I’m drawn to stories about women of the Bible. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Elizabeth Cunningham’s marvelous Maeve Chronicles, a series of books about Mary Magdalene. I guess it’s because so many biblical women were nothing more than inchoate shadows of their husbands. When an author is brave enough to tackle bringing one of these overlooked women to life, I want to be first in line to read their book.
Noah’s Wife is the story of Na’amah, a woman scarcely mentioned in the Bible. The year is 5500 BCE, and the time of the Goddess is fast fading. In Thorne’s beautifully told story, Na’amah has what we now know as Asperger’s Syndrome. She’d rather spend her time tending sheep in the hills with her good friend, Yanner, who loves her, than hang around the village, practicing “womanly” arts, even after marrying Noah, the boat maker, who loves her too.
But her life and desires mean nothing to her hateful and powerful brother. Only her grandmother, Savta, is her ally. Savta helps keep the Goddess alive in Na’amah, in a village where a much angrier male God is quickly becoming the main deity, and to say otherwise could mean death.
Na’amah is kidnapped by raiders, and must flee for her life. She wanders across Turkey and finds the Goddess Cave, where she is introduced to the Great Mysteries. But Yanner and Noah never are far from her thoughts. The world is about to change, and change forever, and only Na’amah, with her special gifts, knows what tragedy is about to strike. Can she save the men she loves?
I have read this book twice, and both times I devoured its 350 pages in less than a day’s time. Thorne knows how to balance setting description with action. She writes in heartbreaking prose: readers feel Na’amah’s pain, her joy, her fear. The story is fast paced, and by the time the story reaches its climax, you will be filled with terror for these characters whom you have come to love.
Thorne well deserves the awards she has won for this book. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the Goddess, women’s thealogy, and ancient history.