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The Thief by Stephanie Landsem (Book Review)

To put it in plain terms, The Thief stole my heart. It's now in my list of top five favorite books.

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?

Talk about plot twists. There were so many things that I just did not see coming, at all. Yet every reveal, every change, every major moment felt so right. I could relate so much to the main female character, Nissa. She was feisty and independent, but she often got herself caught up into trouble when doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. I felt for her character, and enjoyed following her journey.

Each of the three main characters brought a unique perspective to the Passion Week and what Jesus' life, ministry, and resurrection would have looked like for the different groups of people who lived back then (the common people, the zealots, the Romans...). In the midst of all of their amazing fictional stories, Landsem masterfully slipped in moments based on Scripture that caught me by surprise and took my breath away whenever I realized what was happening. This is exactly what I want from Biblical fiction!

I cannot recommend this book enough. 5/5 stars. It is a part of The Living Water series, however, my understanding is that they can be read as standalone books. In any case, The Thief certainly works by itself. And it works perfectly! I am eagerly looking forward to reading other books by this author.

You can purchase a copy of The Thief at THIS link.

Happy reading everyone! Until next time,

- Jenna


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