Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The Peasant King By Tessa Afshar

The Peasant King
by Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1496458278

I'm a hands down HUGE Tessa Afshar fan! Her historical fiction set in Biblical times. She has a gift for bringing that time period to life. I was so excited to read the book that follows The Hidden Prince to see how Cyrus, Keren, and Jared were doing. I can tell you, it didn't disappoint! Tessa sent me her book as part of her launch team.


Jemmah has always thought of herself as perfectly ordinary . . . until she faces extraordinary circumstances.

When her mother, the Persian king’s famous senior scribe, is kidnapped, Jemmah and her sister must sneak undetected into enemy territory to rescue her. But infiltrating their adversary’s lands proves easier than escaping them. Fleeing through dangerous mountain passes, their survival depends on the skills of a stranger they free from prison: a mysterious prince named Asher.

Asher is not who the world believes he is. Despite his royal blood, he has had to climb his way out of poverty to forge success from nothing. A manufacturer of some of the best weaponry in the East, Asher has only one goal: to destroy his father. But following his escape from prison, Asher is irresistibly drawn to Jemmah, unaware that she guards her own secret.

Jemmah must convince Asher to give up everything he has worked for, all for the sake of a higher purpose he’s not sure he believes in. The fate of the Persian empire—and possibly the Judean people—hang in the balance and in the persuasive power of one ordinary woman.

My Review:

An entire novel read in under 24 hours? You've got to know that I was completely captured by The Peasant King for that to have happened!

First of all, I have to say that I think the cover of this book is one of my favorites this year. It's just stunning.

The story starts with us getting to know Jemma, one of Keren and Jared's children. They were from The Hidden Prince. Jemma, who doesn't see herself talented in any area of her life. Little does she know that she's about to be proven wrong in so many ways.

Then we meet Asher. He's a complex and driven character who happens to be the illegitimate son of a king. He also has something the king wants. Asher has zero intention of giving it to this man who refused to acknowledge him.

Let me just say, we are taken on quite the adventure with Jemma and her band of... fighters? Rescuing loved ones, facing numerous warriors, coming up against their own fears is just the tip of the iceberg as they ride over mountains, through fields, and open highways. Trust me when I say that the journeys they make are not smooth nor easy.

All the while, Jemma, Keren, Jared, and others speak Truth to those around them. The prophet, Daniel, tells Asher about Cyrus in Scripture. Keren and Jared have spoken for years to Cyrus about God, hoping he would put down his idols. It was fascinating to read a fictional account of someone seeing first hand God's miracles and yet attributing them to a god. And yet, Scripture tells us God used Cyrus to free His people. 

There were some really fun moments in this beautiful story as well. Jemma and Asher were cute as they figured out each other and gave in to sharing long-held secrets of pain. I enjoyed Zarina, Jemma's somewhat adopted sister. Was she ever a firecracker. And if she doesn't get her own story, it would be a travesty. The man who would appreciate her uniqueness would be fun to get to know as well. I have an idea of who I'd like to see, but we'll see if it comes to fruition.

The amount of research the author must have done for this story is mind blowing. From the food in that time, to the terrain, which plants would grow where, the different weather, numerous people groups, how people traveled, etc made this time period explode to life. I felt like I was on the journey with them.

Once again, I can't say enough about how incredible this author's historical stories set in Biblical times are! She does an exemplary job of writing characters you come to care for in a period of time that is sometimes hard to grasp all of the complexities.

*I received the book for review. This is my personal opinion.

About the Author:

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning, ECPA bestselling author of historical and biblical fiction. Her awards include the Christy and the INSPY. Her novel Land of Silence was named by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016. Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Book Award in the fiction category, and Daughter of Rome was a Carol Award finalist in the Historical Romance category. Tessa's first Bible study and DVD, The Way Home: God's Invitation to New Beginnings, won the Christian Book Award for best Bible study of 2021.

Tessa was born to a nominally Muslim family in the Middle East and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life before moving to England. She settled permanently in the United States, where she converted to Christianity in her twenties. Tessa holds a master of divinity from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She worked in women's and prayer ministries for nearly twenty years before becoming a full-time writer. Tessa is a devoted wife, a mediocre gardener, and an admirer of chocolate from afar. Visit her website at tessaafshar.com.


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