Here's the review I wrote the first time I read the book:
I've just read Elizabeth Cunningham's The Passion of Mary Magdalen and I recommend it gleefully. In this fun, insightful, challenging, thoughtful, bittersweet & salty novel she reveals Christian and Pagan and Jewish as one whole, shows us the gospels freshly, and stirs our desires. At least, she did for me.
Cunningham navigates the lofty terrain with the grace of one who knows where she is and where she is leading us. Her writing is confident, clear, grounded, and always in motion. There are lots of opportunities to turn away - I confess I nearly put the book down in the first section after finding it to be just a period piece romance novel. But even then the character of Maeve Rhaud (aka Mary Magdalen), in Cunningham's prose, intimates an invitation to something more satisfying. And where she leads, into material long espoused and explained by synods and theologies and Sunday morning sermons, is new and you want to explore it for yourself.