"On my twelfth birthday, my father discovered that I could read."
It was easy to relate to Sarah. All she ever wanted was approval, but she never received it unless she did something amazing...like reading, writing, or spying. I've always been loved not because of what I have done, but because of who I was, so it would be hard to be in Sarah's shoes.. Throughout this book, Sarah comes to realize that she is indeed loved and wanted by someone, whose approval is really the only one that matters.
Many times, Sarah did some idiotic things and she always had to pay a severe price, whether the pain was physical or emotional. Her dense decisions put pressure on her relationships...even her own marriage. But despite her failure, I found myself quietly rooting for her, even after her embarrassing mistakes (like her wedding day)!
Sarah's husband was totally opposite. I had mixed-emotions concerning him. Several times over, I found myself yelling at him, "You're delusional, man!" Yet at times, I found myself "falling in love" with him right along side Sarah. Next scene, I'd be angry with him. By the end, Sarah's husband finally won me over even when he was still doubtful of Sarah's character. I liked that he always kept me guessing.
The story line was unique, fast-paced, enchanting, and caused some apprehension on my part. Constantly, a new sub-plot unfolded and captured my attention. Three times in the book, Sarah begins to search her heart and I found myself skimming those pages.
At the end, the author doesn't resolve everything, which irked me until I saw that another book was indeed going to be coming out, finishing Sarah's story and beginning Nehemiah's. So, I'll just have to buckle down and wait for that to come out.
Tessa Afshar is a master storyteller. I will be on the look-out for more of her books.
Recommended for ages 14 and up.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Moody Publishers blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Sarah finds purpose and fulfillment as scribe to the Queen of Persia. Pleased with Sarah's work, the Queen arranges Sarah's marriage to Darius Pasargadea, a respected and handsome aristocrat, as a kindness. However, after a disasterous wedding celebration, Sarah finds that marriage has stripped her of position, security and dignity. Locked in a miserable marriage and missing her old life, Sarah must open herself to new ideas and people, including her distant husband.
With Harvest of Rubies, Tessa Afshar cemented herself as one of my favorite authors. Having previously read Pearl in the Sand, I had high expectations for Harvest of Rubies and I was not disappointed. It had a unique storyline filled with a memorable protagonist, a little mystery and suspense, a history lesson and plenty of romance. I loved Sarah's personal and spiritual development. This is the type of book I could sit down with in the morning and read all day. Although I didn't have that luxury, it was that good! I am definitely looking forward to reading the sequel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from River North Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This is another wonderful Biblical fiction novel by Tessa! Other than a few verses, I haven't read the book of Nehemiah in the Bible, but you can bet I will be reading it after it came alive in this story. Though Nehemiah is a secondary character, Sarah and Darius became very real people to me. Sarah, with her misplaced sense of self based on the value of her work, and Darius, so intent on finding the truth but blind to his own judgmental ways, how we can still relate to them today. Combined with the stunning Persian palace life descriptions and historical tidbits are valuable lessons about trusting God, instead of leaning too much on the people around us. I also enjoyed the antics of Caspian, Darius' hunting dog, who became Sarah's friend. There is an excerpt of the next book about Sarah and Darius included at the end, and I enjoyed the peek into what will come next for these two.
With thanks to Moody Publishers, via NetGalley, for my review copy.
I throughly enjoyed Harvest of Rubies. The story line was easy to follow and I anticipated what would happen next. I really was pleased to learn more about that time and place in history and to encase it in real characters of the Bible made it even better. I look forward to reading her next book.