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Book Review

This fifth historical fiction book in the "Lineage of Grace" series by Francine Rivers is published by Tyndale House Publishers.

Unafraid Mary is written for adults but is sometimes studied by kids ages 16 years and up.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

From her birth in a peasant family to her death as the revered mother of Christ, Mary experiences both joy and heartache as she obeys God's call to care for His Son. Mary faces the shame of an unexpected pregnancy, endures the ridicule of those who reject Jesus' message, and struggles to accept God's plan for her Son's death. But she continues to believe God's promises about her Son. Mary must demonstrate true obedience toward God by choosing to place her own faith in the Son she reared.

Christian Beliefs

While the book's details are fictional, many of the events from Mary's life are based closely on biblical accounts. God is seen as a strong, all-knowing Father, and Jesus is portrayed as the Messiah who brings salvation to those who believe. Jesus claims that each person must choose whether to believe in His message, and even Jesus' siblings struggle to trust Him. As Mary obeys God, she battles negative thoughts, and she meets several dark, unnamed characters, who represent spiritual warfare. Even when God's methods make little sense, His plan triumphs over evil.

Other Belief Systems

Several Jewish customs and traditions are explained. The story implies that some Jews choose to believe in Jesus as Messiah, while some do not.

Authority Roles

The authority of God is a central theme. When an angel of God delivers messages to Mary and Joseph, each responds with awe and obedience. Mary willingly accepts God's call on her life to be the mother of Jesus, and she continually honors her husband's decisions and leadership. Similarly, Joseph emphasizes that his wife and Son are not his own. They belong to God. Jesus submits to both His earthly parents and His heavenly Father, but He also serves as a strong authority for His followers.


The word harlot appears one time, describing the reaction of the general public to Mary's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. During Jesus' death, He is mocked, beaten and nailed to a cross.


When Mary becomes pregnant, many townspeople assume she and Joseph committed an indiscretion, though no specific details are given. The birth of Jesus is depicted realistically as a painful process for Mary, accompanied by water and blood.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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