Tracy L. Higley in her new book "Isle of Shadows" a Book in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World series published by Thomas Nelson takes us into the life of Tessa of Delos.
From the back cover: Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free.
Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.
But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.
Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus's Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.
As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom--and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart--as forces collide that shatter the island's peace.
The island of Rhodes, 227 BC. These hardy Greeks really did build a statue to their god, Helios we call The Colossus of Rhodes. It stood 110 feet high and overlooked the harbor. All the activity on the island seems to be done in the shadow of the bronze marvel. Tessa of Delos is a very interesting character. She has been the property of a rich politician for ten years. She is a courtesan being used as a slave for sex. She has realized that she will never be free and is contemplating suicide. However all kinds of events transpire that give her hope that she now has a chance for her longed for freedom. However there is the issue of murder that has to be dealt with, a romance with someone who may be another slave and the Jewish servant who points the way to the real God. "Isle of Shadows" is great fun. It is history, a thriller, adventure and a romance all rolled up in an extremely entertaining ball. Ms. Higley knows how to write characters that come alive off the page. This is a fast-paced read that will keep you guessing as to what is really going on. "Isle of Shadows" is a very exciting story and I am looking forward to more from this very talented author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. 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."
I was a little apprehensive coming to this book, due to what I knew of the Greeks: they, my friends, were incredibly immoral. Like with Garden of Madness, I really appreciate the author's writing style. She doesn't downplay the awfulness of the sin around the characters, but she doesn't elaborate on it. As the main character, Tessa, has an occupation that is basically that of a prostitute, the novel could have been pretty sordid. Thankfully, it was not graphic. We know what Tessa does, but we never see her doing it.
Tessa's pain was incredible, and I liked how the statue of Colossus mirrored Tessa's own journey. At the beginning, she is like the statue: a stone and unfeeling image of what she could be. And then, as the statue cracks and tumbles, so does the wall around her heart.
My favorite part was the Passover scene with Simeon and his family; I celebrate Passover myself, so I always enjoy reading about it.
I wouldn't say I liked Isle of Shadows as much as Garden of Madness, but I did enjoy reading it, and I found it educational about Ancient Greece. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book about the wonders of the ancient world: So Shines the Night, which takes place in Ephesus around the Temple of Artemis.
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Tracy has done it again! Having previously read Garden of Madness, I had high expectations for this book. Not to my surprise Tracy has crafted a wonderfully intricate story including a beautiful enslaved woman, an assassination plot, and true freedom and redemption found only in God!
Isle of Shadow was definitely a page turner. The first sentence drew me in like a fly, "In the deceitful calm of the days preceding disaster, while Rhodes still glittered like a white jewel in the Aegean, Tessa of Delos planned to open her wrists." I was instantly captivated and taken back to 227 BC to a beautiful island where ships came to and fro, the wealthy and poor mingling on the streets, and where God's love to both greek and jew was evident.
Tessa of Delos was a woman of much sorrows. She had endured much cruelty in life that left her heart like bronze. Many people compared her to the goddess Athena, hard as a stone. On the outside she appears so, but it's just a cover. Having been hurt so much, she has decided to stop feeling, locking her heart away. What a deep and profound character Tessa was. With such hurt as hers you just couldn't wait to see how the Lord was going to touch her and turn that heart of stone to flesh. At one point of the book I teared up, showing just how emotionally drawn you can become to this book. Your heart went out to her from the start. She handled emotions the way many people do today allowing me to connect deeper with her.
The glossary of words before the book was most helpful. It showed how detailed she was, remaining accurate to the time period. I enjoyed this book immensely and could sing its "greatness" to you, but to believe me you're going to have to read it yourself. I give Isle of Shadow a 5 out of 5!