That’s in spite of Jennifer’s desire to talk Jesus out of surrendering to the Romans. In fact, in the present, the president himself has tasked Jennifer and her contemporary companions with convincing Jesus not to die—and to come back with them to today. (And if Jesus doesn’t agree? “We’ll kidnap Him,” the president declares.) But once she’s in the ancient world, Jennifer, who has never committed to faith, grows close to Jesus in the days before the crucifixion, even as she strives not to reveal that she’s from the future. Williams plays that both for comedy but also pathos, as Jennifer encounters disciples, family members, and other familiar figures who do not know what she does about Jesus’s fate.
The surprise is that Jennifer eventually yearns to talk Jesus out of that destiny for her own reasons. But Williams’ interests are not in what-if?s about the life of Jesus, whose resolve to self sacrifice is only firmed up by story’s end. Williams is after how Jesus changes Jennifer. Believers open to the premise will find this a warm, polished, faith-affirming read.
Takeaway: Faith-affirming time-travel adventure of a contemporary woman meeting Jesus.
Comparable Titles: Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth’s The Day I Met Jesus, Gary M. Burge’s A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+