The Handmaid and The Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg
Young Mary (thirteen) is very excited when she seems to have caught the eye of seventeen year old Joseph. While Joseph is exasperated with Mary’s strong will, he also finds her endearing, irresistible and sure that she will be his wife. As his intentions are made public, both family’s are thrilled for the young couple, except perhaps a jealous female relative who wishes that Joseph would have set his heart and his eyes on her instead.
As the couple plans a wedding, the unthinkable happens. Mary is approached by an angel who tells her that she will become pregnant and give birth to the son of God. When news of this gets to Joseph he is disbelieving, sure that Mary has found her ways into the arms of another man… as Mary struggles alone through the early stages of her pregnancy, Joseph continues to wrestle with the notion of trying to wed someone who may or may not be telling the truth…. until finally he too is spoken to by an angel who tells him that he is to wed Mary.
When Herod makes his decree that everyone return to their hometown to register for the census, Joseph takes a very pregnant Mary and makes the long journey to Bethlehem…. where history is in the making…
As I continue my way through the works of Elizabeth Berg, this book (audio) was probably the one that I was least excited about. I honestly did not know how I would feel about a fictional take on the story of Mary and Joseph, let alone their courtship. I do not even think I had ever given much thought as to what Mary and Joseph’s courtship must have been like…
In the end, I found this short audio to be tastefully done. As Elizabeth Berg fills in gaps with fictional filler, I felt it gave me food for thought on this subject. Not only had I never really thought about the early pre-Jesus days of Mary and Joseph, I had really never thought much about the doubts that could have crept into Joseph’s thoughts through the years as to is Jesus truly was conceived of the Holy Spirit. It was interesting to think that Mary had the stronger faith – obviously she knew how the baby was conceived, as compared to Joseph…. a true testimony of faith.
While not really an in-depth read, it was interesting and basically covers the time of the courtship to Josephs death.
Elizabeth Berg ends this short audio with a message to her listeners saying that she realizes that she took liberty with this story but has done no more than many others have through the centuries. She also takes liberty with a few dates and explains in the end her reasoning for doing so.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map is udpated to include The Handmaid and The Carpenter
I borrowed this audio from my local library