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Thief of Corinth (2018) by Tessa Afshar is a FANTASTIC stand-alone novel. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 368 pages in length. With a full-time job and a very busy six-year old at home, this novel took me two days to read. I received a copy of this book in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Tyndale House Publishers. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Thief of Corinth 5+++++ STARS. This novel is Biblical Christian Fiction.
About the Book
First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.
After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.
Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.
When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.
About the Author
Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel, Land of Silence, won an INSPY award, and was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016. It was also nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance. 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. Her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011. Tessa 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 serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate.
Connect with Tessa
Tessa Afshar is one of my most favorite Biblical fiction writers. She has an amazing talent gifted to her by God. Her research is always impeccable. Her writing is flawless. And, her story lines, aside from being fast-paced, high quality, and totally engaging, illuminate the Bible in ways that draw me closer to Jesus. Afshar is a diamond in the Biblical fiction genre.
Divorce is awful. The main character, Ariadne, suffers greatly because of divorce. Lots of novels discuss divorce, but what I really appreciate about Thief of Corinth is that it discusses divorce through the perspective of a daughter. Of all Tessa Afshar’s characters, I relate most to Ariadne and the struggles she goes through because of the dissolution of her parent’s marriage. There is one moment in the novel where Ariadne concludes, “Divorce left nothing the same. It pumped its poison with pinprick precision so that we barely noticed its lingering effects” (90). YES! This quote perfectly illustrates divorce, at least in my mind. Divorce is a poison that infects long after the papers are signed and the parents are separated forever.
My parents divorced when I was 11-years old. That was 26 years ago, yet I still have hang-ups because of it. To this day, I hate moving. I hate living out of a bag — when you are a divorced kid, living out of a bag becomes the norm because you are constantly switching from one parent’s house to the other’s. I hate conflict of any kind, and because of how my parents were with one another, I admit I am not really good at arguing with someone in a productive way. And, the most damaging of all, I hate how divorce broke my family into parts. I have three brothers. One sided with my dad. One sided with my mom. My middle brother and I tried to not side with anyone and just be our parent’s kids, but that always left us feeling like we were being pulled in both directions. It was confusing and frustrating. Honestly, there were some days I wished I belonged to a different family.
Later in the story, Ariadne states, “I felt like I had been through a siege, a mutilating war, and I was on the losing side. My family had shattered, and I did not know how to restore it. I felt it in my bones. This schism could not be repaired” (140-141). She is actually talking about something else at this point, but this notion really put into words exactly how I felt as an 11-year old girl. I know an 11-year old cannot control her parent’s decisions, but I truly felt like there had to have been a way for me to fix my family. I totally get it…divorce happens. Sometimes, divorce is necessary to protect a spouse and/or kids from abuse. No one should ever live in a home where they are being physically and emotionally beaten down. That is not God’s picture of marriage. But, sometimes divorce is not necessary, but done anyway, and a family is destroyed. As a child of divorce, the image Ariadne paints of being through a war is 100% accurate. What I loved so much about Thief of Corinth is that the divorced kid is given a voice. We are never given voices. Things just happen to us and we don’t get a say. We become bargaining chips in family court. I applaud Tessa Afshar for approaching such a tough topic in the respectful and honest manner that she does.
One final item that I really loved about this book is Ariadne’s change from atheism to belief in God. Such a realistic portrayal — it made Ariadne all the more endearing to me. At first, she isn’t sure she buys this “one God, personal relationship” idea. Some members of her family do come to believe in God wholeheartedly, and make appropriate lifestyle changes. Ariadne is not in the same place mentally or emotionally so these lifestyle changes seem radical. At one point she emphatically questions her father saying, “This fresh start you long for is the dictate of some religion? We are going to lose our home and our land for the sake of some hokey God, raised up in who knows what crumbled corner of the empire?” (214). If any of you are cringing because of this quote, know that I cringed too!
I have been Ariadne. Four years ago, my husband came to me with new Biblical insight. He was excited and wanted to share it with me. It would mean some lifestyle changes for us. I was exactly like Ariadne. At first, I questioned my husband as if he had lost his mind. I was upset, irate, and didn’t want anything to do with his blasphemy. God worked on my heart and I heard my husband out. Then I did some Bible study of my own and came to the same conclusions as my husband. We made the appropriate lifestyle changes and now our relationship with God is stronger than ever. But I fought it hard, like Ariadne, at first. I liked my life the way it was, but like Ariadne, I realized that my life was being lived for me and not for God.
Thief of Corinth is another home-run by Tessa Afshar. It is a highly engaging, fast-paced, compelling novel. The characters are realistic and well written. The romance is sweet and satisfying. The themes are timely, and the story made me turn to my Bible to reread parts of Acts, which I now see in a whole new way. Thief of Corinth is an excellent novel that I highly, highly recommend.
I am giving away ONE (1) paperback ARC of Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afhsar. The giveaway begins today, 8-7-18 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Friday, 8-10-18 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
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