Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Pearl in the Sand
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Moody Publishing
Release Date: September 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction
Year/Setting: Biblical Times/Jericho
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate
Tessa's Website/Blog: www.tessaafshar.com
There is always a very tenuous line with religious fiction; either it is extremely in-depth and wonderful, offering a look at characters that we’ve heard so much about since birth, or it steps over the line from a really good, poignant story into an in-your-face preachy novel. I am extremely thankful, and quite thrilled, with Ms. Afshar’s take on the stunning story of Rahab, her family, and how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. I also have an immense amount of respect for this author who, at the beginning of the novel, states that her story can in no way replace the power of the original scripture.
Rahab and her family lived in Jericho and worked the land. When this story begins, Rahab is fifteen years old and is completely horrified at watching how depressed and terrified her family has become. There is no money, no food, and the land has dried up completely, allowing no crops to burst forth from the dry soil. Her father (Abba) finally announces one morning that if he can’t get a crop that day than he is completely giving up. Rahab is beside herself, as well as her brothers Joa and Karem. Karem’s wife, Zoarah, is also deeply upset, and Rahab wishes with all her might she could do something to help her family. What she doesn’t foresee is her father’s choice to "sell" her to men in order to put food on the family’s table.
Rahab’s heart turns cold as she at least gets her father’s permission not to be sold into the temple, but let her pick the men she must be used by; if she has to do such a grotesque thing, than she at least wants it to be done on her terms. Father agrees, and Rahab ends up at the house of Zedek – a goldsmith who is her master for three months. By the time Rahab is seventeen she has saved enough to open her own inn on the city wall, and at twenty-six, Rahab owns the inn that is the most elegant and comfortable for her people and visitors. Soon, she hears about the happenings in Israel. One of her admirers tells her about this god who is helping an old man named Moses and the Hebrews. She hears the magical stories of seas parting, and evil gods being taken down by swarms of hornets, yet the Hebrews are being treated with kindness and are finding that wherever they go they are triumphant. Rahab is amazed that such a strong and powerful god is so filled with compassion for His own people.
Soon, Joshua appears, an army appears, she helps the Hebrews get into the thick walls of Jericho, and they, in return, save her and her family from destruction. The power of this story has always amazed me, and I love the fact that the author went steps further and really went in-depth with how Rahab felt – the mixed emotions of despising her family, yet offering herself up to God and apologizing for her sins. I also love the romance that is written extremely well between Rahab and Salmone; how his anger at her people turned to an acceptance and love of her as an individual. Beautiful words; beautiful story – I commend the author for taking the time to put such heartfelt words on paper.
Until next time, Amy
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