A Man Whose Name was Joseph


Christian - Historical Fiction
168 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2015
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Author Biography

Shawn Stanley lives in the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon, with his wife Stephanie, six children, one dog and two cats. He has completed four years of theological training and taught a Christian seminary class, consisting of high school students, for three years. Along with his love of stories and family, he enjoys construction, camping and boating.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite

A Man Whose Name Was Joseph by Shawn Stanley is an historical journey exploring the life and times of Joseph and Mary. A fictional work but based on known facts, the novel follows Joseph from the commitment to marriage to Mary through to the time they take the baby Jesus and flee from Bethlehem. This is the story of the nativity from Joseph’s perspective, and the novel also gives an insight into what life must have been like during those times, relating the hardships of Roman rule and of everyday life, and of one man’s determination to fulfil his destiny. This story looks at the conception and birth of Jesus in a fresh and intriguing way.

The author, Shawn Stanley, has clearly researched his subject well, and apart from his knowledge of the Biblical reporting of events, has put his own interpretation onto the known facts which has really developed the story and given it a realism that has also given the story credence. The writing is smooth and flows well, and the descriptions help to enhance the story and to bring alive the whole ethos of what is the greatest story of all time – the birth of Jesus. The writing is emotional and I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of Joseph, who is so often a lesser character in this well-known story. I think this Christian story could have an incredible impact and encourage the author to further explore his adaptations of Biblical events. Highly recommended.

Ashley Tetzlaff

Are you a Christian who enjoys historical fiction novels? Then Shawn Stanley’s work, A Man Whose Name Was Joseph, is definitely a book for you! Set around the beginning of the first century AD, this book portrays what Joseph might have been like and how he might have dealt with the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Other narratives of current events are also brought into play – Herod’s dealings with the Jews, happenings at the local Roman garrison, Zealot stirrings, etc. All this to give the reader a deep, if brief, glimpse into the life and times of A Man Whose Name Was Joseph.

When I first picked up the book, A Man Whose Name Was Joseph, I was not sure about it. In the first few pages, the characters seemed wooden and stilted, like string puppets on a stage, stuttering out their lines before being jerked into a new scene. But as the book progressed, the characters began to fill out and realistically weep and rage and bleed and struggle and rejoice. Shawn Stanley masterfully wove the plot till I could not put the book down… I HAD to find out what was going to happen to Joseph during his fight with the Romans and whether the spy would cave in to Herod’s demands. Even though I knew Joseph, Mary and Jesus would ultimately be all right, my heart still pounded at some of their close calls. There are a few punctuation errors in the book and that bothered me somewhat, but not enough to put down the work! My advice to you: overlook the rough beginning and periodic puzzling punctuation and delve into the dramatic life and times of A Man Whose Name Was Joseph.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Shawn Stanley writes an interesting depiction of Joseph in A Man Whose Name was Joseph. With love, hope and excitement in the air, Joseph becomes betrothed to Mary. Yet, all the plans for their future are tainted when Joseph hears the rumors that Mary is pregnant. Confusion. Doubt. Duty. What to do? How could a descendant of King David allow a bastard child into his bloodline? After a couple of angelic visits, both Joseph and Mary are determined to follow the path that lies before them. Joseph's friends and family think he is crazy. Meanwhile, Herod’s evil scheme to thwart the up-rise of the Zealots and destroy any future Jewish king overshadows the young couple’s resolve. Joseph promises God he will protect Mary and her unborn holy child at all cost. Even if this pledge costs him his life.

Shawn Stanley desires his readers to have a deeper understanding of Jesus’ earthly father. A Man Whose Name was Joseph endeavors to fill in the gaps that scripture does not reveal. Stanley makes assumptions, takes liberties, and uses his imagination to give life to a familiar story. The writing style is simple, the story reads with ease. The clever, fictitious inclusions carried the action and intensified the plot. Full of information, at times it reads as a documentary, making the flow a bit unsteady. However, Stanley did a nice job setting up the climax. Stanley minimized the setting descriptions, giving focus to characterization. The friendship factor between Joseph and Amos created balance and depth into Joseph's character. The author wrote strong characters, placing them intricately within the story. My favorite part of the narrative was when Gabriel opened Joseph’s eyes to the life of Christ and all it would represent: “We are spectators, Jesus must face this alone.” The book truly exposes the heart of a father toward his son.