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!


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.


Alissa Baxter said...

I love this book! I read it when it came out all those years ago. This wonderful review has made me want to read it again.

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