“A worthy sequel to Cat Born to the Purple! Francisco’s books have a lovely poetic style and a gentle spirituality that enlivens and inspires even if the reader does not share the writer’s Christian perspective. Her cats are distinctly cats, with thoroughly feline perspectives. Each location, each emotion, each happening is described with a vivid sensuality and an emotional richness that puts the reader directly into the action. The theology is generous, humane, and intelligent, with plenty of room for cats!“
Self Publishing Review
“Francisco has woven a fascinating tapestry in Yeshua’s Loom with deftness and sensitivity. Animal lovers (and especially cat lovers) will respect the way she has made her cats a part of the divine creation and given them hidden wisdom. As a device for sharing the life of Jesus and his disciples, the feline observations are both charming and intellectually satisfying. A singularly unique fictional series which works well as fantasy fiction and Christian parable!”
Midwest Book Review
“Highly recommended! A powerful story told by sentient cats of the woman who becomes Lydia, seller of purple, and offers the Apostle Paul wisdom destined to change the future of Christianity. Francisco’s evocative, lyrical descriptions bring to life a cat’s-eye view of the feelings, sights, and sounds of biblical times. Loom’s unique perspective—blending philosophy, spirituality, and astute observations on human faith—will intrigue any reader who enjoys thought-provoking accounts of biblical history.”
Aeliana has long been accompanied by her feline friend, Purple Gleaming in Shadow, and now her husband Chariton has been adopted by the magnificent male cat Nightfire, who quickly becomes Purple’s mate as well. All four are, or become, devoted followers of Yeshua of Nazareth, known to the cats as ben Adamah, Son of Earth. Together, they travel home to Chariton’s family to solemnize the marriage of the two humans – but find there that Chariton’s mother is cold, unkind, and hostile to Aeliana. Loss, tragedy, and conflict threaten to tear the humans away from their faith, hope, and love- can the cats, with Yeshua’s guidance and help, assist them to reweave the tapestry of their lives?
YESHUA’S LOOM is another of the series that began with YESHUA’S CAT, and it specifically continues the tale of Purple Gleaming in Shadow, which began in CAT BORN TO THE PURPLE. It would be wise to read the previous books in the series before tackling this one, because this is clearly a continued storyline rather than an independent tale, with plenty of references to events in earlier books. This is no hardship, though, as Francisco’s books are uniformly well-written, with a lovely poetic style and a gentle spirituality that enlivens and inspires even if the reader does not share the writer’s Christian perspective. Her cats are distinctly cats, with thoroughly feline perspectives, even if they are (to their own confusion) newly endowed with something so human as a soul.
Their point of view gives the reader a bit of distance and a new perspective on typically human behaviors and emotions. This particular book is actually more of a chain of connected stories and events, more of a biography than a single plot line, taking place over multiple cities in the early-Christian-era Roman Empire. Yet each location, each emotion, each happening is described with a vivid sensuality and an emotional richness that puts the reader directly into the action. It does, however, stretch the limits of belief a bit to have Aeliana take on another name change and another persona from the New Testament – one begins to wonder whether there were actually only about twenty early Christians after all, at least until Paul enters the story again.
IR VERDICT: YESHUA’S LOOM is a worthy sequel to CAT BORN TO THE PURPLE, and will be enjoyed by those readers who find comfort in a theology that is generous, humane, and intelligent, with plenty of room for cats.
Self Publishing Review
The life of Biblical figures is told by a trio of observant cats in the intriguing and inventive Yeshua’s Loom: A Tapestry of Cats, the fifth volume in the Yeshua’s Cat series by author C.L. Francisco.
This entrancing saga begins when Aeliana who finds a protector and potential spouse in the Roman businessman Chariton. They make their way to the home of Chariton’s parents, where they will have to prove that Aeliana has become a Roman citizen before the marriage can be approved. Until that happens, Chariton cannot access the great family wealth to which he is heir.
The humans in the novel live under the watchful eyes of their cats, two of which are meeting for the first time. Chariton is owner of – some would say owned by – Nightfire, an imposing black tomcat, and Aeliana is bonded to a female feline know as Purple Gleaming in Shadow, Purple for short, so called for her deep coloring.
In Francisco’s fable that highlights the life of Yeshua, or Jesus, humans and cats can converse freely, which may seem something of an off the wall premise, but it is actually quite subdued in its imagining. This is a magical tale, to be sure, but there is an important historical and religious story woven underneath the book’s fantasy.
Overcoming her painful childhood traumas and finally able to accept the healing she once received from Yeshua, Aeliana will someday become a powerful entrepreneur and miracle worker in her own right. After the death of her children and then her husband, she intuitively decides to move to the city of Phillippi, where she takes the name of Lydia so as to keep her wealth a secret, and continues in her profession as an inspired, artistic weaver.
Also in Phillippi, she will encounter someone she has only heard about by rumor, a man named Paul. They share a common faith in the power and forgiving love of Yeshua, but Paul needs lessons in acceptance and love that Aeliana has garnered on her thorny path. Through her guidance, he will transform his spiritual life and begin to play his destined role: to shape the great world religion that is to come.
Francisco has woven a fascinating tapestry in this book series, with Yeshua’s Loom finally bringing all the threads of the series together. Revealing links between ancient polytheism and the new faith of Jesus is conveyed with deftness and sensitivity, which is important for a series that is taking some liberties with religious stories. Francisco intelligently fits together seemingly disparate elements into a unified whole.
For new readers, it may take a fair suspension of disbelief to be accustomed to the notion that all of this intriguing tale is being told by cats. However, animal lovers (and especially cat lovers) will respect the way she has made her cats a part of the divine creation and given them hidden wisdom, as cats have had a connection to mysticism throughout history, and these cats have an amusing take on their human counterparts. As a device for sharing the life of Jesus and his disciples, the feline observations are both charming and intellectually satisfying.
Francisco has created a singularly unique fictional series in Yeshua’s Cats, and Yeshua’s Loom offers a refreshing new vantage point for understanding events and people affected by Jesus of Nazareth, which works well as fantasy fiction and Christian parable.
Midwest Book Review
The fifth volume in the Yeshua’s Cats saga adds to the story of Paul the Apostle (begun in The Cats of Rekem), expanding the Biblical perceptions of its times through the unusual vantage point of sentient cat observers.
In Yeshua’s Loom, the young weaver whom Yeshua healed in Yeshua’s Cat embarks on journeys of her own, described by alternating cat narrators who find their own hearts (and those of their keepers) expanding as a result of Biblical events that unfold as one of the key elements in this cat-perspective survey of Biblical times.
While this reviewer seldom recommends that newcomers begin a series at any point beyond its opener, it should be noted that this fifth volume stands as well on its own as it does as an addition to the series, filling out events surrounding Biblical figures while creating new subplots and stories that all readers will relish.
One of the elements that will drive readers (even those who are not avid Christians) to this series in general and Yeshua’s Loom in particular is C.L. Francisco’s ability to bring to life a cat’s perspective and the feelings, sights, and sounds of the times: “I sighed again and closed my eyes. The son of Earth had explained what it meant for a cat to bond with a human. At the very least he expected me to stay by Aeliana’s side. But more than that, I knew he was depending on me to help her find her way in this new life so far from the hills of Galilee….So I was stuck. No way out. I closed my ears to the crashing fury of the sea and let my mind sink into the nowhere place, where all beasts go when life spins out of control and no more choices remain.”
These evocative, lyrical descriptions permeate the story as it follows the sometimes-puzzling choices humans make from the observations of sometimes-wiser cats who follow in their footsteps.
Journeys and confrontations, spiritual and social changes, and cats who share in the adventure make for a story that excels in cat’s-eye viewpoints of Biblical matters which are exquisitely portrayed, right down to reunions, joyful encounters, and celebrations: “Then, as we rounded a last corner, the fog swirled away and a storm of emotion broke loose, filled with many glad cries of greeting: my mate’s friend was the fabled Wind on Water, ben Adamah’s companion cat. The human female beside her turned out to be Maryam of Magdala, who had helped Aeliana settle in with Tirzah in Acco. A strange man emerged from the assembly’s depths to close the door on our noisy reunion, but I suspect Chariton and I were the only ones to notice. We stood to one side, a stolid male island awash in a sea of female enthusiasm.”
Under another hand, having three different cats as narrator/observers could have been confusing; but chapter headings clearly follow changing cat viewpoints while visionary dreams, tragedy, and struggles to heal follow the experiences of Aeliana, who evolves to become Lydia, a seller of purple and a biblical character from the book of Acts, who offers Paul unique wisdom destined to change the future of Christianity.
One might believe, from such descriptions, that the audience for Yeshua’s Loom will be limited to Christian followers or prior series readers; but this would be a shame. Its unique perspective, blends of philosophy and religious inspection, and astute observations of the puzzles of human faith, encounters, and dreams make it an attraction certain to grab any who seek thought-provoking accounts of Biblical times.
Yeshua’s Loom adds to the series in a powerful story that is very highly recommended to all readers who like historical events narrated from different perspectives; particularly those who would discover portions of Biblical history and people who do not usually receive close inspection.