The Centurion's Wife (Acts of Faith, Book 1)

by Janette Oke

Other authorsDavis T. Bunn (Contributor)
Paperback, 2009



Call number



Bethany House Publishers (2009), Edition: Presumed to be 1st as edition is unstated, 384 pages


Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage, is secretly commissioned to discover the truth behind the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine while also being engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions as leader of the Roman garrison near Galilee.

User reviews

LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
The title of this book is a bit misleading since the main character, Leah, doesn't become the centurion's wife until the very end of the book. The vast majority of the book concerns Leah's searching out information for her mistress, Pontius Pilate's wife. She wants to know about the followers of "the prophet", or Christ, and whether or not they plan to overthrow her husband. At the same time, in a separate search, Alban, the centurion, is finding out information for Pilate himself. I had a difficult time getting into this book. I never really warmed up to the characters; they seemed remote and wooden to me throughout the book. in fact, I found that I actually really didn't care what happened to them. I did enjoy the history, however, and I did get a feel for what Jerusalem may have been like during the weeks following the crucifixion of Christ. The authors have done a good job of making the setting realistic. The message, of course, of Christ's salvation, is a good one and an important one, and if someone gets inspired by this book, more power to them.… (more)
LibraryThing member maryanntherese
The Centurion's Wife is the first installment in a promising new series entitled Acts of Faith. Set in Ceasarea and Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion of Christ, the story is told from two perspectives. First is Leah, a poor relation of Pontius Pilate whose circumstances force her to become a servant in his household. Then there is Alban, a Gallic Roman centurion who has offered for Leah's hand in the hopes of advancing his own career.

The events surrounding the trial, death and subsequent disappearance of the body of Jesus have everyone unsettled. Pilate and Herod are concerned about a possible Jewish revolt in the province. Pilate's wife is suffering from unspeakable headaches and nightmares.

Pilate allows Alban to become betrothed to Leah, who is legally a Jewess by her mother's mother, in a traditional Jewish ceremony. To claim his bride, Alban must find the body of Jesus, and determine if a revolt is imminent.

Leah, who wants no part of marriage, is tasked by Pilate's wife to find out all she can about the followers of Jesus.

The characters are interesting and sympathetic. The title of the book, and the fact that it is proclaimed a "first-in-series," give away the ending. But how they manage to get there, and what happens Leah and Alban along the way, is an interesting tale.

Most interesting for me was the reaction of people to the Resurrection right when it happened, as portrayed in the book. It led me to ask myself what I might have thought, might have done. I was a little uncomfortable with development of personalities for Biblical characters such as Pilate and his wife, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus and his sisters. But, how else to tell a story?

The ending of the book was left a definite cliff-hanger, with Alban's fate as a centurion in the balance still. I think they overplayed their lead-in to a sequel just a bit. I would have liked a major issue such as that settled in the same volume.

Overall this was an enjoyable, thought-provoking tale of Judea at the time of it's biggest crisis.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
This story encompasses the people and events in Jerusalem during the weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. It focuses on a woman, Leah, who is a servant to Pontius Pilate's wife and one of his centurions, Alban. These two are commissioned to find out what happened to Jesus' body and whether or not his followers are planning a rebellion.
The details of Jerusalem and those who dwelt there at this time in history, make it very interesting. I found myself a bit impatient with Leah and the "patness" of the story, but it was satisfactory reading for what it was. Alban was too good to be true, but sometimes that's nice in a hero. I don't think an unbeliever would think this story believable, but for me, a believer, it was.
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LibraryThing member MichelleSutton
The thing that thrilled me about this story was how the reader also needed to examine what to do with the man, Jesus. If He had indeed risen from the dead, what did that mean for them? I loved the setting and the way the authors led the reader on a spiritual journey as well. I was deeply moved as the story concluded. This is the kind of story that leaves an impact on your heart and makes you think more about your faith.… (more)
LibraryThing member libraryclerk
Takes place after the death of Jesus. Pilate and Herod wants to know what happened to the body of this prophet and if there will be a revolt by his followers. Pilate sends Alban, the centurion, to get the information. Pilate's wife, Procula, who has nightmares about his Jesus, sends out her servant, Leah, who is also Pilate's niece. Alban and Leah do not know that they are looking for the same thing. Incorporates several Biblical stories to connect the characters. It mixes people of different cultures and has become a good start for the series Acts of Faith.… (more)
LibraryThing member ruinedbyreading
The book was okay. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either. I thought it was pretty interesting in the beginning, but as I got farther into the story, it began to drag along. It's told from the perspective of the niece of Pilate, and the servant of his wife, Leah, and her betrothed - a Gaul/Roman soldier, Alban. I liked Alban well enough, but Leah was a little irritating. In general, the characters were kind of lifeless and any attempt at creating emotion or a believable character fell flat.

The plot is obviously very predictable since there's not much you can do with a book based on a Biblical story. It's not too difficult to get through, but it's not really a page turner either. The authors tried to create a secondary story-line so they could use a little creativity but it just wasn't very intriguing: Leah is worried that Alban will hurt her because she's had such a miserable past and he wins her over with his kindness. It's been done before and there wasn't any depth to it.

I also felt that the authors didn't do too much research. The authors didn't make any big mistakes in the cultural or historical details, but they didn't really put much in there to begin with. When I read a historical fiction book, I like to learn things about that time period or event and this wasn't the case with The Centurion's Wife.

As for the style of writing, I felt like it was very choppy in some place and didn't flow very well. It was nothing special. But on the plus side, I couldn't tell where Bunn left off and Oke took up the story - it all sounded like the same author, for the most part, which is pretty difficult to do.

Perhaps if I was a Christian, I might find more meaning the story and would be able to overlook the rather bland plot and characterization and enjoy it. If you're a religious Christian, you might want to give it a try. If you're not, you'll probably want to skip this one.
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LibraryThing member bburke79
I bought this book on my anniversary (my hubby really loves me as he is not a reader and went to the bookstore with me and hung out for a couple of hours after dinner) I thought I was buying one recommended by a friend- she couldn't remember the name, but sort of the story line. Well the time- around the crucifixtion of Jesus was correct, but the main characters were not. I did immensely enjoy this book. It was wonderful to read a book set in that time period. I have not found much fiction of that time period that wasn't focused on the battles and such. This book focused on the people and their feelings- the way Pilates wife felt, the way the servants, disciples and followers felt. I really loved reading this book. It was very different but I loved it.… (more)
LibraryThing member nolak
The Centurion who sent for Jesus to heal his servant in the New Testament is one of the main characters of this novel, whose name is Alban, a Gaul. He is engaged to Pilate's niece, who is a servant to Procula, the wife of Pontius Pilate. The story reveals that Leah's father was disgraced due to heavy financial loss, thus her current status, and also that her grandmother was Jewish. As the story goes forward, Alban's character shows him not only to be heroic, but wise. Leah fights the match, but eventually is betrothed to Alban and comes to slowly love him and they both become converted and truly married. The politics of the time after the death and resurrection of Jesus are clearly shown as each party investigates the death of Jesus and comes to a knowledge of the truth. An outstanding effort to bring the times to life and create interest on the part of the author.… (more)
LibraryThing member brendaholmes
A story of political crisis, personal inspiration and change, along with a little detective work, all wrapped up in one! The story takes place in the weeks immediately following the cricifixion of Christ and the upheaval that followed. The period is one in which there is not a lot written or known, but weaves a story that fits into, and realistically shows the many different angles of a story that is usually told from only one perspective.

A good and easy read, that will make you look at not only the crucifixion, but the entire time period in a completely different aspect!
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LibraryThing member pandorabox82
I've been reading Janette Oke since I was a kid and was really excited to receive this book from the Early Reviewer giveaway. I love this time period, and felt like this book should have been a lot better than it ended up being.

I loved Alban His characterization seemed spot on with what I have learned in my history classes. I felt much more connected to him than I did Leah.

Leah's characterization made me hate her throughout the book. She did not ring true to a proper Roman lady, no matter what her circumstances. A high born Roman lady, especially in this time, would have known her place and not complained so bitterly about an arranged marriage. There were rarely any love matches made, as marriage was seen as a way to build alliances between the power players of the time. Her constant harping on her sister's (and her) situation made me question just how much time Oke spent researching her background materials when she set about writing her portions of the novel.

Overall, this lack of forethought in regards to Leah made me want the book to be over much more quickly than it was. What was a good premise was ruined by the obvious lack of historical research.
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LibraryThing member Lynngood
Presents a sweeping first-century Biblical saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity. This title tells how an unlikely romance buds in the midst of political chaos.
LibraryThing member SABC
A sweeping saga of the events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the story of leah, trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.
LibraryThing member halo776
Since Leah's father lost his fortune in disgrace, her family has faced hard times. He forced her two older sisters into loveless marriages, and now Leah is a servant for Pilate's wife. As far as she's concerned, they get drastically worse when she learns Pilate has promised her in marriage to Alban, a centurion from Gaul. Leah has seen enough disappointment to expect the worst from the well-known soldier. Despite her misgivings, she tries to face the betrothal with a calm dignity. Then, all of Jerusalem is turned upside down. The body of Jesus has gone missing from the tomb. Pilate seeks answers, and he sends Alban into the midst of the Judeans to find them. Likewise, his wife sends Leah to question Jesus's followers about his disappearance. As Alban and Leah discover more about the prophet's teachings and form relationships with the "God-fearers," they are drawn to each other and to this Jesus who might possibly be the Messiah.

This book was not really what I expected it to be. I thought it would be more about Leah and Alban's relationship. Instead, they were rarely together. The narration shifts from Alban's point of view to Leah's, describing their daily lives as they struggle to find answers for their master/mistress. The ending was great, but I thought the plot was lacking in some areas. There were times that I just didn't want to finish it. There were no real surprises, and the characters of Leah and Alban weren't fully developed.

In short, this was a book with great promise, but it was neither suspenseful nor thought-provoking.
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LibraryThing member WaterMillChurch
This book is about the weeks right after Jesus was crucified. It is descriptive of both Jewish and Roman people of that time period. For the most part the Biblical account is quoted accurately. The details of proving that Jesus really did rise from the dead are told from an investigative standpoint and from that of Jesus' followers. The relationships of the people involved made the story fun to read. LKC… (more)
LibraryThing member Jaguar897
Apparently I'm a sucker for a pretty cover. This book looked so promising sitting all pretty in the library bookshelf next to the other drabby books. It just screamed to get picked up. However, much to my disappoint the content was boring. I got 100 pages in and I just couldn't continue anymore with the snooze fest.

****Potential Spoilers****

There wasn't much to Leah who is the female protagonist. Her father suffered a lost and her reputation ruined. Um, okay what else? Yeah, she's now a loyal servant in her uncle Pontius Pilate's house, yet he wants to set her up in a "strategic marriage". Did I miss something here? Someone who wants to marry up is not going to want to marry a lowly servant...well, at least the last time I checked. Apparently, Pontius' power is so great and Leah is so wonderful Alban can't pass up.

Alban, if you haven't guess is the male hero. All brains and good looks. Oh, yeah and of course he's the stereotypical fearless leader who all the men respect and doesn't loose any of his men in battle. *yawn*

So there I pretty much summarize the first 100 pages for you. I would like to get repaid in time please.

I'm still counting it for my read shelf because I wasted time reading the 100 pages. I definitely won't be picking this one up again.
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LibraryThing member E.J
The Rapture! I had to read it to save my soul!

Actually I think I must have wandered into some kind of Christian part of the library without knowing it to pick up this and the last book both at once.

The time period of this book, AD 33, is fascinating to me but I could have used more history and less romance. Leah and Albert are the two main characters. Albert is far more interesting than Leah and the book would have earned an extra star if his was the only point of view in the book.

Also. There are so many typos!!!! I know it's petty but that drove me nuts.

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LibraryThing member JacobsBeloved
This book was a wonderful surprise in both its accuracy in utilizing the Biblical account, as well as its mastery in enlivening the recorded events pulled from the Bible by weaving in the fictional story of Leah. I have read these parts of the Bible more times than I can count, but this novel made the events fresh and exciting, as if I were living in the time period and watching them first hand. It made me realize as I read it how much I take for granted in having the completed Bible, which those first believers did not have. I could relate quite easily to some of the characters, especially the portrayal of Mary Magdalene. I also especially loved how the authors described the scene at Pentacost, as well as the allusions to the wedding in Revelation using Leah's wedding plans.
This book is the first book in the series Acts of Faith, which I like because not only are all the loose threads not accounted for, but also because I would love to see other Biblical characters portrayed by these authors, such as Paul. I look forward to continuing the series with the next book, The Hidden Flame.
This is how Christian fiction should be written, in my humble opinion. The beliefs and doubts of the characters are real and believable - even to the point of looking messy and contradictory. Their faith hasn't been softened and molded by political correctness, too afraid to quote more than a few fee-good verses from Psalms or even use the name of Jesus. A Christian is not a one-dimensional type-cast description, and neither should the characters in a Christian fiction novel be.

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LibraryThing member feistylibrary
I really enjoyed this book. As a fan of Janette Oke, I bought this book with high expectations. Although not as good as some of her other books, it was still a good read. While the title suggests that it will be a love story and it is clear pretty early on that it will be, the central theme of this book is the journey to find one's faith and being willing to stand up for your beliefs at any cost. The ending was not as predictable as I was expecting. I would definitely recommend this book to others. If you enjoy books set during this time period, I would also recommend Francine Rivers "Mark of the Lion" series. It's historical Christian fiction, but be warned, while Centurion's Wife is a PG, Mark of the Lion is more gritty, maybe earning a PG-13. Both books are a great read.… (more)


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8.25 inches



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