5 Minutes for Books — The Centurion’s Wife

Today one of the members of the 5 Minutes for Books’ team of reviewers will be offering up our weekly book review here at 5 Minutes for Mom. Lauren is a wife, a mother of two, and an avid reader. She blogs at Baseballs and Bows.

On Thursday, we start a new year. To me, it seems that each year passes faster and faster. I am no longer a child who feels like time stands still. Instead, I just want to shout, “Slow down!” I know that our world has many problems, but I am thankful to be alive at this time, and I look forward to the coming year. I hope you do too.

PhotobucketAlthough I am glad to live here and now, I enjoy reading historical fiction. I am always up for a good story, no matter the setting; but I do appreciate learning how others lived in the past. In their latest novel, The Centurion’s Wife, Davis Bunn and Janette Oke explore the days following the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through the lives of Leah, a servant in Pilate’s household, and Alban, a Roman centurion.

I enjoyed this book. I am familiar with the Biblical account of these events, and it was fascinating to consider the thoughts and actions of the Jewish leaders, the Roman officials, and the followers of Christ through the eyes of these fictional characters. I appreciate fictional accounts of Biblical events because I find myself wanting to reread the stories in my Bible, and novels of this type help me to gain a better understanding of the everyday lives of the Biblical characters I have read about so many times. Of course, I do encourage you to read the accounts in your Bible. Even the most well-written narrative is not the equivalent of God’s word (and I am sure the authors would ask you to do the same).

The Centurion’s Wife is the first book in the Acts of Faith series. While reading it, I couldn’t help but think of Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion
series, which is also set in the first century during the early years of Christianity. In my opinion, the characters in the Mark of the Lion
stories are more compelling (so far), but both series are historically fascinating. If you enjoyed the Mark of the Lion series, I recommend The Centurion’s Wife to you. I look forward to following Leah and Alban in future books. While Davis Bunn is new to me, I have enjoyed Janette Oke’s books in the past, and I am excited to see how the story unfolds as Mrs. Oke explores a Biblical setting for the first time.

If you would like to win a copy of this book (U.S. or Canadian shipping addresses) from Bethany House, please leave a comment. We’ll post the winner in next week’s column.

Due to legal restrictions, this promotion is not available in Arizona or Quebec. Please see our site’s Terms and Conditions of Use for a complete list of our Contest and Giveaway Rules.


  1. Angela C. says

    I would love to win. I loved the Mark of the Lion series and would like to read this version.

    accoupons at gmail dot com

  2. Sherry B. says

    I would love to read this! I am one of those “history buffs” who always wonders how the people surrounding a main character might have been affected by the actions of the person that we are learning about. This is right up my alley!

  3. Janette says

    I love Janette Oke’s work. She’s also the only other person I’ve heard of who has the same name as I do!

  4. Jodi says

    Hi Jennifer,
    I write a blog entitled An American Mom in Tuscany: Jordan’s Cochlear Implant Story http://rallycapsdotnet.blogspot.com. I am also the co-author of the book RALLY CAPS which features a character with a cochlear implant just like my son Jordan. I would appreciate it if you could add this book to your list of books to review and if you would like me to send you a copy, email me at jodi@rallycaps.net
    You can read more about the book at http://www.rallycaps.net
    Thank you,

  5. says

    I have been really wanting to read this, and the Mark of the Lion series is my very favorite! Thanks for the giveaway, I would LOVE to win! :-)

  6. Pat says

    Thank ou for introducing me to this series. Seems to me it leads to more charitable and loving lives.

    Thanks for the contest and best wishes for a prosperous 2009.

  7. Aisling says

    I enjoy reading fictionalized accounts of actual events also. It’s so interesting to see how a writer can flesh out details of long ago lives. Norah Lofts and Jean Plaidy were excellent practioners of that sort of writing and I miss them. This sounds like a good book and I’d love to win a copy.

  8. says

    LOVE IT……WOW, cannot wait to READ this one!!! I love historical fiction with a smidge of romance! Yeehaw!!! 😀 thanks girls!

  9. says

    Janette Oke is one of my favorite authors! Please enter me in this drawing. I don’t see most of the new releases here on base since we don’t have a regular book store and the book area in the PX/BXs is fairly limited in space. I hadn’t heard about this until you posted this review – it sounds amazing!!!!

  10. maryzell roberts says

    I study God’s word to us every day. I’d love to read this book. Maybe this centurion corresponds to Cornelius. I’s sure like to see.

  11. maryzell roberts says

    I study God’s word to us every day. I’d love to read this book. Maybe this centurion corresponds to Cornelius. I’d sure like to see.

  12. FPresley says

    Intriguing title…I love historical romance and there are few good ones written about this time period.

  13. says

    I heart Janette Oke! My BFF turned me on to her good stuff several years back. I just love her!
    So this is exciting to have a chance to win!

  14. sito says

    I’ve heard about this book and the reviews I’ve read have been good. I’d love to own a copy. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Melanie says

    Ever since reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Firebrand” I’ve fallen for historical fiction – having a story and characters makes getting a grasp of the time period so much easier and more interesting! This story sounds intriguing…and they don’t have this title at our library. : )

  16. says

    I would love to win this. One of my all-time favorite books is “The Red Tent,” another Biblically based novel. This book sounds excellent, too.

  17. Sally says

    I love Francine Rivers & have read most of Janette Oke’s books – how awesome there’s a series that’s a bit of both worlds! Yeah!

  18. MaryAnn says

    I love historical fiction–especially Biblica fiction– and I LOVED the Mark of the Lion series. I can’t wait to read this.

  19. gracieo says

    Sounds like a wonderful book. A lazy weekend with a good book is what I call relaxing. Crossing my fingers.

  20. Heather S says

    Sounds good. I really enoyed Francine Rivers series, so if this is half as good, I’m sure I’d like it too! Thanks for entering me.

    Lalycairn (at) gmail.com

  21. Rachael says

    I want to win! I like historical fiction and it sounds like it could be an interesting book.

  22. says

    Historical novels are definitely my favorites,
    those touching on Biblical Times in particular.
    Would love to have THE CENTURION’WIFE in my library.

  23. salina munson says

    i am an avid reader and am always looking for my next book. thanks for tjhe chance to win!

  24. Geri Nyland says

    I have just gotten into reading again since my son is a little older now and he lets me…lol… This looks like a great book!

  25. Candie L says

    I think it sounds very interesting and would definately give me a new persepective. Thanks