Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Harvest of Rubies

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Harvest of Rubies
River North; New Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
Tessa Afshar


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.


Remarkable Talent Threatens to Cloud a Life

The prophet Nehemiah’s cousin can speak several languages, keep complex accounts, write on tablets of clay, and solve mysteries. Her accomplishments catapult her into the center of the Persian court – working long hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and becoming the queen’s favorite scribe.

Not bad for a woman living in a man’s world: so why does Sarah feel like a failure?

A devastating past has left Sarah with two conclusions: that God does not love her, and that her achievements are the measure of her worth – a measure she can never quite live up to.

Darius Pasargadae is accustomed to having his way. A wealthy and admired aristocrat, the last thing he expects is a wife who scorns him.

Can two such different people help one another overcome the idols that bind them?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Harvest of Rubies, go HERE.

 A Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar is the first in a series of biblical fiction in the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon. Sarah discovered a way into her scribe father's heart by teaching herself to read Persian, and the quicker she learned, the more praise and attention she earned from him. When her cousin, Nehemiah, cup-bearer to the king, helps her earn a place at Persepolis, the palace, as the queen's scribe, she is at first terrified of such a rapid ascent. She loves her position in the palace, working with numbers and proving her worth through hard work, even though she constantly pushes herself harder and harder, fearful of losing her place and other's respect for her. When she solves a politically dangerous mystery for Queen Damaspia, the queen in turns does a "good" deed for Sarah by finding her a royal groom, Darius. Sarah's fear of marriage and complete lack of knowledge of all things feminine lead her to make a terrible mistake, shaming her husband and earning his disgust. He deposits her at his estate and leaves to stay at court, and Sarah, for the first time in her life, is forced to be herself without hiding behind work and numbers, and must do her best to hide her love for her husband. I had high expectations for this novel, but Afshar blew them all away. Sarah is so full of self-hatred, the reader can't help but ache for her and hope for Darius to see his real wife. Afshar carefully creates this very lifelike world that just springs to life under her capable pen. She includes mystery, romance, faith, and drama all into one powerful and thoroughly enjoyable novel. I was stunned when I came to the end of the book, nowhere near ready to say goodbye to the characters, so I am thrilled to know that a sequel is in the works!