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Perpetua: A Bride, a Martyr, a Passion

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Perpetua is a historical novel based on the real life and death of a young Roman noblewoman. Perpetua was martyred in the amphitheater of Carthage in 203 AD, but kept a diary of her arrest and time in prison. While many martyrs were poor or illiterate, Perpetua was neither. A new mother, a noblewoman, wealthy, highly educated she had much to lose, and she chose to give it Perpetua is a historical novel based on the real life and death of a young Roman noblewoman. Perpetua was martyred in the amphitheater of Carthage in 203 AD, but kept a diary of her arrest and time in prison. While many martyrs were poor or illiterate, Perpetua was neither. A new mother, a noblewoman, wealthy, highly educated she had much to lose, and she chose to give it all away for the privilege of dying for Jesus. The novel expands her diary to include the less than three years between her conversion and her execution.


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Perpetua is a historical novel based on the real life and death of a young Roman noblewoman. Perpetua was martyred in the amphitheater of Carthage in 203 AD, but kept a diary of her arrest and time in prison. While many martyrs were poor or illiterate, Perpetua was neither. A new mother, a noblewoman, wealthy, highly educated she had much to lose, and she chose to give it Perpetua is a historical novel based on the real life and death of a young Roman noblewoman. Perpetua was martyred in the amphitheater of Carthage in 203 AD, but kept a diary of her arrest and time in prison. While many martyrs were poor or illiterate, Perpetua was neither. A new mother, a noblewoman, wealthy, highly educated she had much to lose, and she chose to give it all away for the privilege of dying for Jesus. The novel expands her diary to include the less than three years between her conversion and her execution.

30 review for Perpetua: A Bride, a Martyr, a Passion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Peterson

    AUTHOR's NOTE on the 15th ANNIVERSARY AUTHOR EDITION One of my favorite scenes has been restored in this Author Edition of "Perpetua." An entire chapter had to be taken out of the first edition purely for page-count reasons. It's been my long-held dream to release an ebook with that chapter and a few other shorter scenes restored. That dream has finally come true! Readers will enjoy a sweet glimpse into how Christ's love creates relationships that could otherwise never have existed between poor a AUTHOR's NOTE on the 15th ANNIVERSARY AUTHOR EDITION One of my favorite scenes has been restored in this Author Edition of "Perpetua." An entire chapter had to be taken out of the first edition purely for page-count reasons. It's been my long-held dream to release an ebook with that chapter and a few other shorter scenes restored. That dream has finally come true! Readers will enjoy a sweet glimpse into how Christ's love creates relationships that could otherwise never have existed between poor and rich, obscure and noble. (The Author Edition, with its restored passages, is only available in ebook format.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shiloh

    This book challenges me in so many ways. We pray for the power of His resurrection, but not the fellowship of His sufferings. If for some reason if we face suffering, we resent and question God instead of embracing it and rejoicing in it. This story truely is full of passion. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on her diaries. This book challenges me in so many ways. We pray for the power of His resurrection, but not the fellowship of His sufferings. If for some reason if we face suffering, we resent and question God instead of embracing it and rejoicing in it. This story truely is full of passion. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on her diaries.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Perpetua was by far, the BEST book I have read in 2015, and one of the top five I have EVER read. It is a profoundly moving biography/novel of the life of the first female Christian martyr. Amy Peterson's writing is excellent, as she tells the story of the girl who finds Christ and develops her faith in the city of Carthage, known to hate Christians. Perpetua's faith is tested time and again as she must choose Jesus over family, friends, etc. Yet this woman also finds joy, a loving husband, a fa Perpetua was by far, the BEST book I have read in 2015, and one of the top five I have EVER read. It is a profoundly moving biography/novel of the life of the first female Christian martyr. Amy Peterson's writing is excellent, as she tells the story of the girl who finds Christ and develops her faith in the city of Carthage, known to hate Christians. Perpetua's faith is tested time and again as she must choose Jesus over family, friends, etc. Yet this woman also finds joy, a loving husband, a faith community and all that is good and holy as she embraces her new life. Still, as the story comes to a climax, the young wife and mother realizes she has been chosen for martyrdom. We read of how she learns to say good bye to those she loves most, her time under arrest and in prison, her father's desperate attempts to get her to recant, and more. The book is based on Perpetua's actual diaries, as well as other early Church writings about her death in Carthage's Arena, other writings of Christians' lives at that time, along with the author's excellent abilities to weave a plausible storyline around it all. Cannot recommend this highly enough.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tirzah

    Magnificent book! I had never heard of Perpetua until a couple of weeks ago and she is now one of my favorite heroes and this is one of my favorite books! My library didn't have a copy so I bought one and I'm so glad I did because this is definitely a book worthy of owning and re-reading! Hers is a beautiful and inspiring love story with Jesus. Her story is very well written and descriptive and gives good insight into the early Church. It is filled with lots of little faith nuggets and I found m Magnificent book! I had never heard of Perpetua until a couple of weeks ago and she is now one of my favorite heroes and this is one of my favorite books! My library didn't have a copy so I bought one and I'm so glad I did because this is definitely a book worthy of owning and re-reading! Hers is a beautiful and inspiring love story with Jesus. Her story is very well written and descriptive and gives good insight into the early Church. It is filled with lots of little faith nuggets and I found myself stopping often to digest what I was reading. It is an unforgettable story. Powerful. Faith inspiring. Gripping. And truly life changing - for me, at least! It made my heart ache to be in an even closer relationship with Jesus and to have that type of faith. It impacted my life to read of this woman's beautiful faith and love for our Lord and I don't think I can ever forget her life and legacy! Quite amazing to have such a powerful legacy of faith and love nearly 2,000 years later! I look forward to meeting her one day! This is a book I recommend, for sure!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emmie

    Good story idea but very cheesy in execution.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    An amazing story that brought me a lot of encouragement and conviction. The only reasons I didn't give it five stars were: major copy editing oversights, and a tendency toward wordiness that was sometimes laborious to plow through. But I highly recommend! An amazing story that brought me a lot of encouragement and conviction. The only reasons I didn't give it five stars were: major copy editing oversights, and a tendency toward wordiness that was sometimes laborious to plow through. But I highly recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jolene

    This book was so good! I was inspired and encouraged by the story and its characters, especially knowing how much of it is founded in fact. I would definitely read this book again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Lei

    For those of us in Christ, I cannot imagine having an encounter with this book and walking away unchanged by its contents, that of the life of Perpetua and the lives of the brothers and sisters walking the same path as she. Never in my years of reading have I cried so bitterly as I have whilst reading this. Never in my years of reading have I felt my heart physically skip as many beats in both angst and joy alongside the rhythms of the characters as I have alongside these saints. I am left undon For those of us in Christ, I cannot imagine having an encounter with this book and walking away unchanged by its contents, that of the life of Perpetua and the lives of the brothers and sisters walking the same path as she. Never in my years of reading have I cried so bitterly as I have whilst reading this. Never in my years of reading have I felt my heart physically skip as many beats in both angst and joy alongside the rhythms of the characters as I have alongside these saints. I am left undone. My heart grieves that which I have experienced in this book, the true unity of the called of the Lord, for I see and experience it not in our current generations, and I long for it so. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive us, your Body. My heart rejoices for the path set before my spiritual ancestors, and rejoices for the example they are to those of us still in the race. Oh, what shallow faith I have! I am undone. Truly. Spectacular. You must read it. And you must let it infiltrate your heart. Let it challenge your mind. You will not walk away unchanged.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Another book that I put aside not too long after starting and didn’t pick it back up for a while. But once I picked it back up, I could hardly put down and was in tears at the end. This book has moved me and deepened my faith. It has given me a new understanding of loving Jesus, and of the beauty and freedom of death. I highly recommend it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jaleesa Gibson

    Great novel for anyone interested in the life of this saint. Slow going at times but well worth the effort to finish. Well researched but not dry. Be prepared to stand side by side with Perpetua as she goes from nobility to martyr.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    It was so cool to read about what life might have been like in 3rd century Rome! Perpetua was such a great example of a woman of faith! Sometimes this novel was difficult to follow as it has lots of dialogue and flashbacks/foreshadowing, but overall a great read! :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Simply amazing. One of the best books I've ever read. Simply amazing. One of the best books I've ever read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Oh my goodness. This book is AWESOME!!! I love love love it!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annly Perez

    A beautiful book that every Christian woman should read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I have to start by saying that I am really glad that I read this book. I had never heard about Perpetua and I enjoyed learning about her and her experience with conversion and eventually martyrdom. I found the character's personal growth inspiring throughout the book and loved how the Gospel changed the way she thought about life in general and in particulars...especially about the importance every living person has to the Savior. I liked the social aspects of this book, the conversations with f I have to start by saying that I am really glad that I read this book. I had never heard about Perpetua and I enjoyed learning about her and her experience with conversion and eventually martyrdom. I found the character's personal growth inspiring throughout the book and loved how the Gospel changed the way she thought about life in general and in particulars...especially about the importance every living person has to the Savior. I liked the social aspects of this book, the conversations with former friends and with her husband. Perpetua is a fantastic example of the type of change that can be acheived through living and loving the Savior. I only had a few items that I didnt like about this book. I thought that the descriptive narratives were really LONG and tedious. I had a hard time with the phrase of "lover" or "husband" when talking about the Savior. In some passages, the feelings Perpetua had for Jesus were almost sexual and inappropriate. And finally the characters almost seemed to wish for martyrdom - in a "if only I could prove myself to Him by death" kind of way. Martyrdom was romanticized and sought after and that just didnt really sit well with me. In the end, Perpetua does finally decide that life (and her family and child) are worth living for and therefore stops "daydreaming" about and "wishing for" martyrdom...but then is put in the situation unwillingly. Again. I am really glad I read this book and I think that not everyone would be as sensitive about these few concerns that I had.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hana Jun

    Upon reading this for the second time, I really like the concept of this historical fiction. More than 200 years after the death of Jesus of Nazare, the narrator, Perpetua, becomes a Christian in Carthage, a city of the Roman Empire, where the new emperor has banned the religion. So yes, the plot line is really interesting. Written by a history major, the novel gives a real taste of the time during Roman rule. The historical facts (ex. names of clothing and house rooms) are described in exact Upon reading this for the second time, I really like the concept of this historical fiction. More than 200 years after the death of Jesus of Nazare, the narrator, Perpetua, becomes a Christian in Carthage, a city of the Roman Empire, where the new emperor has banned the religion. So yes, the plot line is really interesting. Written by a history major, the novel gives a real taste of the time during Roman rule. The historical facts (ex. names of clothing and house rooms) are described in exact detail, but at times the narration can be confusing to follow. For instance, the author can jump from Mother standing in the hallway to a friend arranging flowers back to a "she" (Mother) saying, "Is it time for dinner?" Overall, I did like the book for how it portrayed an interesting time in history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pamela_b_lawrencemsn.com

    A book I pulled from a book exchange shelf, and I'm glad I did. Based on the diary of Perpetua, a Christian martyr at the beginning of the 3rd century. Not for everyone because of the content. I enjoyed it because it is well-written, because reading a first person narrative about choosing martyrdom is fascinating, and because I sensed that the author was constructing the work the way stone carvers prepared gargoyles on Gothic cathedrals, reverentially but expecting no acknowledgment in return. A A book I pulled from a book exchange shelf, and I'm glad I did. Based on the diary of Perpetua, a Christian martyr at the beginning of the 3rd century. Not for everyone because of the content. I enjoyed it because it is well-written, because reading a first person narrative about choosing martyrdom is fascinating, and because I sensed that the author was constructing the work the way stone carvers prepared gargoyles on Gothic cathedrals, reverentially but expecting no acknowledgment in return. Also, even though the work is targeted to an already devout Christian audience, those not in the choir can still learn about early Christianity and its struggles, as well the motivation for such a dramatic choice. Not four or five stars because it's not one of my favorite books ever, but three for the thoughtful and engaging presentation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen B

    I've just read this again recently (Sept 2012), having first read it about 3 years ago. It gripped me as powerfully the second time as it did the first. Even "knowing the ending," I couldn't put it down. It brings the true story of Perpetua to life in a powerful way and makes the writings of not only Perpetua, but also Tertullian and other church Fathers, accessible and immediate in a way a mere history book could never do. This book is: - Passionate, romantic. - Fascinating for its historical in I've just read this again recently (Sept 2012), having first read it about 3 years ago. It gripped me as powerfully the second time as it did the first. Even "knowing the ending," I couldn't put it down. It brings the true story of Perpetua to life in a powerful way and makes the writings of not only Perpetua, but also Tertullian and other church Fathers, accessible and immediate in a way a mere history book could never do. This book is: - Passionate, romantic. - Fascinating for its historical insights. - Full of vivid characters whom one will long remember. But above all, it is a book that has changed me because it has stirred up a greater hunger for God in my heart, and a desire to be willing to count any cost to be faithful to Him and His call.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Coyle

    Confession: I made it 150 pages through this book and then gave up. Not because it's necessarily bad per se--Peterson clearly knows her history, cares about the subject matter, and can write well enough. It's just that, as you can tell by skimming through the Goodreads reviews, I am clearly not the intended demographic. I really did want to finish this, since much of my professional work involves the ancient world, I am a Chrisitan, and I love books. But I just couldn't do it--there was far too Confession: I made it 150 pages through this book and then gave up. Not because it's necessarily bad per se--Peterson clearly knows her history, cares about the subject matter, and can write well enough. It's just that, as you can tell by skimming through the Goodreads reviews, I am clearly not the intended demographic. I really did want to finish this, since much of my professional work involves the ancient world, I am a Chrisitan, and I love books. But I just couldn't do it--there was far too much thinking about feelings and waiting for the Spirit and such and not enough action. Which again isn't a criticism, it's just not for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeri Massi

    This book presents a real and vivid early church to readers. No waxwork figures here! The breadth and depth of the portrayal of life in those ancient times rivals the scope of classics like BEN-HUR and THE ROBE. At times the narrative suffers from "overwriting" (a common problem in Evangelical Christian fiction), but Perpetua's path to martyrdom challenges, enlightens, encourages, and awakens the Christian reader. You see a real person here, and by the end of the book, I found myself bringing my This book presents a real and vivid early church to readers. No waxwork figures here! The breadth and depth of the portrayal of life in those ancient times rivals the scope of classics like BEN-HUR and THE ROBE. At times the narrative suffers from "overwriting" (a common problem in Evangelical Christian fiction), but Perpetua's path to martyrdom challenges, enlightens, encourages, and awakens the Christian reader. You see a real person here, and by the end of the book, I found myself bringing my faith to God in prayer, wanting to be stronger in the cause of Christ. A truly worthy read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cami

    Perpetua IS my favorite book to date! Amy Rachel Peterson did an incredible job discovering the depths of this real-life character. This book is considered a historical fiction, but it was the author's hope to stay as close as possible to the real life account of Perpetua. Perpetua's story is one that needs to be told and I give my thanks and applause to the author. This book is simply amazing and I plan on reading it again! Perpetua IS my favorite book to date! Amy Rachel Peterson did an incredible job discovering the depths of this real-life character. This book is considered a historical fiction, but it was the author's hope to stay as close as possible to the real life account of Perpetua. Perpetua's story is one that needs to be told and I give my thanks and applause to the author. This book is simply amazing and I plan on reading it again!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel N

    Extraordinary! Perpetua is the most amazing book I've read in a long while. Not only is it a gripping story, it is inspiring, sobering, and perspective-altering. The characters were "alive" in my mind and I continued to think about them throughout the day. I cannot speak highly enough about Perpetua. Extraordinary! Perpetua is the most amazing book I've read in a long while. Not only is it a gripping story, it is inspiring, sobering, and perspective-altering. The characters were "alive" in my mind and I continued to think about them throughout the day. I cannot speak highly enough about Perpetua.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Loved loved this book. It's challenging and cuts straight to the heart. I was able to relate to Perpetua so much since she was so honest about her struggles and the fact that she had to come back to God over and over - but he always accepts us. A little slow in the beginning, but it picks up quickly! Great story about a different time, a different culture, and the same God. <3 Loved loved this book. It's challenging and cuts straight to the heart. I was able to relate to Perpetua so much since she was so honest about her struggles and the fact that she had to come back to God over and over - but he always accepts us. A little slow in the beginning, but it picks up quickly! Great story about a different time, a different culture, and the same God. <3

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I didn't know anything about Perpetua, the person, but i really loved this book. It took me a little while to get into it, but she lived with deep passion and conviction. amazing! It inspires me to be a martyr. I didn't know anything about Perpetua, the person, but i really loved this book. It took me a little while to get into it, but she lived with deep passion and conviction. amazing! It inspires me to be a martyr.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Very well done. I love that it is written in story form. First time, for me, reading something from this time period- I learned a lot and gained so much perspective. Wow, what a moving and inspiring story. I highly recommend it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cambria

    Wow, this book was moving and touching in so many ways. I kept stopping to meditate and think about what Perpetua was experiencing with Jesus and marveling at how relatable this is! Amy Peterson COMPLETELY captured real feelings and thoughts, at least from my experience. Wow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Heartbreaking and at the same time encouraging book about a noble lady living in the Roman Empire and becoming a Christian and embracing all that what comes with that choice in joy, even her death as a martyr. Highly recommended!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    woman of great faith...excellent read

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book is amazingly beautiful!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Kim

    historical fiction of a real Christian martyr in AD202- inspiring!!!

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