As some of you may know, I have quite a fascination with Mary Magdalene, and for reasons far too complex to explain here. Because of this, I am always on the look out for books, fact or fiction, about this wonderfully interesting and powerful woman. On one of my routine internet surfing sessions, I came across quite a bit of controversy surrounding the author Kathleen McGowan and her claim that she is a descendant of the Magdalene. The detective in me was determined to find out more. After looking at her website I was even more intrigued, so I searched for a second hand copy (yay, for ebay!) of her first book, The Expected One.
This is a fiction novel full of fact, and closely echoes the likes of The Da Vinci Code and other similar books. I really enjoyed it. Mostly because it kept me on the edge of my mattress (I read in bed...), but also because it was a history lesson and covered aspects of the Magdalene that I had yet to discover.
Maureen Pascal is a journalist who is on the verge of beginning a new book. Unbeknownst to her, she is about to embark on a journey that could change the course of history and most definitely the rest of her life. When she starts to make sense of the visions she is having of a weeping red headed woman, she begins to unravel secrets that were hidden from the world two thousand years ago - the hidden gospels of Mary Magdalene. She becomes incredibly immersed in the secret cultures and dynastic families of the Southwest of France - the Cathars, the Medici and the Borgia - and begins to link their stories with those of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and ultimately herself.
The story exposes the reader to the fictional character of the slightly neurotic Maureen (loosely based on the author's own persona), but also takes us back two thousand years and attempts to place us in the mind of Mary Magdalene. In Mary's shoes we experience the crucifixion of her beloved, his resurrection and her alleged escape to France. Both the modern and historical stories were well written, and in a style that was convincing for both characters. In between these two fascinating characters, is the somewhat controversial story of Mary Magdalene, her Easa (Jesus Christ) and what became of her after his demise.
Whether one believes or not, this book is definitely a good read. It will satisfy history buffs, crime fans and romance lovers, and at the same time allow the reader that wonderful escape we all crave.