Sunday, October 25, 2020

Mercy's Refuge By Rita Gerlach

Mercy's Refuge
by Rita Gerlach
Publisher: Indie
ISBN: 979-8684517587

I honestly don't exactly know how I was blessed by seeing Rita posting on Facebook so much about her newest book that was releasing. It has been so fascinating learning about the people and the time period surrounding the Mayflower's voyage. What was even more fun was learning Rita doesn't live too far from me! She not only sent me the ebook version of Mercy's Refuge, she also sent me a paperback along with a handmade, gorgeous bookmark and two informational post cards!

Summary:

A young woman’s journey to the New World.

Inspired by William Bradford's 'Of Plymouth Plantation’, Mercy's Refuge is a sweeping historical novel of romance and adventure in the year 1620. Mercy McCrea, orphaned as a child and raised by her aging grandparents, lives in poverty. The only thing keeping her and her family from starvation is to work as a kitchen servant for a rich nobleman.

When catastrophe strikes and Mercy’s life is in danger, she flees England for her uncle’s farm in Holland. There she meets Caleb, a carpenter, and finds refuge among the Separatists who fled the wrath of the English King. Beginning in Ipswich, a North Sea port town in Suffolk, England, the novel takes the reader on a voyage across the English Channel to Holland, and then aboard the Mayflower.

When Mercy and Caleb face the dangers of the sea, their faith and love for each other is strengthened by the strong bonds of a people whose courage forged a nation.

My Review:

After learning so much about the people of the Mayflower, I had high expectations of Mercy's Refuge. I have to say, I wasn't disappointed! It was not at all what I expected, but so much more. While Mercy wasn't actually on the Mayflower, she was like our fly on the wall when they finally had their voyage.

What I wasn't expecting, but thoroughly loved was Mercy's story leading up to the journey. Rita's writing brought me smack dab into the time period of 1620. The way they spoke, the expectation of Mercy to submit to her grandparents, and how those of the lower class were treated were wonderfully done.

There was so much to love about Mercy. She wanted to honor her grandparents, who were her caretakers, but she also wanted to help them to not live so desperately. I understood her desire and it isn't surprising her grandfather was right in his assessment of how things would go serving at Lord Glenmont's home. I also appreciated her heart towards her family and her friends. While she would have times of being afraid or uncertain, she relied deeply on her faith and had a propensity to find the positive. She was such a great example of how to have peace and joy in the midst of hardship and uncertainty.

One of my favorite characters of the book is Martin. He's not in it much, but shows up throughout the story. I like him because he exemplifies true friendship. While Mercy conveys to him she's not the gal for him, he's still a devoted friend and stays that way to the end of the story.

I also really enjoyed Mercy and Caleb's meeting and their sweet relationship. While we all know that men can be cads, I love reading male characters who embody being a gentleman. Neither of these two had it easy to start with, to say the least!

The faith element was deeply rooted in this story and is seen through the characters. After reading the story, I understand more as to why they left England and then Holland. Nothing like a bit of history lesson in the book you're reading. :)

I look forward to reading more of Rita's books and here's to hoping for more stories based on true events!

About the Author:

Rita Gerlach lives in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. 

"Romantic historical fiction that has an inspirational bent, is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love," she says. "The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite from a stressful world and give them hope."

In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Her genre - Inspirational Historical Romance / Drama.

Rita incorporates into her newer fiction what she learned through her journey --- courage, faith, and the precious gift of family and friendship.

Visit Rita's website at http://ritagerlach.wordpress.com/

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Time-Slip Novels Not To Be Missed

I've read the occasional time-slip, but it doesn't seem like there's a huge selection of them in Christian fiction. Thankfully it seems as though this category is growing. After having read more in the past year or so I'm realizing how much I enjoy them! Here are a few that I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.

I was introduced to Amanda Dykes a year and a half ago when she released Whose Waves These Are. Wow! It was such a fantastic book. She has an exceptional gift for writing. She has a novella that goes along with that book called Up From The Sea. This summer she released Set the Stars Alight. I remember seeing her cover for the first time... I could not WAIT to read it!


Whose Waves These Are

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn't anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea. 

Set the Stars Alight

Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.

What can I say about Jaime Jo Wright? She is an incredible author. I had a couple of her books for quite a while before I finally caved and read one. Let's just say, for this big ol' chicken, the titles of her books as well as the covers made me a little wary. Ha! I finally dove in with The Curse of Misty Wayfair. C'mon, The CURSE of Misty Wayfair. hahahaha It was SO good! Then when I saw the cover of her newest release The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus. yea, yea, yea, this one made me nervous, too! Well, we're reading it for my book club this month so you know I loved it! I also have her book Echoes Among the Stones (tombstones are on the cover... spooky) and The House at Foster Hill (creepy, dusty old house entryway) on my to-be-read shelves!


The Curse of Misty Wayfair

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death. 

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

I've only listened to one of Erin Bartels' novels on audiobook, The Words Between Us. That was a story that came with such a mystery! It was completely unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyable! I was torn between caring more about Peter and caring more about Robin. I also really liked the supporting characters!


The Words Between Us

Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family's ignominious past. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.

When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book--a first edition Catcher in the Rye--is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.

Ok, I hate to admit this, but it's been forever and a day since I've read any books by Susan Meissner. In the late 2000s I took a long break from reading. I read here and there, but it wasn't much. I know she has a LOT of books out, many I want to read, but fitting them in... you should see my TBR shelves. They're packed with books that need reading. Heck, I might even have a couple of her books on them. Probably on audiobook or my Kindle. lol Anywho, back in 2009 I interviewed Susan when her book The Shape of Mercy came out. It's about the Salem witch trials. Oh man, this book tugged at my heart! Lady in Waiting is another of her books I read. She's so fantastic at split time novels!!




The Shape of Mercy

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.  

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail. 

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

Lady in Waiting

Manhattan in the current day: Antique-store owner Jane Lindsay had never expected that her husband of 22 years would walk out on their marriage. But when it happens, she feels powerless to stop the course of events that follow. Then Jane finds an old ring in a box of ancient relics and discovers a Latin inscription in the band along with just one recognizable word: Jane. In the sixteenth-century: Lucy Day becomes the dressmaker to Lady Jane Grey, an innocent young woman whose fate seems to be controlled by a dangerous political climate, one threatening to deny her true love and pursuit of her own interests. As the stories of both Janes unfold, it becomes clear that each woman has far more influence over her life than she once imagined. It all comes down to the choices each makes despite the realities they face.

Cathy Goehlke came on my radar this summer and her writing blew me away! I had no idea what I was missing having not read her novels before. Now, I have only listened to her books on audio, but they were well worth the experience. I enjoyed the narrators on the books I've listened to. The Medallion was the first book I listened to and it was excellent! If I could give a book more than 5 stars this would be it! As soon as I finished The Medallion I immediately started listening to Secrets She Kept. Now, I will say that these books are incredibly emotional and realistic. They're set in WWII during the Nazi regime.

 

The Medallion

An illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival.

Two couples’ lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war but forever linked through the fate of one little girl.

Warsaw, 1939. The German blitzkrieg has shattered the city. As Sophie Kumiega awaits news of her husband, deployed with the Polish Air Force, she is determined to keep her unborn baby safe. She didn’t count on being drawn into the dangerous and all-consuming plight of her neighbors.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined welcoming their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or letting anything tear their family apart. But Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is the half medallion she places around her daughter’s neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Secrets She Kept

The secret a mother was forbidden to share . . . the consequences a daughter could not redeem—but will risk everything in her attempt.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah unlocks secrets of her mother’s mysterious past, including the discovery of a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father, ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, demands a marriage for his daughter to help advance his career.  But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas secretly works against the Reich. How far will her father go to achieve his goal?

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who hides wartime secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.

Right now I'm currently listening to my first book by Kristy Cambron. I seem to have an affinity for stories set in the time of WWII and didn't even realize it. I had been wanting to read/listen to a book by Kristy for a while and just grabbed this one. lol The narrator has quite the task of reading aloud in a couple different languages and genders with The Butterfly and the Violin. This book is part of a series. I also want to read her Castle series as well! The Paris Dressmaker just came out so that's on my tbr list now also!



The Butterfly and the Violin

Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz--and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a younggirl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths withWilliam Hanover--the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul--who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and Williamslowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinistAdele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Which other time-slip authors have you been enjoying? I'm always looking for new suggestions!



Monday, October 19, 2020

Point Of Danger By Irene Hannon

Point of Danger
by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Series: Triple Threat
ISBN: 9780800736170

So, I have a few of Irene Hannon's books thanks to author, Natalie Walters. I haven't read them because... who has time? lol They sit on my tbr shelves calling my name! Since I had the opportunity to read Point of Danger for review from Revell, I figured now was as good a time as any to try her out!

Summary:

Hate mail was one thing. This was quite another.

Radio talk show host Eve Reilly is used to backlash from her pot-stirring on-air commentary and interviews. But now it seems a disgruntled listener is resorting to more than angry words to express their displeasure. When a suspicious package arrives on her doorstep, Eve turns to law enforcement for help.

Police detective Brent Lange can't find any evidence to link the string of unsettling incidents that follows, but he's convinced they're connected. As the harassment grows more menacing, it becomes clear someone wants Eve's voice silenced--permanently. 

But unless he can track down her elusive foe, the gutsy woman who is willing to take risks for what she believes--and who is swiftly winning his heart--may not survive.

My Review:

hahaha WOW! What did I just read? I wish Instagram Stories stayed longer than 24 hours because I'd tell you to go watch the ones I did about Point of Danger! If you've read any of my recent reviews of the suspense novels I'm reading you'll know I am "Ms. Detective" and I basically accuse everyone from the gate of being the bad guy. Of course all it does is throw me off.

The first sentence will have you clamoring for more:

"The package was ticking."

There's danger from the opening line and it doesn't stop until the end! And speaking of danger, there are a couple of storylines going on that involve it! Sheesh. First there's Eve Riley who is a stinking spitfire! She isn't going to put up with anyone's nonsense, even if she's being threatened. I guess when you're a controversial radio host you have to deal with crazy people. Something I never really thought of before.

And then... then there's Eve's co-worker, Meg. Sweetest thing ever, but then there's her husband. Let's just say he's the complete opposite of her. If you've ever despised a character before, let me just say, Meg's husband will set a new bar for you. lol When I read one scene where the author gives you insight into how his mind was working, I wanted to reach into the book and slap him silly!

Lastly we have some random people who are clearly gunning for Eve. That's the part that makes you start wondering what in the world is going on! Do these people go with the bomb threat from the beginning of the story? Are they a second set of people trying to take her out? With that added element, you're left guessing until the very end!

While I like Eve's character, I probably would've ditched the show and headed to Tahiti. HA! I really liked how her sisters played into her life and I can't wait to read their stories. Of course there's the knight in shining armor, Brent Lange, who took on the case and took it seriously from the start. I liked his straight forward talk and that he also wasn't one to put up with nonsense! I enjoyed the push and pull between he and Eve. The underlying current of attraction between the two just gives the story that extra "oomph" to help us enjoy the story!

This is just an aside and really is just me being curious, but the author uses the phrase (or close to this), "He set the brake on his car." Does anyone do that anymore? Don't we just put the car in park? lol If I'm on a hill, I'd set the brake, but not just to let someone out of my car. Just me?

Anyhow, I'm chomping at the bit for book 2 already and can't wait for it to come out!!

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including Hope HarborSea Rose LaneSandpiper CovePelican PointDriftwood Bay, and Starfish Pier, as well as Point of Danger and the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carol, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement Award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Mother Of The Bride By Cheryl Barker

Mother of the Bride
by Cheryl Barker
Publisher: BroadStreet Publishing
ISBN: 978-1424552368

As a mom of four it's no surprise that I hope to be a Mother of the Bride (MOB) at least 4 times. lol I've had the opportunity once so far and I know that all four will be very different experiences. That being said, when Cheryl reached out to me about her book, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read her book! She sent me her book for review and I'm excited to be reviewing it!

Summary:

Mothers in today's world wear many hats and struggle to keep the stress in their lives at manageable levels. Add the delightful but demanding new hat of mother of the bride (MOB) to the roles they are already juggling, and you have a host of middle-aged moms pushed to their limits, in desperate need of an empathetic voice and moments of nourishing relaxation.While trying to maintain life as they knew it before their daughters' big announcements, MOBs are called upon to magically morph into wedding planners, help their daughters navigate the journey to the altar, and establish new and loving relationships with their prospective sons- in-law and their families. With all focus, financial and otherwise, dedicated to the brides and the weddings themselves, the needs of mothers of the bride are overlooked.Mother of the Bride will help MOBs step away from the hurried pace of daily life complicated by a demanding new role. It will offer them the refreshment found in discovering community as they take time for themselves time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them.Through essays featuring relevant quotes or Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and practical tips for wedding planning, Mother of the Bride will nurture the all-important but too often neglected mother of the bride.

My Review:

First I want to say this is probably one of the most gorgeous books I've come across. The hardcover is embossed and the colors are very elegant. It also comes with a fabric bookmark attached inside.

My first thought is two-fold with Mother of the Bride. It would make a perfect book for a daughter to give their mom as they learn they're going to become a MOB or for a friend to give to a girl friend who has just learned they're going to be a mother of the bride! 

I think this was a good book for me to have read through since I've had the experience once. I'm able to get a good grasp on if and how this will be a benefit and encouragement to others. And I can say hands down that it is! Cheryl knows what it's like to be a mom not just the first time, but numerous times. She knows what it's like to plan a wedding near and far. She also recognizes that while it's different for each of us, there's a similarity that turns through the veins of all moms. And that's where she's able to encourage us through this journey.

I like at the end of each chapter, which are short and sweet by the way, Cheryl gives the MOB encouragement, a tip, suggestions for who to talk to, as well as a place to jot down your own thoughts from her prompt.

I know as mother of the bride, we encounter a lot of stress. I really appreciate in chapter four when Cheryl says, "When problems arise, Mother of the Bride - and they always do when planning a wedding - God will provide either solutions or the grace needed to handle the situations." She is so right on that!

A chapter I found amusing is about secrets! While weddings are exciting and we want to shout it from the rooftops, it turns out there are secrets we need to keep. Like when the young man who wants to marry your daughter comes to ask you for her hand in marriage. Been there, done that. Whew! Keeping my meeting with my future son-in-law was quite the feat! I had to be rather elaborate in my deception with my daughter and involved my son & his best friend in the scheme. hahahaha

My favorite aspect of this book overall is that while it's extremely practical, she reminds us how God fits into our planning! Cheryl reminds us to lean on Him, lean on the people around us, and to honestly just do the best we can with what we can. In a way, sometimes I felt like I was reading an etiquette book on how to properly be a mother of the bride, but not in a lofty way, but in a way that will bless your daughter, family, friends, and the Lord.

If you have recently become a MOB, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, I would encourage you to get your hands on this book asap! While Cheryl doles out good advice covering all kinds of topics, at the end of the book all kinds of worksheets for you to go through! There are questions to ask for the person you're interviewing as well as for people they use as references! Really, it's a gold mine for you!

Happy wedding planning! I hope and pray it's a smooth and blessed journey for your family.

About the Author:

CHERYL BARKER is a veteran mother of the bride and freelance writer. She s written for magazines, compilation books, and other publications as well as for Blue Mountain Arts greeting cards, gift books, and calendars. Her heart's desire is to refresh spirits and nourish souls. She and her husband live in Kansas and delight in spending time with their two adult daughters, sons-in-law, and precious grandchildren. Cheryl loves to take photos, enjoy friends, and indulge in daily doses of chocolate.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pearl In The Sand By Tessa Afshar

Pearl in the Sand
by Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Moody
ISBN: 978-0-8024-1986-6

I have to admit, I have been devouring Tessa Afshar's books. I have been enjoying them on audiobook and plan to get paperback copies as I can. That being said, I was incredibly thankful to be chosen to be on Tessa's launch team to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Pearl in the Sand. It was her first novel and I had never even heard of it. Of course, I was kind of on a sabbatical with reading when this came out so I'm not really surprised. Life was happening and I missed out on a lot of good reads, this one included!

Summary:

Can a Canaanite harlot who made her living enticing men be a fitting wife for a leader of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible's answer is yes.

This 10th anniversary edition of Pearl in the Sand includes new features that will invite you into the untold story of Rahab's journey from lowly outcast to redeemed child of God. Rahab's home is built into a wall, a wall that fortifies and protects the City of Jericho. However, other walls surround her too, walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness… Years of pain and betrayal have wounded Rahab's heart—she doubts whether her dreams of experiencing true love will ever come true…

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.

My Review:

I wasn't sure how I was going to respond to this story. There has been a lot of excitement about its release from people who read it the first time around a decade ago. Is it really that incredible? Well, I'm here to say that it lived up to its hype! Wow!

I know that any of the books I've read by Tessa have been amazing. They bring the people of the Bible to life in fantastic ways... fictionally, of course! Always have to keep that front of mind, these are fictional accounts of real people.

I'm honestly still in recovery from Pearl in the Sand. We meet Rahab at the beginning of her betrayal by her parents. While this is absolutely significant to the story and Rahab's life, it didn't impact me on a personal level until closer to the end. I know that most of the story, while difficult in and of itself, didn't impact me personally until the author got to the heart of the matter for Rahab - what she'd been through, how she responded, her betrayals, her lack of worth, etc. We read her pain through the words of the author, but when Rahab is confronted with her past, that's where we get to the nitty gritty of life.

It was so interesting to me, through this fictional story, to see the different ways God moves in a person's life. We sometimes ask if He cares about the little things, and I believe time and time again He shows us that he does. Think about it. The spies end up at the ONE place where they aren't turned over to the Canaanites. God knew Rahab would hide them. And I ended up really enjoying these spies. :)

It was amazing to read God's promise to Rahab fulfilled when the Israelites attacked Jericho. This entire city destroyed all around this harlot's inn. And to leave it all behind to join the Israelites... what that must've been like. That's where I appreciate an author's liberties to reach into their lives and imagine it for us.

And then we meet Salmone. Oh, Salmone. This guy has a rough go of it when Joshua makes the decision that Rahab's family will join the tribe of Judah. Oof! A harlot! In the tribe of Judah! I have to admit, Salmone gave me some really good chuckles! It's so interesting being able to look at one's self through a character in a book. How the author can make us look into the depths of our own hearts and see where we need more of God!

I really loved how Tessa used Joshua so much in the life of Rahab and Salmone. I also enjoyed the character of Miriam, Salmone's sister. She plays such a pivotal role in the life of not only Rahab, but in her family as well. 

The biggest take away, and the piece I'm still wrestling with is God's mercy. How the things of our past, those things that taint us and oftentimes break us, don't define how God will pour out His mercy on us when we turn to Him. The example that finally jars Rahab, and certainly wrecked me, was where the whole "pearl in the sand" comes in. Oh my gosh, if this isn't one of the most amazing allegorical examples, I don't know what is (outside of the Bible). It brought a fresh understanding of God's love for us... for me. It is such a wonder!

Pearl in the Sand is a book that, when you finish it, you just want to abide for a little while longer. One where (if you had the time) you'd go back and immediately re-read it. This book will be a top recommendation for anyone who asks about Biblical fiction. There is deep, abiding Truth that pours through the pages onto our hearts and minds. I'm so incredibly thankful for this book.

About the Author:

TESSA AFSHAR is the award-winning author of many biblical and inspirational historical fiction books, including Harvest of Gold which won a Christy Award and In the Field of Grace, a biblical fiction on the life of Ruth. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.

 
Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.