Verdict: CAT BORN TO THE PURPLE is a poetic tale with a flair for description and a welcoming, hopeful, and loving spiritual heart.
A young cat must help her human partner, the woman saved from stoning by Yeshua ben Yosef, find healing and purpose in life.
When Yeshua ben Yosef saved Eliana from death by stoning, he brought her to the house of his friend Eli, where she could be cared for. But finding that she had lost her memory, and that her in-laws were hunting for her in order to have her killed, he takes her to the Gentile city of Acco, apprenticing her to a kindly textile merchant. There, she finds joy and fulfilling work as a skilled weaver, as well as a feral female kitten named Purple Gleaming in Shadow, who becomes her friend and companion. But can Purple, with Yeshua’s guidance, help Eliana overcome the grief and fear of her past, and open her heart to love, both human love and the love of the One?
This is the fourth volume of the Yeshua’s Cats series, each featuring a different cat whose life intersects with that of Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus of Nazareth). It starts out narrated by Mari/Wind on Water, Yeshua’s companion, but moves seamlessly to Purple’s point of view as she comes more and more deeply into the tale. Like the others, it is rich in poetic description and vivid language, bringing the streets of Roman-occupied Acco to life, from the stinks of the murex dye vats and the deep clotted-blood color of the purple dye to the ruined beauty of an abandoned temple.
The religious aspect of the story is somewhat unconventional, but full of warmth and deep loving-kindness, and Francisco’s conception of Yeshua shines with the charisma and compassion that explain plausibly why people would willingly drop everything and follow him. Textile work is a common thread (pun intended) through this novel, and everything from the cruelty of the murex-harvesting and dyeing process to the intricacy of the weaving patterns finds deeper meaning in the story and the theology. Purple is an appealing narrator, with the innocence of kittenhood and a charming delight in yarn and weaving. Her ability to comment on the human culture and thought processes from outside, with a recognizable-yet-alien felinoid point of view, adds a valuable perspective to the novel.
CAT BORN TO THE PURPLE is a poetic tale with a flair for description and a welcoming, hopeful, and loving spiritual heart.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader