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.

Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map is udpated to include The Handmaid and The Carpenter

I borrowed this audio from my local library

About Sheila (Book Journey)

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Posted on March 26, 2011, in audio review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I just finished the audio of We are All Welcome Here and posted my review here:

    I’m so impressed with Berg as a narrator. This was my first book of hers, and I think I’ll be looking for some more.

  2. This sounds like a good one for audio! 🙂

  3. I might have to give audio a try when the author is narrating…that could be intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This was an unusual story for Berg….

  4. Hmm, sounds interesting.

  5. Did she give Mary and Joseph other children? If you think it is a spoiler to answer this, please email me with the answer ruthjoec at aoldotcom

    • She did! 🙂 It is such a short audio that there is not a lot of detail about them – she focuses a lot on the the courting and pre birth of Jesus, and then skims through the close relationship Jesus and Mary have together and then to Joseph’s death. The book focuses more on the two of them.

  6. I listened to this one a few years ago and thought it was good, but not one I loved. It was entertaining for what it was, but not one I remember a lot about.

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