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Following up her bestselling fiction debut Phoebe, Paula Gooder returns to the world of the New Testament with the story of Lydia.

  • A great read for fans of Biblical fiction

  • Paula Gooder infuses Lydia's story with rich Biblical insight

  • You'll be immersed in the world of the New Testament

  • Author

    Paula Gooder

  • Book Format


  • Publisher

    Hodder & Stoughton

  • Published

    October 2022

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Product Description

The New Testament tells us very little about Lydia, a seller of purple cloth who was living in Philippi when she met the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey. And yet she is considered the first recorded convert to Christianity in Europe.

In her second work of fiction, Biblical scholar and popular author and speaker Paula Gooder tells Lydia's story - who she was, the life she lived and her first-century faith - and in doing so opens up Paul's letter to the Philippians, giving a sense of the cultural and historical pressures that shaped Paul's thinking, and the faith of the early church.

Written in the gripping style of Gerd Theissen's The Shadow of the Galilean, and similarly rigorously researched, this is a book for everyone and anyone who wants to engage more deeply and imaginatively with Paul's theology - from one of the UK's foremost New Testament scholars.


  • Author

    Paula Gooder

  • Book Format


  • Publisher

    Hodder & Stoughton

  • Published

    October 2022

  • Weight


  • Page Count


  • Dimensions

    153 x 234 x 36 mm

  • ISBN


  • ISBN-10


  • Eden Code


More Information

  • Author/Creator: Paula Gooder

  • ISBN: 9781444792065

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

  • Release Date: October 2022

  • Weight: 41g

  • Dimensions: 153 x 234 x 36 mm

  • Eden Code: 4680509


5.0 (2)

Average rating of 5.0 from 2 reviews

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1 year ago


I bought this book as soon as I saw it advertised because I'd previously enjoyed 'Phoebe' an earlier book by the same author. Dr Paula Gooder is a New Testament scholar and she uses her extensive knowledge of the Roman Empire in the first century AD to illuminate this fictional story of the real Lydia, mentioned in Acts, who is the first known Gentile convert to Christianity. Although the story is fictional, the settings and details of daily life in Philippi at that time are precise and accurate; additionally, there are notes to each chapter which can be read before or after the 'story bit' but which explain details hinted at or described in the text. This works well - the movement of the story isn't held up by explanatory details but we can look them up afterwards if we have queries. The story itself moves at a good pace and is told from Lydia's perspective; although I have a good knowledge of the New Testament, I found the details of everyday life and early Christian worship illuminating and thought-provoking; for example, I knew theoretically that the early Gentile believers had only Paul's epistles and occasional visits from the apostles to guide them in their new-found faith, but this is really brought to life in the account of Paul's letter to the Philippians being read to the gathering of believers in Philippi and the questions that it raised for them, as well as giving them guidance and encouragement. The book also brought to life just how hard it was to be a follower of 'The Way' in the years after Pentecost, especially the fact that the early Christians in the Roman world were treated with suspicion by the followers of Greek and Roman gods. It's a stimulating and thought-provoking story - highly recommended!

Christine Orme

Christine Orme


1 year ago


I bought it for our daughter Lydia as a Christmas present so can't say anything about it.

Ruth Bakes

Ruth Bakes


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