Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

Title: Harvest of Rubies
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: River North
Pages: 372
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0558-6
Publication Date: April 20th, 2012

Synopsis: 
The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries. There is only one problem: she is a woman.

In her early childhood years, Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.

Sarah, the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah to lose her only source of external validation.

Sarah soon learns that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums - her very being proves to be a blessing to others particularly the aristocrat, Darius, she was given to in marriage.

Sarah and Darius' story continues in Harvest of Gold. Darius may be able to learn to love his wife, but can he ever learn to trust Sarah and her Lord?
Review:
Harvest of Rubies is the first book I have read by Tessa Afshar and I really enjoyed it. The story was fast paced, the characters had fantastic depth, and the details to the time were great.

The story follows Sarah, the only daughter to a scribe in the palace and cousin to Nehemiah, the cup-bearer to the king. She lost her mother when she was quite young. Her father didn't know how to take care of her and from that separation, Sarah grew up alone, desperate for any kind word from her father. In her solitude, Sarah taught herself to read and write the language of the Persians. When her father found out what she had done, he praised her and offered to teach her more. As her knowledge grew, she became invaluable to her father as she assisted him in her work. Through the years as she worked with her father and as she progressed, Sarah's cousin Nehemiah, kept updated on her work. One day, Nehemiah brought word that the queen was looking for a senior scribe, having dismissed hers. She was also hoping to find a female scribe. As the cup-bearer and councilman to the king, Nehemiah offered up Sarah's name for the position.

Sarah was excepted into the position and served the queen for a few years. With her knowledge, she was able to help the queen in many ways, and in doing so, the queen bestowed honor's on Sarah, however, one favor was not to Sarah's liking, a husband. Sarah's life is thrown in to disarray as she tries to find her place, not only with her husband, but in life.

With some action, a little romance, and a touch of sadness, Harvest of Rubies brings a fantastic look into the history of the Persians and how the Jewish people lived beside them and worked with them. It also offered an interesting time table showing how close Queen Ester was to the time of Nehemiah. It wasn't something I hadn't thought about.

Harvest of Rubies was an enjoyable story!
Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Tessa Afshar was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

Thank you to Moody/River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.

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