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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: River North
Publication Date: 2013
A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success will lead to an unlikely bounty.
In Harvest of Gold (Book 2), the scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriageSarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husbands love still seems unattainable.
Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mothers people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his lifeand even in his marriage?
"Afshar has created a treasure of a book. Brilliant characterization, adventure, intrigue, and humor coupled with deep emotional impact garner a solid five stars."
Kris Wilson, CBA Retailers+Resources, July 13, 2013
"I believe this is the first book I have read which takes place during the time of Nehemiah. Having participated in a year long small group study covering this book of the Bible I was particularly interested in Harvest of Gold. And of course I was excited to read this book because Afshar has become my favorite biblical fiction novelist since the release of Pearl in the Sand. Combine this with a healthy dose of cover love and I couldnt wait to get my hands on this book!
Afshars strong background in religious and historic studies shines through in her fiction. Her accurate use of historical detail and her gift in writing descriptions make her fiction come alive. Harvest of Gold is a beautiful exploration of the full meaning of marriage and its value as an example of Gods love for us. Also, the topic of spiritual warfare is explored in depth through the building of the wall and in the individual characters lives.
I believe this book would provide valuable bibliotherapy for those dealing with a miscarriage or even for those dealing with marriage issues. I cant wait for Afshars next release!"
Julia Reffner, review posted on Net Galley, August 12, 2013
"I like reading historical fiction novels, but rarely do I read one set almost 2500 years ago. Harvest of Gold takes place in Persia and in Jerusalem during the rebuilding of its walls in 445 BC. Having studied Bible history, I am familiar with Nehemiah's story and was intrigued as to how the author would involve this Biblical character. Clearly, this is a well-researched story and pretty accurate regarding this time in history.
The story is essentially about Sarah, an intelligent Jewish scribe, recently married to Darius, a Persian aristocrat, and their journey as their marriage unravels. Set during the restoration of Jerusalem during Nehemiah's time, the author uses the timeless principles in the book of Nehemiah as both Sarah and Darius struggle with issues of duty and faith.
I was unaware that this book is the sequel to Harvest of Rubies, and only realized this as references were made to events from the first book that I was clueless about. I wished the author would have summarized some things that had taken place in the first book. Notwithstanding this, I still enjoyed this novel. It was refreshing because of the setting. The plot also included an attempt to murder King Artaxerxes. I liked the author's notes at the end of the novel that further explained historical details.
Sarah is a strong female character and Darius is handsome and physically strong. There is passion between the two of them, although sometimes their behaviour confused me. One minute they are in each other's arms and the next they are pulling away and there is distance. They end up being apart for most of the novel. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a contemporary romance. Also, their dialogue often used expressions that were definitely not used in the middle east before the common era, such as the word "sweetheart" which originated in the 13thcentury and is an English expression. Because of this, there were times when I wasn't totally immersed or transported to the time and place of the story.
Overall, this was a good story. I have the first book Harvest of Rubies on my Kindle, and will probably read it in the future when I'm in the mood for another different historical setting. It had so many rave reviews on Amazon. If you like Biblical historical fiction and romance, I suggest giving this one a try, but perhaps after reading the first book. It's clean with plenty of action."
-Laura Fabiana, reviewed on Net Galley, Augusut 23, 2013
After having a chance to settle into her role as the wife of a Persian nobleman, Sarah is again called back to the court she once served in as a scribe. Intending to go with her husband for just a short trip, they are soon caught up in a plot to uncover who is trying to overthrow the king. Sent on a double mission for Darius to uncover who is behind the plot and for Sarah to serve her cousin, Nehemiah, as a scribe, the couple find that their marriage is very much like the walls of Jerusalem. Built on distrust and coming from different religious backgrounds, they must learn to work together as more than just a partnership. Can Darius put behind the disappointments of court life in order to fully give his heart? Can Sarah learn to let her God work on her husband and herself?
I enjoyed the first book in this series and very much appreciated that this one had the same flavor as the first. The details are rich and it is quite easy to become attached to the characters, since Tessa Afshar makes the Old Testament come alive. Excellent!
- Amanda Holmes, reviewed on Net Galley, September 10, 2013
After reading Harvest of Rubies I just had to continue on with the story of Sarah and Darius in Harvest of Gold. Sarah & Darius seem to have it all, money & power, but not the love of her husband. This story is about their marriage, how they both have issues and need to overcome them to become the man and woman God would want them to be to each other. I enjoyed this novel very much and look forward to anything put out by Tessa Afshar. Rated: 5 out of 5 stars.
Dawn Cronk, reviewed on Net Galley, November 4, 2013
Loraine5 Stars Out Of 5I enjoyed this fictional story about Biblical characters.July 20, 2016LoraineQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I really enjoyed this story of a husband and wife learning to love each other in Biblical times. The amount of historical detail that goes into this authors fictional accounts is so impressive to me. This book is set during the time of Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem and I loved the way that both stories wove around each other. Full review is on my website.
sentiNJAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Harvest of Gold - ebookJuly 22, 2015sentiNJAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Tessa Afshar's writings are well researched and I have enjoyed reading her books. I appreciate the historical background she includes, and the cultural threads that one sees running through her stories.
The characters in Harvest of Gold are well developed, very human, very real. The struggles of the Jewish nation as they try to rebuild Jerusalem after the return from exile is very poignant, and at the end of the day, the author leaves one with the sense of the presence of God in the midst of our struggles. I understand Darius' struggles, Sarah's heartache and Nehemiah's complete dependence on God.
I have read and reread Harvest of Gold multiple times, and have been studying the book of Nehemiah with new eyes.
What a wonderful read!
BookLoverGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Another excellent book from Tessa Afshar!April 26, 2014BookLoverGender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Harvest of Gold is the second book in Tessa Afshar's Harvest series. This book is set around the event of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. In it we continue to follow the story of Darius, Sarah, and of course, Nehemiah. Unlike Harvest of Rubies, we get to read the story from the point of view of all 3 main characters, something I immensely enjoyed. While I also liked reading the previous one from Sarah's view point, this one I felt had a little more depth. I liked knowing what was going on with each of them and what they were thinking.
If Harvest of Rubies is Sarah's book, then this one is Darius'. We get to know and understand him better. Honestly, he isn't a very likeable character, at first. He is hard, bitter, and I didn't care for how he treated Sarah. As I continued reading, I still had a hard time caring for him, though I did like him a little more. I finally fell in love with him about halfway through the book, when we start to understand what drives him.
Darius has a very high moral standard, so when Sarah doesn't tell him something important, he once again withdraws from her. I really wanted him to stand up and get it together, but that wasn't part of his character, yet. Even though I was rather apathetic toward him, I still enjoyed his journey. I was looking forward to seeing him redeemed and Ms. Afshar did an excellent job.
Sarah was her usual self; spunky, sassy, and bold. I still adored her and her heart. There was one point when I wanted to shake her, but that just made her more real to me. I have to really care about characters for them to frustrate me that much.
I believe the main spiritual themes of this book are forgiveness and surrender. Darius must learn both. He has spent most of his life refusing to feel or let others too close, but with Sarah in his life, breaking down his walls, he's struggling to maintain his distance. This alone makes him lash out at her when she makes a mistake. He lays all the blame at her feet and shuts down even further. He must learn to forgive, something that only truly works with the Father's help. He also must learn to surrender, which is a battle he fights through most of the book. I appreciated his struggle with both themes. Ms. Afshar doesn't try to gloss over either, but rather portrays both as the difficult issues they are.
Sarah must also learn to surrender, both to God and to Darius. She has been taking care of herself for so long, that she has a hard time trusting Darius to make decisions regarding her well-being. The same is true of her trust in God. When she faces a trial, she asks, "where are You, God?" as we all do at some time or another. She doesn't understand why God would allow the circumstance and she struggles to surrender to Him, to trust that He knows best.
I really enjoyed the secondary characters, Lysander, Roxanna, and Pari! While they really are secondary and we don't know them well, I fell in love with each of them. I wish Lysander and Roxanna would get their own book, but I believe Ms. Afshar plans to leave their story up to her readers' imaginations.
The descriptions were so vivid! I often felt as though I was actually there, traveling with them, or viewing the city of Jerusalem for the first time. Ms. Afshar really brings history to life in all of her books and this one is no exception! Her stories draw you in and refuse to let go until the end, even the occasional frustrating character can't take away from her masterful writing.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction!
debwilsonSummerfield, FLAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5December 21, 2013debwilsonSummerfield, FLAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Sarah 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.
Mesu AndrewsWashingtonAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent biblical novel!November 1, 2013Mesu AndrewsWashingtonAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Engaging. Inspiring. Heart- stopping and heart- rending. Harvest of God takes readers on a journey from ancient Persia to the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, re-building our hope as Nehemiah's story is woven through a complex plot with multi-layered characters we love and hate and then love some more. A fabulous biblical novel that sent me straight back to God's Word!