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Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Handmaid and the Carpenter

by Elizabeth Berg


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The Handmaid and the Carpenter

by Elizabeth Berg

Review posted January 30, 2009.
Random House, New York, 2006. 153 pages.

I've been reading Christmas novels, so here's a novel about the original Christmas.

There was a time when I couldn't really enjoy novelizations of Bible stories -- I would get upset over quibbles where they didn't quite line it up with the Bible text, or the characters would not act as I had imagined them to act. But perhaps I've outgrown that. I'm quite sure this is not how I would imagine Mary and Joseph, but I did enjoy these characters.

What would it have been like to give birth to the Son of God? And how would your betrothed react? Elizabeth Berg does pull us into the story, in all its wonder, yet with a nod to the reality of dirty straw and a long journey and a village reacting to the story of an angel announcement.

This isn't a dramatically in-depth novelization, but it gives you a taste of what that first Christmas might have been like. Definitely good holiday reading.