I can't describe how excited I was when I heard back from the publishers that I could review this book. I was even more excited when I received the book in the mail - I think I squealed about it the entire day, and after! I am, dare I say, Tessa Afshar's biggest fan. I adore her books. They have all made such impact on my life.
This is the sequel to Miss Afshar's "Harvest of Rubies" (excellent book!! Read it, do) and thus it is the continuing story of Sarah and Darius.
I was very pleased with this book, and it is so well-written. Just like the other books of Tessa Afshar's! :)
"Harvest of Gold" is about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and what is cool, is that in this book part of it is written from Nehemiah, the cup-bearer to the King, and also the one in charge of the rebuilding of the walls, point of view. To be honest, I wasn't sure at first if I'd like Nehemiah's part, because I was so used to Sarah's. But I was delightfully surprised! I really enjoyed his parts in the book as well.
With each book of Miss Afshar's, I am continually amazed - each book awes me even more!
The ending of this book is like, the best possible ending. The last few chapter are just amazing. There were parts that had me in tears! Miss Afshar has the ability to bring me to tears through all her books :)
However, I would recommend this book for older readers, rather than younger, as it deals with minor intimate marriage concerns. 17 and up would probably be my age recommendation.
That aside, I really enjoyed this book, and there are many valuable lessons in it. It is a book I will read again and again.
I'm pretty sure I could rave about her books all day long :) She is most definitely one of my very top favourite authors!
As I said, this is the sequel to "Harvest of Rubies"; you could possibly read this on its own, but I believe it is much more enriched when you've read the first one before this one. That way you understand a lot more and it has more depth and meaning.
Truly, this is an excellent book!! I am so thankful for the chance to read and review it. Five plus star book! :) (My Mum agrees with me that the books are excellent - she's read them all too!) =)
A big thank you to the publishers, as well as Tessa Afshar!!
I came into this novel with rather high expectations, because I really enjoyed the previous book, Harvest of Rubies. However, though this book did have its high points, I can't say I liked it quite as much.
First of all, this book really was a bit too mushy for my tastes (yeah, so the main characters were married, but that didn't really make me less uncomfortable. I skimmed some parts). It took me a while to get into this book. The author's writing style is very direct- her plotlines and characters are very good, but there isn't a lot of "pleasure of the language" itself that makes books such as the classics stand out. Sometimes I felt it was a little too straightforward with "such-and-such did this" or "so-and-so did that" with rather boring sentences. However, as the book went on and I got more into the plot, this didn't bother me so much. My favorite part was in the last half, where Darius really starts to change and grow in his faith. So don't get me wrong: I did like Harvest of Gold; it just wasn't my favorite.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Sarah and Darius have been married for almost a year, and things have not changed between them. She has fallen in love with Darius despite his faults and insistence that want nothing to do with the Jewish God. While there is mutual respect and tenderness between them, Darius cannot love her or believe in her God. Accustomed to hiding his emotions and true feelings behind a mask of indifference, Darius is unable to show Sarah the love she deserves. When a plot to kill King Artaxerxes is unearthed and Darius is called upon to hunt down the would-be assassin, everything they have worked for begins to crumble. Will they be able to resolve the differences they brought to a marriage they were forced into? And will Darius ever find the God his wife so desperately believes and clings to?
In the meantime, Nehemiah has been the highly esteemed personal cup bearer to King Artaxerxes for many years. After so long in the Persian court, he has grown soft and pampered as one of the king's servants. His heart is burdened and grieved, however, when he hears that the walls of Jerusalem have been torn down and the city ravished. Upon further investigation, he discovers that the inhabitants have long since fled, and those who remain are on the verge of breaking from the desolate living conditions. Will Nehemiah find the support he needs from those in high places to rebuild Jerusalem? Can the Lord's people be restored to their former glory?
This was a stunning re-introduction to the lives and story of Darius and Sarah. The supporting characters were just as good as before, and of course, the intrigues of the Persian court are beyond what words can describe. Afshar does what every author of biblical fiction wants: to take the reader to a time and place where we can feel we are truly a part of the story, and to a life that we can only dream of. To walk in our imagination the places of the past where the people of the Bible called home. To breath the heartbeat of the story as if it was our own. All of this is accomplished, and more; for you will feel like you have come home.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
I had this book pre-ordered as soon I finished "Harvest of Rubies," and the day it was supposed to arrive, I checked my door seven times to see if UPS had dropped it off yet. It was well worth the wait, and, just like the first book, I've already reread it and it has already changed my life. (I promise I don't say that lightly.)
There's plenty of mystery, humor, chemistry, history, and spiritual insight. I have never read a novel about Nehemiah, and it was so fascinating to enter and explore that world and time. The author takes more time to delve into Darius's history and character, and I loved seeing the journey of his relationship with Sarah, with all its pitfalls and victories. Sarah, aside from one foolish decision, was such an inspiration to me in my own marriage. The morning after finishing the book, at least four times I found myself saying something to my husband and then thinking, "Sarah would never have responded like that to Darius." Her love and respect and honor for him, even when he was not treating her well, have been so convicting and encouraging to me. (and I have a great husband!) It's probably impacted me more than most of the marriage books I've read and seminars I've been to! And of course, this book is packed with all kinds of spiritual insights and deep quotes (have I ever wanted to highlight a novel before?). It amazes me how Tessa Afshar can blend excellent fiction, witty dialogue, engaging characters, historical facts, and spiritual truths so well! I absolutely cannot wait for her next book!!