My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Too often, biblical historical fiction does little more than borrow some biblical characters for a story that could have happened concurrently with biblical events, and that intersects with biblical events at points. I believe writers in this genre should strive for more than that. The biblical events are recorded for a reason–to teach us something. Our stories should strive to use the emotional power of story to make those points vivid in the reader’s heart. In my judgment, Bodie Thoene accomplishes that at several points in When Jesus Wept.
The prose is excellent and the scenes imaginative. And the ongoing vine metaphor is rich with insights.
The story itself, however, moves a bit slowly for my taste. It’s a long way from being a page-turner, at least for me.