, but everything he’s ever known and wants is tested when Pilate is appointed Prefect of the troublesome territory of Judea. She does what she’s always done and tries to make the best of it, but unrest is brewing on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. Riots begin and the stubborn people refuse to give in, threatening Pilate’s job before it’s even begun.
Claudia soon finds herself embroiled in controversy and rebellion. Little does she know the impact her husband will have on the world as we know it and what his part in it means for our salvation. Claudia becomes interested in this man who brings peace, love, and healing to anyone who comes near and she can’t help but see what’s different between him and the prophets for her gods.
Will Claudia find peace and healing in the mysterious Jewish Rabbi everyone seems to be talking about or will she forever think him a false prophet? Will Claudia become a Christian because of her husband or will bitterness be too deeply rooted? Will her husband understand her fascination with Jesus or will he think that she’s fallen off the wagon?
Having read Diana Wallis Taylor’s last book about Mary Magdalene, I was excited to get the opportunity to read another book by her, particularly since it is about the wife of Pontius Pilate. However this book was a bit of a disappointment for me because of the creative liberties she had to take in order to make a story out of a woman who was mentioned once, possibly twice, in the Bible. I also think that some of the liberties she took were a bit unrealistic an unlikely, which made this story that much harder to read.
The best part of this book was the tiny bit about Judea and Jesus. The descriptions the author uses to describe Judea really allows you a vivid picture of what it looked like back then and how gorgeous it was. I also really liked the ability to have a different look a Jesus and his miracles. The outside looking in view was unique and something that I actually really enjoyed.
Because Claudia is only really mentioned on in Scripture, the author had very little to work with as far as biblical and even historical accounts, thus forcing her make most of it up. The author is banking on the fact that the Claudia mentioned in 2 Timothy is the same Claudia as Pontius Pilate’s wife. Personally I have my doubts that Claudia was saved by the acts of Jesus, but I hope that she was and would love for that to be true.
I also think the story kind of lost its focus closer to the end. It started out strong but after the death of Jesus the story slowly starts to go downhill. Then, when the story has only a few chapters left, it spirals out of control like a airplane plummeting to earth. It went from plausible to unbelievable and from has focus to “I have no idea where this story is going”. Even though I appreciate the author’s attempt to lighten up the story, I wish she would’ve left it a dismal ending like I assumed it would have. I think that some of you will love this book and I appreciated the new perspective it gave me, but this book just wasn’t for me and was only a disappointment.
I loved this author’s story about Mary Magdalene and wanted to like this story about Claudia, but I felt that this story was abut of a stretch. However it was inspirational and showed a different side to Jesus’ ministry than I’m used to seeing. I still plan on reading more from this author, but I hope next time she picks a little less controversial and iffy topic.
Overall, not my style and I find most of it hard to believe but some of you will probably like it. I think people who like books loosely based off people will like this one. I think this book is best left to adults because of so adult content, for Christian fiction, and because this book needs some good biblical discernment. Overall, I give this book a two and a half out of five.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*