This is a book of longings indeed: the longing of a young woman to write down her words, her longing for a man to love her, and an almost ironically opposite longing for a woman's lot in society to be more than her husband's vessel to have children. It's a book of her brother's longing for his country to be rid of the Roman oppression. And it's a book of her husband's longing for God.
At this point it's pertinent to mention that I'm a Catholic. When I first heard about this book, I wasn't sure I'd be able to read it, because the heroine of the story is Ana, the wife of Jesus (wait, what? bristled quite a large part of me); and her brother just happens to be Judas Iscariot.
The author handles the topic with skill. The copious historical research that must have gone into the making of this novel is woven so skilfully into the fabric of the plot, I felt like I'd travelled back in time two thousand years and in space all the way to Nazareth. It was an emotional rife and well worth it. The Book of Longings is one of the best books I've read in years.