Genre

Historical Fiction, Romance

Audience

Adult

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2022

Themes

Wife of Pontius Pilate, Crucifixion, Judea, Roman Empire, Oracle of Delphi

 

Reviewed by

Tiffany Buck

“Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” Matthew 27:19

Claudia Procula, wife of Pontius Pilate: To the world, she’s the young wife of the fifth procurator of Judea who suffered a dream. Standing before her powerful husband, she begged him to spare the life of Jesus. He brushed off her warnings and crucified Jesus anyway–a decision that will echo through eternity.

Apart from having a powerful husband and being subject to intense dreams, who was this woman? This is the question that author Lin Wilder asks.  I, Claudia begins with a seventy-nine-year-old Claudia Procula telling her story as the wife of Lucious Pontius Pilate.  Few people know about her or her husband, something she feels needs correcting. Pontius Pilate was more than just the man whom Jesus suffered under. He was once a soldier who made a name for himself on the battlefield fighting alongside Tiberius in Germania. She was more than the woman with a dream. Claudia was an intelligent woman with a thirst for knowledge and a loving wife. The use of first-person point of view, alternating between Claudia and Pontius Pilate helps make the characters relatable.

The first part of the novel is a slow burning reveal of Claudia’s and Pontius Pilate’s interior life before they wed. For some readers this part may seem a bit slow, although I found Claudia’s point of view quite enjoyable. I love her intellectual spunk. Being the daughter of the last Oracle of Delphi adds to her intrigue. Pontius Pilate is an ambitious man with the insecurities of those in political office. Once the two are wed in Judea, the pace of the novel really picks up. I love the tenderness the two have for each other. 

The Roman Empire and Judea in the time of Christ is a feast for the imagination. Pulling from both fiction and nonfiction sources, such as The Oracle by William J. Broad and Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace. Wilder paints a stunning portrait of Judea. The characters and the setting jump off the page.  The miracles of Jesus are described through the eyes of the servants and friends of Claudia and Pilate. Wilder’s description of Jesus’ eyes, with the depth that they hold as described by Pilate was well written. I particularly enjoyed Claudia’s interaction with Mary. Claudia helping the mother of Jesus clean up the blood of her son nearly beaten to death was heartbreaking and moving. 

During the Lenten season, I often search for books that will draw me closer to the cross. No doubt there are others like me. I, Claudia would be a great Lenten read. The scenes between  Pilate and Jesus make the reader yearn to stare into Christ’s eyes the way Pilate did. Yes, he was affected by their gentleness, even though he sentenced Jesus to a most horrifying death. All Christians as well as those searching for Jesus would draw something from this book. I’m appreciative of Wilder’s deeper look into the man which Jesus suffered under.

Unlikely Witnesses by Leslea Wahl

When four boys glimpse a crime in their Colorado town they end up in an interrogation cell of the FBI.

A World Such As Heaven Intended

Amara didn’t intend to fall in love with a Union soldier. Is love even possible in her war-torn world?

May Books to Pray With: For the Formation of Religious & Seminarians

A list of books to deepen your prayers for the formation of religious vocations in the church. Grow your imagination and empathy through the power of story.

Strange Matter by Brian Niemeier

Ready for the end of the world, battle mechs, and body swaps? This collection of short stories has it all.

The Gift Counselor By Sheila M. Cronin

If you’re a fan of Hallmark Channel’s cozy lineup of holiday Rom-coms, this book is definitely for you.

Coven (Book 7 of St. Tommy Series): By Declan Finn

St. Tommy fights the CPS and a group of pagans who have taken over a military base.

Somewhither by John C. Wright An Unwhithering Realm

What if the Multi-verse were not a theory to disprove God? What if he created it, and all humanity must unite to fight the powers of Babel?

Sister Aloysius Arrives at Our Lady of Sorrows By Linda Etchison, Illustrated by Denise Plumlee-Tadlock

Sister Aloysius teaches love and respect in the family through prayers to Mary.

Bonvida’s Awakening, by C.D. Smith

Can Atticus live up to the legacy of his birthright? An adventure fantasy novel for teens about good and evil, friendship, and identity.

Sunrise on the Icewolf by Colleen Drippe

Helen grew up on a world ruled by women where showing interest in your father is taboo, but she will journey across planets to save him.

Battle for his Soul by Theresa Linden

Bereft of a mother & betrayed by his twin, Jarret fights for a place to call home, unaware a supernatural war threatening to damn him to hell itself.

Shadow in the Dark by Antony Barone Kolenc

An immersive mystery and an amateur sleuth set in the walls of a 12th century English monastery

Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino

In this historical drama, Emilia longs for a love as beautiful as her sonata, but the ambitions of her father put her and her sister in great danger. Winner of our 2018 Best of the Year Awards.

The Light of Tara by John Desjarlais

As the power of Rome crumbles, a teenage St. Patrick must decide between his home and sacrificing himself for those who had enslaved him.

Desperate Forest: The Forest Tales Series, Book 1 By Cece Louise

This RomCom fantasy adventure explores a princess discovering the realities of life outside of her kingdom and what true love is really made of.

Celtic Crossing by Len Mattano

Relic lost, and faith found.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Finally, someone’s done it. Someone’s written a horror novel about a haunted IKEA. And boy is it done well.

When Headlines Hurt: Do We Have a Prayer? by Bill Schmitt

The Pope’s Words of Hope for Journalism

Three Last Things or The Hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin by Corinna Turner

The last day of a convicted murderer’s life: Can he save his soul in time?

Welcome Courtney Guest Kim, Our New Classics Editor!

Courtney Guest Kim joins us to help readers figure out where to start in the long and renowned roster of Catholic Literary Classics!