Sarah is proficient in many areas - she can read and write in multiple languages, she can keep complicated ans lengthy accounts, and has a quick and sharp mind. The only thing stopping her from great success is that she is a woman. But when her cousin Nehemiah recommends her to the position of head scribe to the queen, she is completely unprepared for the events that follow.
Sarah has always measured her worth based on her accomplishments; if she fails in any aspect of her work, she sees herself as a failure as well. So when her position as senior scribe is threatened because of her success as the queen's trusted account holder, she is, for the first time in her life, being measured for who she is as a person. With no complicated rolls of parchment and clay tablets to hide behind, will she attain her own measure of worthiness? Or does God has other plans for His child?
This was a wonderful re-imagining of a fictional character set in Biblical times. Afshar deals with something that we all struggle with at some point in our life; the measure of our worth. Despite the lack of history Afshar had to work with as a background for her story, she does a marvelous job of re-creating the setting and bringing it to life. It was a story I could believe in and learn from, and an author that understands the very heart that beats in every one of us. Not only a recommended read, but one I will re-visit again and again.
A copy of this book was provided by Moody Press for free in exchange for an honest review.
I don't know how Tessa does it, but each of her stories are not only greatly entertaining, they're also loaded with a wealth of wisdom that is enough to change one's life entirely â€• and I don't say this lightly. This is pure reading goodness that is simply not to be missed
Written from the heroine's perspective, ''Harvest of Rubies'' invites readers to step in to the life of a young woman struggling with self-acceptance. Oblivious to the treasure that she is, Sarah, scribe to the queen of Persia, has been bestowed more honor than an average woman would receive in her entire lifetime. Her kindness, keen intellect and sharp ability to discern has won her many favors. All but the love of her own father who seems to be only interested in her talents. Ever since the death of his beloved wife, he shuns her. Where on earth is she supposed to find acceptance? Sarah then comes to the conclusion that only what she does matters and proceeds to immerse herself into her work, sowing time and energy and reaping more insecurities and fears. She stumbles into an arranged marriage with a Persian aristocrat but even this seems to be a recipe for a disaster, right from the beginning. When will she break free from it all? Will her heart ever be healed?
Captivating and mellifluously written, ''Harvest of Rubies'' is the kind of read that is impossible to put down. I wasn't halfway through it that I was laughing out loud, delighted by Tessa's sense of humor. The values flowing through this book reached for my heart and sprung tears to my eyes. It's a story meant to be revisited time and time again and the author writes with a golden voice that leaves a reader basking in the wonder and pleasure of it. Absolutely an excellent work again by Tessa Afshar.
What an incredible book! I tend to devour books; I can go through one or two a day. Rarely have I read a book that I immediately wanted to reread. This book was full of spiritual insight, had plenty of historical detail, and was also really excellent fiction. I don't find that combination often! It really helped change my perspective on a few things and has actually helped both my marriage and my relationship with God. Plus I thoroughly enjoyed the book!!
The time period was fascinating; I haven't read many books set in this part of history, and the author described it with such detail (while somehow avoiding seeming tedious) I felt like I was actually there! I don't know if I have ever fallen in love with characters the way I did with Sarah and Darius. Sarah was just so beautifully normal, so incredibly relatable, so flawed and yet so likeable. Even now, I almost think of her as a fond friend. Darius was - sigh, such a hearthrob! I almost fell in love with him right along with Sarah! Their dialogue and chemistry was wonderfully written.
And oh, the spiritual truths buried in this book! I feel like it has permanently changed my life! For one thing, the author illustrates so beautifully and poignantly how our true worth is not in what we look like or what we do, how smart or brilliant we are, or any of the other things we try to turn to to find our value, it's completely in how we are loved and treasured by God. She also pointed out something I had never heard before - that in Scripture, David's "why?" of God was different than our typical "why?" (I'll let you read it to find out the specifics) This was sooo convicting and has settled my relationship with God in a lot of ways - I was letting my questions make me doubt his goodness. Her depiction of us as the vine and God as the vinedresser was the best I've ever heard, probably because she told it from the point of view of an actual gardener - I feel like I grasp this illustration so much better now. And lastly, it might be a little shallow, but I have really struggled with the idea of beauty - what is our culture's idea of beauty, what is God's idea of beauty, and what the truth actually is. Through Sarah's experiences, I feel like I understand it so much better in a way I haven't before!
I can't wait for Tessa's next book! Already pre-ordered!
At first, I thought this book might be a little tedious- it began with a bit of backstory, and though it wasn't exactly boring, I must admit I wasn't expecting much. However, as the book went on, I really got hooked- if I had to leave the book for a moment, I was eager to get back to it!
Unlike a lot of historical fiction- especially Biblical/ancient history fiction, I felt this book was a lighter read- not that it didn't have story depth, but in the fact that it wasn't bogged downed with lots of historical information or hard language.
It was a little romanc-y for me (mainly near the end) and there were a few scenes I skimmed over because of it. However, overall, I really enjoyed this book.
This is a wonderful story set in ancient Persia during the time of King Artaxerxes and after Queen Esther's time. This is my first novel by this author and it won't be the last! Another novel, Harvest of Gold, continues the story begun in this novel and will be reviewed here soon.
Sarah is a young woman who can do something most other women of her time can't_read and write. She began teaching herself Persian at the age of 9 to earn her father's love and attention as he is a scribe in the royal palace. Sarah makes this her goal in life too. She achieves her goal, but isn't fond of the politics that go on in the palace. She solves a mystery for the queen and as a reward gets a husband. At the age of 23, Sarah is doing what she wants in life and doesn't want a husband, aristocrat or not. Once married, she will have to give up her dream. She tries everything to get out of the marriage, but to no avail. She knows she will be miserable in this marriage as she doesn't know how to cook, take care of a household and she certainly isn't pretty. What is she going to do with her time now?
Darius has been forced to marry a commoner and isn't happy about it. He promised his Jewish mother that he would marry a Jewish woman and he has kept that promise, but he isn't giving his new wife any benefit of the doubt after the stunt she pulled at their wedding ceremony. He catches glimpses of her true character, but he is reluctant to trust her. What is she up to? Can Darius learn to fully trust his wife? He finally returns home to a mess, but solves it with Sarah's help. He slowly begins to spend more time with her and learns more about her. She seems trustworthy, funny, loyal and spirited. Is this just an act?
Readers see Sarah's insecurities and her efforts to banish those insecurities through finding her worth in what she does and what people think of her. I can certainly identify with that. Can you? The wonderful wise gardener, Bardia, whom Sarah comes to love like a father tells her that pruning the vine is for its' own good and done to enrich its' yield. Sarah suddenly sees the parallel of the vine with her own life. It is at this point that she begins to see how God is using the difficulties in her life not to punish her, but to make her life better. She learns to pray to Him regularly and often and be content in her circumstance. I just loved Sarah, her witty sarcasm and the snappy dialogue between characters. Sarah's growth in faith is inspiring and at the same time challenging. I can definitely recommend this book without reservation. It is entertaining from beginning to end. Readers won't be disappointed.