11 May 2014

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

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Remarkable talent threatens to cloud a life.

The prophet Nehemiah’s cousin has been catapulted into the center of 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. But a devastating past has left Sarah believing that God doesn’t love her and her achievements are the measure of her worth – a measure she can never quite live up to.

Darius Passargadae is accustomed to having his way. A wealthy and admired aristocrat, the last thing he expects is an arranged marriage to the queen’s scribe, an intelligent woman who scorns him.

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

Tessa Afshar’s Harvest of Rubies is another one of those books that sat on my “To Read” list for ages, and now, I cannot imagine why I waited so long to pick it up. Within the context of life in the Persian Empire, Afshar takes her readers on a page-turning journey with Sarah, as she attempts to understand from where her worth truly comes. Most of the night I spent debating whether to go to sleep or keep reading – in most cases, reading won. Afshar’s beautiful writing and storytelling make the book hard to put down.

While reading, I found Sarah to be a highly relatable character. She is witty, smart, respected, extraordinary for her time, and yet she still feels unsure, insecure and anxious. At many points, she believes she only has value because of the skills she offers as a scribe. But the spiritual growth she experiences from different events and conversations over the course of the novel serves as a great reminder of God’s faithfulness and goodness despite suffering and pain. Very encouraging.  

All in all, I loved reading Harvest of Rubies – with its endearing characters, fascinating history and setting, clever (and many times, laughter-inducing) dialogue and situations, thoughtful spiritual exploration. A fantastic example of biblical fiction, I think it definitely worth a read. Without a doubt, I plan on reading Harvest of Gold, Afshar’s sequel to Harvest of Rubies, as soon as I possibly can. Of course, I want to thank Moody Publishers for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 

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