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.

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