Tag Archives: Tessa Afshar

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018, Part 2

10 Jul

A couple of months ago, I took advantage of a TTT Freebie week to post the best books I had read so far this year. (Check out that list HERE.) But that’s okay, because I have another 10 novels to add to the list. 2018 has been a great reading year! The books on my list vary in genre and include new-to-me authors as well as time-tested favorites. What about you? What are some your favs from this year?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ favorite books.

 

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2018, Part 2!

 

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

What are some favorite books you have read this year?

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Audiobook Review: Land of Silence

14 Jun

Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?

 

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of top five Christian fiction titles of 2016 and won the INSPY Award for General Fiction. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year in the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards. Tessa lived in the Middle East for the first fourteen years of her life. She then 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. She holds an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTessaAfshar/.

 

My Impressions:

I was looking for something a bit different for my morning walks when I came across the audiobook Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar. I had heard a lot of good things about this book and Afshar has never disappointed, so I decided to travel to Judea during the time of Christ while getting some exercise. I am very glad I did! This one provided a wonderful listening experience. If you are looking for Biblical fiction that will keep you engaged while making you think, then I highly recommend Land of Silence.

The novel is an interpretation of the life of the woman with the issue of blood who reached out to touch Jesus’ garment. Elianna’s story begins with the tragic death of her young brother. From there Elianna struggles with guilt and feelings of unworthiness. Her life is filled with more tragic events, some that are out of her control and some that are of her own choice. But regardless of the causes, the circumstances impact her life and her relationships. The novel is written in Elianna’s first person voice, giving the reader insights into the reasons for her actions. There were some times I wanted to shake her, LOL! How many times did she resist grace and choose her own limited strength? Sounds a bit like my own life. That’s what makes Elianna a character that readers can relate to.

Land of Silence is well-researched and richly detailed. The manners, customs, laws, and traditions of Judea and the Roman rulers are naturally woven throughout the novel giving the reader a glimpse into the lives of the characters. Secondary characters are well-drawn and add depth to the story. Inclusion of historical characters in the fictional framework gives the novel an authentic feel. While the novel is a fictionalized account, the what-ifs presented feel credible. In Elianna’s quest for healing, she endures a number of medical procedures that leave her worse off physically, emotionally, and financially. I found it interesting that she was willing to seek out these so-called physicians yet was reluctant to go to Jesus. It reminded me that many, including myself, will try just about anything to find relief from the trials of the world, but use God as a last resort.

I am glad I chose the audio version of Land of Silence. The narrator did a great job of capturing Elianna’s personality. I felt like I was listening to a real person’s life story. This was especially effective when Elianna finally meets Jesus. The depth of gratitude and awe brought tears to my eyes.

Land of Silence was a great listening experience. This book is a highly recommended read.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Valentine’s Day with A Twist Edition

13 Feb

Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance. And who doesn’t like a good love story? You know the kind. Heroic hero who loves you no matter what, a love that transcends time, a story that stays with you long after the last page is turned. That Artsy Reader Girl has allowed bloggers a Love Freebie this week on Top 10 Tuesday, so I am sharing Biblical love stories because no one loves like God. These novels involve flawed characters, messy (and sometimes disgusting) situations, and a God who is indeed the lover of our souls. I’m sharing books based on OT stories, the ones that you know from Sunday School, but may have never read in quite this way. Well-researched, these books don’t always have God-honoring elements (because let’s face it, God’s people often have their own agenda), but they do have at the center a God who loves unconditionally even when the characters (and we) mess up.

For what other bloggers are sharing, click HERE.

Top Biblical Love Stories

 

Abraham and Sarah (A Love That Stands The Test(s) of Time) — Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith 

Boaz and Ruth (Love And A Great MIL) — Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith

David And Bathsheba (Lust at First Sight) — Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Hannah and Elkanah and Penninah (A Mean Girl Love Triangle) — A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Hosea and Gomer (A Bad Girl Love Story) — Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Jacob/Leah/Rachel (A Really, Really Messy Love Triangle!) — The Lowlands of Scotland Series by Liz Curtis Higgs

Job and Dinah (Wait! What? Yes, It Really Works!) — Love Amid The Ashes by Mesu Andrews.

Rahab and Salmon (Opposites Attract) — Pearl in The Sand by Tessa Afshar

Samson and Delilah (Love and Betrayal) — Delilah by Angela Hunt

 

What’s your favorite love story?

 

Congrats 2017 Inspy Winners!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Inspy Awards. What a great bunch of books! Many of these are on my shelves; the rest I will be adding to the TBR list! Got to get reading!

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Just A Kiss by Denise Hunter

Debut Fiction

Close to You by Kara Isaac

General Fiction

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Historical Romance

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Literature for Young Adults

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Mystery/Thriller

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Speculative Fiction

Shattered Vigil by Patrick Carr

 

Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith.

Book Review: Pearl in The Sand

14 Aug

51ycWviNHOL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well — walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith . . . of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

 

71ECfis7JBL._UX250_Tessa Afshar was voted “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category and World Magazine chose Harvest of Rubies as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel, Harvest of Gold was nominated for the 2014 Christy Award. Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, 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 cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last fifteen years in full-time Christian service in New England.

 

My Impressions:

Pearl in The Sand was my book club’s August selection and was a big winner. Tessa Afshar’s novel generated the most and best discussion we have had in a long time. Extremely well-written and meticulously researched, this retelling of the story of Rahab from the book of Joshua pointed to further scripture reading for our members — an important by-product of reading Biblical fiction. One of our members said this is one of the best books we have read, and we have been meeting for 13 years! We all loved this book and give it a very highly recommended rating.

Pearl in The Sand opens when Rahab is 15 years old and her parents, facing financial ruin, decide to use Rahab’s assets. At the prospect of becoming a prostitute, Rahab takes control of the situation and decides who and when. Betrayal from her family, especially her father, rejection from a former lover, and the years of being used by her customers, leaves Rahab feeling worthless. But rumors of a God who saves His people and overcomes all enemies, peaks her interest and she finds herself longing for an escape from the bondage of sin.

There are so many positives to this novel. First off, there are a lot of what ifs that Afshar posits. She creates a plausible story line by being faithful to the Biblical narrative, incorporating the customs of both Canaan and Israel, and creating characters who develop and grow in a natural way. Of course the main characters of Rahab and Salmone take center stage and are very compelling — their love story is sigh inducing! But the secondary characters are well-drawn and just as important to the story. Afshar’s narrative moves quickly and keeps the reader turning the pages. Spiritual themes of forgiveness, mercy, and grace are expressed in creative and poignant ways. We recounted many favorite scenes from the book that are excellent examples of God’s love and care for His people. God is shown as “impossibly holy and ridiculously merciful” — I love that phrase! Sexual sin and its consequences are explored in a realistic and sensitive manner. Afshar handles the pain, shame and burden that many people carry even after receiving forgiveness.

With beautiful themes of God’s love and mercy, characters that are real and relatable and a writing style that cannot be beat, Pearl in The Sand is one we say is a must read!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

August Book Club Selections

3 Aug

Here are the books my two book clubs will be reading this month. Have you read them? What did you think?

 

51ycWviNHOL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_Pearl in The Sand by Tessa Afshar. Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well–walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith…of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

 

51dfH32zyfL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.