Lisa Sampson’s The Passion of Mary-Margaret is a contemporary story of the cost—and the reward—of following Jesus. Mary-Margaret Fischer has known her whole life that she wants to be a religious sister, but her path takes a different turn when Jesus shows up. He asks her to abandon her upcoming final vows and, instead, to follow him. Mary-Margaret’s, “Yes, Lord,” leads her down a path she never expected when Jesus instructs her to marry Jude Keller, the troubled boy from her childhood.
The book should be read as fiction and not as a how-to manual on following Christ. Samson’s version of Jesus at times seems to conflict with biblical truths; his instruction contradicts Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians not to be “yoked with unbelievers.” Additionally, Mary-Margaret continually places greater emphasis on Jesus and not the other two members of the Trinity. However, the book’s overall message is a worthy one: sometimes God calls us to do things that don’t make sense to us, and we have to trust that he knows what he’s doing.
The story captivated me by alternating between Mary-Margaret’s reflections on the past and interjections from the present. The novel’s true-to-life portrayals of brokenness, bitterness, and unconditional love will resonate with today’s audience; readers cannot help but invest in the realistic characters as they try to follow God, or flee from him.
Through the writings of Mary-Margaret, Samson provides a wealth of wisdom for her readers. It’s not often that I read a fiction book with a pen in my hand, waiting for the next sentence worthy of underlining. This is not a love story. It’s a story of being romanced by the Lover of your soul. I recommend this book for mature believers because of its potentially confusing theology and the deep issues it faces. – Andrea Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
When Mary-Margaret Fischer met Jude Keller, the lighthouse keeper's son, she was studying at a convent school on a small island off Chesapeake Bay. Destined for a life as a religious sister, she nevertheless felt a pull toward Jude--gorgeous, rebellious, promiscuous Jude. But Jude, driven by demons no one really understood, disappeared into Baltimore's seamy red-light district. Mary-Margaret moved on with her life, preparing to serve God with her sisters as a teacher and artist.
Then Jude comes home--but now he's bitter, dissolute, and diseased. And Mary-Margaret receives a divine call that shakes her to the core, a call to give up her dreams for the troubled man who befriended her so long ago. For Jesus' sake, can she forsake the only life she ever wanted for a love that could literally cost her life?