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Starting with a dark-skinned girl barely out of adolescence when she gives birth, Lesley Hazleton weaves together the many facets of Mary's existence: peasant villager, wise woman and healer, activist, mother, teacher, and yes, virgin, though in a sense we have long forgotten. She follows her through the worst any mother can experience-the excruciating death of her child-and then looks at how she transforms grief into wisdom, disaster into renewal. Strong and courageous, the Mary we see here does not merely assent to her role in history, but chooses it and lives it to the fullest.

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