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!!
This is the best Biblical fiction novel I have read in a while!
From the very beginning I knew I was going to enjoy this book. I don't know if it was Sarah or the story that won me over but nonetheless, this book is going on my keeper shelf. I confess, it wasn't until I was half-way through the story that I realized Harvest of Gold is technically a sequel to Harvest of Rubies; however, Harvest of Gold can be read as a stand alone. I only felt confused twice.
Oh, mercy. I loved Darius. I loved Sarah. They are an awesome couple. Both characters are beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed their story. I loved how she portrayed Nehemiah, I thought she did an excellent job bringing to life the man God called to rebuild Jerusalem's walls. He wasn't perfect. He was concerned. But though everything, he trusted in God.
All in all, this is a marvelous tale! Afshar represents the time period well. I hold such a deep admiration of her characters and I can't wait to see what she releases next! In the meantime, I'll be tracking down a copy of Harvest of Rubies to read. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy Biblical fiction.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through CFBA, in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
Harvest of Gold continues the story of Darius and Sarah that began in Harvest of Rubies. This story is mostly set in Jerusalem when Nehemiah returns to rebuild the walls that had been destroyed by the Babylonians about 100 years before.
Sarah discovers she is pregnant right before she is set to depart with Darius and her cousin Nehemiah for Jerusalem. If she tells Darius, he will make her stay home and she will miss seeing her ancestral homeland, which she has longed to do. She will also be acting as Nehemiah's scribe, so she will feel useful and enjoy her work. If she keeps her secret, Darius will feel betrayed and her marriage will have another hurdle to overcome. Will she endanger the health of her baby by rough travel?
Darius, with the help of Sarah, has uncovered a plot to assassinate King Artaxerxes. He is sent by the king to Jerusalem undercover to see if he can discover the originator of the plot. He has no plans to take his wife as he thinks it would be too dangerous. He soon discovers he has been outmaneuvered by Nehemiah and that his wife will be coming along. He doesn't discover her pregnancy until it is too late. He immediately withdraws behind a wall that blocks his emotions.
As the assassination plot is eventually solved, the marriage between Sarah and Darius continues to stagnate. He refuses to show emotion, which Persians view as weakness. He will listen to nothing to do with his wife's Lord. As he spends more time with her cousin, Nehemiah, his initial dislike for the man turns to respect and admiration. Darius must face demons from his past if he wants a future with his wife. He knows the only One who can help him do this is the Lord. Can he do it?
I very much enjoyed the conclusion of Sarah and Darius' story. The journey of Darius in the efforts to save his marriage is admirable. We all have demons, but when we face them through God's strength, we will be refined and made better people. I still enjoyed Sarah's witty sarcasm, but also her newfound respect and obedience to her husband. I look forward to more books from this author. I can recommend this entertaining story comprised in both books wholeheartedly.
I always enjoy reading Biblical fiction and this book was no exception.
I have wanted to read something by Tessa for a while now but just haven't gotten around to it, but I am glad I finally did with Harvest of Gold.
Sarah, the main female character, drew me immediately. She is a smart woman who loves her husband but doesn't push him to confess the same love.
Darius, Sarah's husband, holds back from loving his wife, although it is obvious he does but something is keeping him from fully letting her into his heart. That alone will keep you turning pages.
The story of Nehemiah is worked into the book as well. I recently heard a message on Nehemiah so hearing the story again from a fictional standpoint was interesting. His complete faith and trust in God is something we should all strive for.
A great read for anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for an honest review.