21 May 2019

The Heart Changer | Excerpt + Giveaway


Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village? Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 26, 2019


The next afternoon, all seemed bright again. Miriam attended to her mistress as Adara sat at her loom. Brilliant red, purple, and blue threads intermingled with bronze graced the tapestry, now a hand span in length. Miriam’s eyes were fixed on the shuttle as she cooled her mistress with a palm leaf. The day was especially hot. They could all feel the oppressive heat, which put the entire household out of sorts.

“Miriam, tell me more stories of your people. A people with a nation, and —so I’ve heard — a strong faith. I have need for a diversion to keep my mind off this hot spell.”

“Yes, Mistress,” she said, her eyes widening. Does my mistress truly desire to know about our faith?

Miriam crinkled her forehead, pondering the possibilities. There was so much she could say. So many people she could speak about. Then finally, it came to her.

“Joseph was a Hebrew who was despised by his brothers. They were jealous because his father, Jacob, seemed to love him best. He had a coat of many colors, much like your cloth here on the loom, that he made especially for his son. Joseph was the beloved of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. But she died laboring at the birth of his brother a few years later. The father was bereaved, so he placed his love on the shoulders of Joseph, making his ten older brothers angry. So angry, in fact, that they sold him as a slave one day to a caravan passing through their town.”

“How that father must have grieved,” said Adara, shaking her head, her fingers deftly working the loom.

“Yes, but it was much worse. The brothers lied and said he was killed by a wild beast to cover up their sin. They even smeared animal blood on Joseph’s beautiful coat and brought it to their father to prove he had met his fate on the road.” Miriam stopped fanning, so intent was she on telling her story. The mistress barely noticed.

“Oh, my! How could he bear it?”

“For years Jacob assumed his son was dead. He grieved for him every day.”

“And then? What happened to this treasured son— this Joseph?”

“He was sold as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt. Potiphar was a very influential man. Joseph was such a good worker that his master’s house was blessed because of him. But, one day, Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attacking her, which was false. But, he was put in jail nonetheless.”

“How unfair!” The mistress cried, raising her hands in alarm. Turning to Miriam, she motioned for her to resume fanning. Then, she continued her story, deep in thought.

“True. Nevertheless, our Almighty Yahweh gave Joseph a gift. He could interpret dreams. One day, Jehovah sent a disturbing dream to Pharaoh. And the only one able to interpret it was Joseph. The ruler’s dream was about the years of abundance followed by years of famine that were coming to Egypt.”

“So? And then?” The Mistress sat up, hanging on Miriam’s every word.

“Miraculously, Pharaoh, seeing his gift, put Joseph in charge of gathering grain during the seven abundant years, so they could sell it to the people of the land in the seven lean years. Joseph saved not only the Egyptians, but his own family as well. But, that’s another story.”

“Your God brought Joseph to Egypt at just the right time it seems,” Adara said with a sideways glance and with it came a sweet smile.

“Yes, He did. For such a time as this. Joseph had to be taken from his family and endure many hardships to do Jehovah’s will and save many.”

“Hmmmm.” The mistress seemed deep in thought as she stared at her weaving. “So, if I could hold this cloth above my head, these tangled threads on the underside are like the trials in our lives. They make no sense — all is confusion. But your God above sees a beautiful pattern on the topside. He sees how everything that happens in your lives comes together in a wonderful and meaningful way. Although you were snatched from your home in what seems to be a senseless act, maybe you were brought to our home, Miriam, for a special purpose.”

“Maybe.” Miriam grinned. She was beginning to like her mistress. To like her very well.


Jarm Del Boccio (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

The Heart Changer, her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, released with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband and adult son and daughter (when they are not away) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.


(1) winner will receive 1 print (US only)


(1) winner will receive 1 ebook (open internationally except where prohibited by law)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 20, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm May 27, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

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1 comment:

  1. I don't read a whole lot of middle grade books usually but I do like the sound of this one.