Danya, a literate, independent-minded young woman, grows up in the village of Nazareth. Personal betrayals, social restrictions, and family tragedies crush Danya’s dream of fighting to free her people from Roman domination. Instead she is married off and lives as an outsider in the sophisticated city of Sepphoris, the Roman capital of Galilee. Danya struggles to write her own life, a story woven into the political, religious, and cultural conflicts of the tumultuous world of ancient Palestine early in the first century. Her companions include some real historical and scriptural figures: Joanna, the wife of Herod’s chief steward; Judah ben Hezekiah, the leader of a Galilean insurrection; Jesus, before his public life; and his mother Mary, among others. This extensively researched, fast-paced narrative has its roots in the study of the historical Jesus. However, Danya’s writings give voice to the silent women of that era. Her search for a meaningful life, though unique to her world, is both universal and contemporary.
Anne McGivern’s fascination with the study of the historical Jesus lured her into researching the history, archaeology, anthropology, and religion of early first century Palestine. In time, Danya, her first novel, sprang to life.
McGivern is the co-author of two books on teaching language to developmentally disabled children. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communicative Disorders and has taught in middle school and special education settings.
Praise for Danya:
"Anne McGivern’s excellent historical fiction debut, Danya: A Woman of Ancient Galilee, gives a rare glimpse into women’s lives in biblical times as well as the Jewish revolutionary movements that paved the way for the teachings of Jesus. . . .McGivern weaves in historical information smoothly . . . and Danya’s confiding first-person voice overcomes any distance readers might feel from an ancient setting. . . . Fans of historical fiction will find McGivern’s strong, compelling heroine hard to resist and will surely savor this compelling novel.
Highly recommended for fans of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and Geraldine Brooks’ The Secret Chord." - BlueInk Reviews
“Thoroughly researched and perceptively written, this novel . . . gives a convincing account of how families might have lived in first century Palestine . . . The author skillfully interweaves the lives of fictional and real-life characters to spin a convincing yarn. . . that believably portrays Jewish life under Roman rule, the seeds of Christianity, and a woman’s battles for survival.” – Kirkus Reviews
"The first century of the Common Era springs to vivid life in Anne McGivern’s accomplished and engrossing novel. . . . One of the secrets—and pleasures—of the book’s success is the way it draws on its own world to convey a sense of time and place . . . and Danya emerges as a richly imagined character in a world real enough to touch. . . . Danya is historical fiction in top form, on par with Philippa Gregory or Anita Diamant. Though primarily a woman’s story, it will appeal to anyone interested in well-written fiction or in the tumultuous history of today’s Middle East." - Foreword Five Star Reviews