Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

Release Date: September 1st, 2010
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Source: Bought (From Borders--RIP)

Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible's answer is yes. Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab's untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well--walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness. 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.

Review: Did I ever mention that I have on occasion read Christian fiction? I haven't read many books in the genre (actually, I can count the number of books I've read on one hand) but the ones I HAVE read I really enjoyed*. Pearl in the Sand is one from that handful. I never would've known about this book if I hadn't seen it on Juju's site and of course, I was intrigued. Then that whole drama/book-buying-frenzy with Borders happened last year; I ended up buying Pearl in the Sand from Borders and devoured it quickly because the story was (and it was in no way preachy). My personal relationship with religion is a bit skewed but I knew enough that I recognized the story of Rahab: a young woman forced to become a prostitute to save her family who then found sanctuary with God and managed to carve out her own happily-ever-after (not without some sacrifices, however).

In Pearl in the Sand, Tessa Afshar creates a conflicted and hardened young woman who finds it impossible to trust any man. Rahab's life as a prostitute has squelched any hopes she's had of ever finding a man who wants her for her and not just her body. Despite her issues with how she sees herself, she has no trouble loving her family (or falling in love later on with her future husband). This contrast makes her character immediately likeable, as well as her keen intelligence and quick-witted dialogue. Salmone wasn't difficult to like either but like his future bride, he has his own issues to work through. What I loved best was that once they found each other, they had to face their own prejudices and fears and their marriage (at first very rocky) helped them both so much. They both came out as better people and fell even more deeply in love.

Final Verdict: I really enjoyed Pearl in the Sand. Tessa Afshar did a great job of bringing an old biblical tale to life with fully developed characters, lovely writing and a genuine faith that never feels demanding to its characters (or intrusive to the reader). I'd recommend Pearl in the Sand to anyone that wants a well-written story that seamlessly combines history and romance but with a soft-spoken message of Christianity that anyone can relate to: that learning to love and accept yourself (as well as others) is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Clickables: {main site}{awesome book trailer}
*A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. <--this is another book that turns me into a book bully. If you're not adverse to reading Christian fiction, read this story because it's soooo good. It's part of a trilogy and it made me weep in anger, sadness and joy.

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