That Woman's Girl

Book three of the Young Testament, a kids'-eye view of the Jesus story!

Children - Christian
219 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

That Woman's Girl is a work of fiction centered around Bible stories and from the Christian fiction, adventure, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is suitable for readers in the middle-grade reading audience. It is book three of the Young Testament, a series that offers a kids'-eye view of the Jesus story. Penned by author L R Hay, we view the Jesus story through the eyes of ten-year-old Kat. Kat, an accomplished young pickpocket, runs her criminal empire smoothly until a peculiar man named John appears, submerging people in a river while yelling about snakes. Things become even stranger as the rumored 'chosen one' follows a bird into the wilderness. The curiosity and temptation of the crowds that this unusual duo attracts compel Kat to stay.

Author L. R. Hay's imaginative storytelling presents the Samaria and Decapolis perspective of the Jesus story in a highly accessible way for young readers to find common ground between modern life and the teachings of the Bible. While this book is a standalone tale, it interconnects with the previous books in the series to create one expansive story world, allowing readers to explore different gospel tales as the series grows. What I particularly liked about the work was that it offers a unique perspective on a familiar narrative, showcasing the events from a child's point of view, highlighting their curiosity, fascination, and the mysterious aspects of the tale perfectly. Overall, That Woman's Girl is a captivating and thought-provoking addition to the Young Testament series, providing a fresh and engaging approach to a well-known story, and I would certainly recommend it to Christian readers and their kids everywhere.

Asher Syed

In That Woman's Girl by L.R. Hay, a young thief named Kat in ancient Samaria embarks on a journey driven by material wealth and a rejection of societal norms. She successfully robs Roman women and encounters various dangers. Along the way, Kat meets Sitara, a Silk Road traveler, and they bond over their adventurous spirits and share stories about their families. As they travel together, they encounter John the Baptist's teachings and, later, Jesus' arrival and his ministry. Kat's life is marked by a series of encounters that challenge her prejudices and skepticism, but it will take a miracle for her to be moved enough for a true transformation.

That Woman's Girl by L.R. Hay is an accessible children's story on the later life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus that is made relatable by telling it through the point of view of Kat. I liked that Hay uses primarily dialogue to convey the story, and as a result, we get a better sense of who Kat is, understand where she is coming from, and how she ended up on the wrong side of the law in an organic way. While the end is moving and most readers are familiar with the Resurrection of Christ as told in the Gospels, teaching kids about it as more than just a fable is often difficult. I am certain that Hay's work will bridge the gap, and I have no doubt others who read it will feel the same. Very highly recommended.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

L R Hay's That Woman's Girl shows young readers the world in which "Kat" survives over two thousand years ago as she steals items to sell. The young girl lives in Samaria with her younger sister and a mother who enjoys men's attention. Embarrassed by her mother and her circumstances, Kat often leaves her home, accumulating wealth from unsuspecting people as she picks their pockets or relies on their empathy as they see a young child in worn clothes. Kat's life changes when she notices John the Baptist and hears his proclamations, and her eyes are opened when she witnesses some of Jesus's miraculous works and teachings.

L R Hay has delivered a story that may require more than one reading — once to understand the story and the characters and another to fully absorb the impact of the young protagonist's conversion. Readers will glimpse prominent biblical figures and discover Kat's relation to popular stories in The Bible. Hay is descriptive but inserts areas of humor to allow readers to fully understand the atmosphere without derailing the story. The clothing, lifestyles, culture, and mode of transportation are discussed, but each topic is compared to a modern element so younger readers may grasp the significance and difference. Young people and more experienced readers will learn a lot about the culture during Jesus's time and will gasp as Kat's family and Jesus intersect, revealing familiar stories about the woman at the well and the thief on the cross from scripture. Kat is a relatable and likable character and she provides an interesting and involved viewpoint, making That Woman's Girl a must-read for all ages!