Alone in a crowd, broken by anxiety and low self-esteem, Mara of Clopas is forced to leave her home and family to take care of her sister-in-law, Maria, whose life is at risk in their hometown.  Mara's predictable life as a hidden homemaker shifts to unstable ground when her son Jamie becomes a student of Jesus.  Mara feels guilty, overweight, and worthless after being abused by authoritarian parents teaching her to do her duties and religious leaders forcing her to follow the rules.  If you have ever felt forgotten, unimportant, or excluded from full participation in society or religious organizations, you may see yourself in Mara of Clopas.  

​​Joanna is broken by loyalty to both sides of herself:  the powerful Jewish grandfather who raised her, and the Greek father who was ostracized for not being Jewish.  Her mixed race makes her feel like an imposter in Jewish society.  She struggles for truth and acceptance in the face of racism. She feels excluded and seeks to become whole.  When Joanna contracts an illness that is passed to her child, she is isolated and desperate.  If you have ever felt that part of who you are makes you unacceptable to God, you may see yourself in Joanna. 

Both women take steps to self care and wholeness.  Watch them work out their beliefs and become leaders, speakers, and teachers.  

​This historical fiction shines a light on every woman who interacted with or was observed by Jesus, many of whom have been remembered only for their faults, belittled, or forgotten altogether. 

It is a provocative story showing women eyewitnesses to Jesus, who were patrons, disciples and apostles.  Seeing how Jesus empowered women to be leaders and teachers and may stir up questions for religious leaders today.

If you have never noticed the women in the Gospel stories, or women leaders in religion, you’ll want to watch how these women overcome their brokenness.  

If you are a religious leader wondering how to reach out to those who have been hurt or ignored by the church, read how Jesus overturned the power structures of religion, family, and society by putting a focus on humility, giving and service.  The story will help you turn away from religious rituals and rules, and renew your focus on the first and greatest commandment:  to love.

Regardless of your current or past beliefs or church experiences, this fiction may help you work out your own beliefs and find healing, hope and peace.   Reading this novel will:

  • Provide backstories, motivations, and character development for twelve women disciples of Jesus

  • make the stories of Jesus engaging and relatable for those who have felt forgotten by God or the church

  • make the life and message of Jesus accessible, easy to read, and relevant to today.  

Elaine Kelly weaves together characters and stories of the Bible with research, interpretation, history, tradition, and imagination, using conversational language and avoiding religious words. 

Details of the twelve women disciples featured in this novel are here.

May this story help and encourage you to be your best self, and to do all that God created you to do.  do. 

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Every year, Canadians interested in donating to charities are looking for ways to give with their heart and to give smart.  Elaine Kelly guides readers through the maze of strategies and tax or estate implications to show how Canadians can achieve dramatic value for their charitable dollar. 

Through a story of a woman considering her own giving options, Give Smart is an easy read for those who want to investigate charitable donation strategies.  

"A useful resource to give to anyone who may be considering a major donation." Brad Giroux, Estate Planning Specialist

"Give Smart is alive with real life discussions about the experiences and decisions in being a donor.  Kelly takes the reader along a witty journey of investment and tax savvy." Alastair Davis, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Niagara

"Creative and comprehensive, Ms. Kelly's book is a great guide for any donor considering return on their investment, and providing clarity on the many giving opportunities available to donors today." Frances Hallworth, Executive Director, United Way of St Catharines & District

A 2021 reader wrote 'the concepts remain the same and Elaine Kelly explains them simply.  We often refer to the appendixes which I'm sure many people find very helpful.'

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