Veronica Painting

The True Picture

'The True Picture' is the story of Veronica (Vera - True, Icon - Picture). It starts, around 33 AD, in the city of Tyre where ex-temple dancer and high-class purple dye trader Veronica comes face to face with Jesus one night at the necropolis as he tours Phoenicia with a crowd of followers.

Veronica with Christ, cross and cloth

Gradually she gives up all her treasures to follow him, too. She loses her towering hair-do and bronze bust of Venus, and leaves a trail of jewellery through Galilee and by the River Jordan, singing and drinking her way to the station on the Via Dolorosa where she wipes her master's face with a cloth as he carries the cross. Famously, that image never fades: but the story of St. Veronica is refreshed in this funky new telling.

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Behind The Handkerchief


Nothing is known about the real Veronica. She may never have existed at all. She is not mentioned in the bible. She appears in the Catholic ‘Stations of the Cross’, number VI; the woman who wipes blood and sweat off Jesus’ face with her veil. ‘Vera Icon’ might just be a play on words, and the image that never fades might just be a myth; but legend says Veronica took the cloth to Rome and it healed Emperor Tiberius.

(My decision to make her Roman not Jewish was partly based on her name; Latin ladies didn't wear veils over their elaborate hairstyles but they did carry luxury linen handkerchiefs called sudarium.)


This version of her story is pure fiction set against a backdrop of gospel fact. Researched in fine detail, it follows the timeline of Jesus’ words and deeds according to historical and biblical evidence. But the voice of Veronica is fresh and modern as if this were happening now: the newest testament. There is some swearing, there is some sex… but there is total respect for the true picture.

Lift Veronica’s Veil
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Lift Veronica’s Veil

Find a glossary of Latin and other foreign words and phrases used in the novel, from toga picta to tzitzit, in True Words. Discover the background details to everything in the book from Bethesda Bath to Roman baths, gold talents to silver half-shekels, murex shells to ancient make-up in True Pictures. See the face behind the fiction and link to her writer’s website, in True Story.

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