Tessa Afshar Book Reviews
Tessa Afshar is an amazingly brilliant author of Biblical fiction. Her writing is flawless, her research is thorough, and her characters are so realistic they can’t help but pull at heartstrings. I love, love, love her novels. Every single Afshar novel I have read so far has illustrated a Biblical story, character, or parable in a way that enhances my Bible study and helps me understand Jesus and His ministry a little better. My wish is that via these reviews you, too, will find a new author to cherish, and come to a little more understanding of some of the Biblical stories you know and love.
Land of Silence (2016) — 5,000 STARS (LOL!) — this novel is Biblical fiction. Specifically, it is set during Jesus’s missionary. The story is about the woman who has a flow of blood for 12 years.
“I am learning that obedience to God means that you do not put your eyes on your longings, but instead, you simply place one foot ahead of the other into the space that the Lord opens. Tired, wounded, overwhelmed. It does not matter. You merely keep moving where God directs and stop focusing on what you wish you had.”
This is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read. God is SO much more than my puny brain could ever comprehend. I shamefully admit that I have always read the “woman with a 12-year flow of blood” quickly, checking it off in my head as another wonderful miracle Jesus did during His three-year ministry. I never actually looked at the woman. Until this novel, I never paid attention to the fact that she is the ONLY woman Jesus calls “Daughter.” WHAT?! And, I never paid attention to the fact that this woman’s story is paired with the story of a little 12 year old girl. 12 appears all over this story and I just passed it by, patting myself on the back for being a good Christian girl reading her Bible. Imagine me shaking my head at my own self!
Thank you, Tessa Afshar, for pointing this woman out! Thank you for doing the research we all should do, and showcasing Jesus as the truly compassionate, all-seeing, all-understanding God that HE is.
The characters are excellently written. The pain is searing. This is a novel that sticks with you well after you finish reading it. I love those kind of novels. As beautifully written as this novel is, what I appreciate the most is that something that takes a few lines in the Bible has now been blown wide open by Ms. Afshar’s novel. The bottom line in this novel: God is love, and God sees HIS kids always. God never takes His eyes off of us, even when it feels like He does. Such a novel of HOPE!!!
This book is amazing! I think you will agree.
Pearl in the Sand (2010) — 5 STARS — this novel is Biblical fiction. It is a fictionalized look through the eyes of Rahab, the former prostitute who helped two Israeli spies escape Jericho before God brought the walls of Jericho down.
Tessa Afshar is gifted by God. This novel is stunning! I have always loved Rahab’s story because it is one where a Gentile is redeemed, and I am definitely drawn to stories where the Gentile (like me!) is redeemed by God. These stories in the Bible give me great hope. And, I love this Biblical story because it leads to the Ruth and Boaz story line. I love that book in the Bible!
After reading this beautifully crafted and superbly written novel, I see Rahab’s story through fresh, new eyes. God is amazing! His love and mercy are astounding. This is a fantastic story with never a dull page. The characters are very well written and believable, the history is fascinating, and getting a small picture of what it was like as a woman during this time period was highly eye-opening. I am very grateful I live in the time period I do. God has blessed me with freedoms and luxuries Rahab never knew (fresh, clean running water in my home and the ability to have a respectful paying job come to mind).
This is a really excellent novel that I highly recommend. If you love the Biblical story of Joshua, the spies, Jericho, and Rahab, then this is the novel for you!
In the Field of Grace (2014) — 5 STARS — this novel is Biblical fiction. This book is a beautiful retelling of the Biblical book of Ruth. I would recommend rereading Ruth (it’s a very small, four-chapter Old Testament book in the Bible) before you begin this novel.
“Naomi enfolded Ruth in a warm embrace, before drawing back and patting her cheek. ‘If God spared us from the piercing shaft of every sorrow,’ she said, ‘we could never fulfill His best plans for our lives. Sometimes the sweetest things in life rise up out of the worst things in life.'”
I read this book in ONE day. I have a full-time job, a husband, and a five-year old daughter. To read a book in one day is an almost impossible feat for me. But, that is how good this novel is. I should preface by saying that Ruth is one of my most favorite books in the Bible. Two of my most favorite quotes ever come from this book:
“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you'” (Ruth 1:16-17).
“The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:12).
I may be a bit biased with this book because Ruth is one of my favorite books in the Bible, but truly this book is absolutely stunning. In my humble opinion, Afshar does a very good job of staying true to the characters in the Bible and their ultimate purposes. She brings Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz to life in a way that makes me feel like I could have actually befriended them if I had lived in that time period. Naomi’s pain is so real, Boaz’s goodness is made even more genuine, and Ruth is sweet and totally God-fearing. It is wonderful. And, the love story between Ruth and Boaz definitely made me smile. Love does overcome anything…even death, bitterness, and physical hardships.