Pearl in the Sand

( 125 )

Overview

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...

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Pearl in the Sand: A Novel

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

In Pearl in the Sand, Tessa Afshar has created compelling characters that bring new meaning to this well-loved biblical tale.
-- Jill Eileen Smith, bestselling author of Michal and Abigail

Pearl in the Sand, the story of Rahab the harlot who became an ancestor of Christ, delivers a very powerful truth within its pages: forgiveness, redemption, and the changing power of God. An unforgettable read, Novel Journey and I give a high recommendation.
Ane Mulligan, Editor
Novel Journey
 

Library Journal
At the age of 15, Rahab is forced by her father into prostitution in order to help her Canaanite family survive. It is a profession that Rahab is good at, and she quickly saved enough money to purchase her own inn inside the walls of Jericho. She is visited by two Israelite spies who tell her of a planned attack; in exchange for housing, the spies promise that her family will be spared. Living with the victorious Israelites, Rahab and her family learn about God. Salmone, a leader of Judah, is leery of Rahab because of her past, but he slowly learns that her dedication to God is genuine. VERDICT Afshar, an Iranian-born Christian convert, has done her research in this retelling of the Old Testament story. In addition to crafting a well-written tale, she pays particular attention to historical details and setting. This superb debut should appeal to readers who enjoyed Davis Bunn and Janette Oke's The Centurion's Wife or Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802458810
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 320,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, lived there for the first fourteen years of her life, and attended an English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last twelve years in full- and part-time Christian work.
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First Chapter

pearl in the sand

a novel
By TESSA AFSHAR

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2010 Tessa Afshar
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-5881-0


Chapter One

Dawn had yet to appear when Rahab tumbled into consciousness, courtesy of an impatient nudge. "Stop your laziness, girl. Your brothers and father are almost ready to leave." Her mother gave Rahab one more unnecessary shove.

Rahab groaned and gave up on rest. Bleary-eyed and sore, she forced herself to rise from her bedroll. For two months she had been doing the work of men, waking before daybreak and wrestling the land all day with little food, water, or rest to renew her strength. It was useless-even at fifteen and only a girl she could see that. Their land had produced nothing but dust. Like the rest of Canaan, Jericho was in the grip of a brutal drought.

Though she knew their efforts to be wasted, every day she pushed herself almost past endurance because as long as they stayed busy, her Abba had hope. She couldn't bear the thought of his despair.

"Child, hurry," her mother snapped.

Rahab, who had already folded her bedroll and was almost finished dressing, continued her silent preparations at the same pace. She could move no faster if the king's armies were at the door.

Her father entered the room, chewing halfheartedly on a piece of stale bread. His face, pale and drawn, glistened with sweat. Rahab finished tying her sash with a quick motion and snatched a piece of hard barley cake that would serve as breakfast and noonday meal. Giving her father a tight hug she said, "Good morning, Abba."

He stepped out of her embrace. "Let me breathe, Rahab." Turning to his wife he said, "I've made a decision. If I find no sign of a crop today, I'm giving up."

Rahab sucked in her breath just as her mother let out an agitated wail. "Imri, no! What will become of us?"

Her father shrugged and walked outside. Apparently his season of denial was at an end. He was admitting defeat. In a haze, Rahab followed him. She knew this day would be no different from the others. The thought of her father's wretchedness made her cringe.

Her brothers Joa and Karem were waiting outside. Karem munched on a raisin cake, a luxury their mother saved for her eldest son. His wife of one year, Zoarah, stood close, speaking in tones too soft for Rahab to hear. In spite of her worry, Rahab bit off a smile at the way they held hands. Theirs had been a love match, a rare occurrence in Canaan. Although she teased her elder brother at every opportunity, Rahab's heart melted at the thought of such a marriage. Sometimes in the cover of darkness when the rest of the family was long asleep, she dreamt of having a husband who would cherish her as her brother did his Zoarah. Lately, however, her thoughts had been too consumed by worry to leave room for pleasant daydreams.

Standing as far off as their tiny garden allowed, Joa, the youngest at fourteen, gazed at nothing. Rahab had not heard him string three words together in as many days. It was as if the drought had dried up his speech. She noticed dark circles under his eyes, and his tall frame seemed gaunt. He had probably left the house with no food in his belly. She reached for the bread wrapped in her belt, tore it in two, and brought it to Joa. Insufficient even for her, it would have to do for both of them.

"You eat that, young man."

Joa ignored her. She sighed. "You don't want me nagging at you all the way to the farm, do you?"

He glared at her with irritation, then held out his hand. She lingered to make sure he ate it, then traipsed after their father.

Their pace was brisk as they walked toward the city gates. Rahab noticed that even Karem, who was rarely given to broodiness, appeared ashen with anxiety. Finally he broke the silence that hung over them. "Father, I went to Ebrum in the market as you told me. He refused to sell me oil or barley for the price you said. Either he has doubled his rates since you last purchased from him or you are mistaken about the price."

"Send Rahab, then. She negotiated last time."

"Rahab. You might have said," Karem drawled, a good-natured glint lighting his eyes. "One glance at her pretty face and every thought of sums and profits leaves Ebrum's flat head."

"Not so!" Rahab objected, her voice rising higher with annoyance. "It has naught to do with my face, thank you. I am better at bargaining than you, that's all."

"Bargaining you call it? Batting your eyelashes more like."

"I'll bat my broom at you if you don't watch your tongue."

"Hush," their father commanded. "You two make my head hurt."

"Pardon, Abba," Rahab said, instantly chastened. As if her father needed more trouble. She must learn to subdue her impulses. He carried so much care on his shoulders she wanted to be a comfort to him, not an additional burden.

She could think of no words that would console him. Instead, following instinct, Rahab reached for her father's hand and held it. For a moment he seemed unaware of her presence. Then, turning to gaze at her with an unfocused expression, he registered her proximity. She gave him a reassuring smile. He pulled his hand out of hers.

"You're too old for hand-holding."

She flushed and hid her hand in the folds of her robe. Her steps slowed and she fell behind, walking alone in the wake of the men.

At the farm, they examined row after row of planting, looking for signs of life. Other than a few hard-shelled beetles, they found nothing. By noon, Rahab was too dejected to continue, so she sat while the men finished their careful inspection. When they returned, her father was muttering under his breath, "What's to be done? What's to be done?"

Rahab looked away. "Let's go home, Abba."

At the house, she swept aside the ragged curtain that served as a front door and dragged herself in. Her mother shooed her out with a wave. "Give your father and me some privacy."

Rahab nodded and walked back out. She sank down against the crumbling mud wall, alone in the lengthening shadows. She longed to find a way to help her family, but even Karem and Joa had been unable to find work in the city. Jericho, already bursting with desperate farmers in need of work, gave them no welcome. How could she, a mere girl, be of any use? The sound of her own name wafting through the window brought her distracted mind back into focus.

"We should have given her to Yam in marriage last year instead of waiting for a better offer," her mother was saying.

"How were we supposed to know we'd be facing a drought that would ruin us? Anyway, the bride price he offered wouldn't have seen us through two months."

"It's better than nothing. Talk to him, Imri."

"Woman, he doesn't want her anymore. I already asked. He's starving right alongside us."

Rahab held her breath, not willing to miss a single syllable of this conversation. Under normal circumstances the thought of eavesdropping wouldn't have entered her mind, but something in her father's tone overcame her compunction. She flattened herself like a lizard against the wall and listened.

"Imri, there will be no going back if we do this."

"What else can we do? You tell me." A heavy silence met her father's outburst. When he spoke again, his voice was softer, tired sounding. "There's no choice. She's our only hope."

Rahab felt her stomach drop. What was her father scheming? Their voices grew too soft to overhear. Frustrated, she strode to the end of the garden. In a dilapidated pen, two skinny goats gnawed on the tips of a withered shrub, already stripped to bare wood. With the men and Rahab working the fields every day, no one had cleaned the pen. A putrid stench assaulted her senses-an apt background for her roiling emotions, she thought. Her parents had been referring to her as the means of the family's salvation. But it wasn't through marriage. What other way could a fifteen-year-old girl earn money? Taking a sudden breath, Rahab put her hands to her face. Abba would never make me do that. Never. He would rather die. This was nothing more than a misunderstanding. But the knot in her stomach tightened with each passing second.

* * *

"Your mother and I have been discussing your future, Rahab," her father began the next morning as Rahab rose from her bedroll. "You can help your whole family, daughter, though it will be hard on you. I am sorry-" he broke off as if at a loss for how to continue.

He didn't need to finish his words. Horror seized her so tightly it nearly choked off her breath. With rising dread she realized her worst fears had come to pass. The nightmare she had dismissed as a misunderstanding the night before was real. Her father meant to sell her into prostitution. He meant to sacrifice her future, her well-being, her life.

"Many a woman has had to do it-younger even than you," he said.

Rahab threw him an appalled look. She wanted to scream. She wanted to cling to him and beg. Find another way, Abba. Please, please! Don't make me do this. I thought I was your precious girl! I thought you loved me! But she knew it would be useless. Her father had made his decision and would not be swayed by her entreaties. So she swallowed every word. She swallowed her pleas and her hopes. You'll never be my Abba anymore, she thought. From the time she had learned to speak, she had called her father Abba, the childish endearment that demonstrated her affection for the man closer than any person in the world to her. That childlike trust was shattered forever. The sorrow of this realization was almost more overwhelming than the reality of having to sell her body for gain.

As though hearing her unspoken words, he snapped, "What choice do I have?" Rahab turned away so she wouldn't have to look at him. The man she had cherished above every other, the one she had trusted and treasured was willing to sacrifice her for the sake of the rest of the family.

This was not an unusual occurrence in Canaan. Many a father sold his daughter into prostitution for the sake of survival. Even so, the commonplaceness of her father's choice did not calm Rahab. There was nothing mundane in the realization that she was expected to live the life of a harlot.

Her father's breathing sounded shallow and quick. "In the temple, you will receive honor. You'll be treated well."

Rahab gasped as if he had struck her. "No. I won't go to the temple."

"You will obey me!" her father yelled. Then shaking his head, he gentled his voice. "We need the money, child. Or else we'll all starve, including you."

Rahab strangled a rising scream, forcing herself to sound calm. "I am not refusing to obey you, my father. Only, I won't go to the temples. If I have to do this, let's not bring the gods into it."

"Be reasonable, Rahab. You'll have protection there. Respect."

"You call what they do there protection? I don't want the respect that comes with the temple." She turned and looked him squarely in the eye, and he dropped his gaze. He knew what she was talking about. The year before, Rahab's older sister Izzie had given her first child to the god Molech. That baby had been the joy of Rahab's heart. From the instant her sister knew she was pregnant, Rahab had felt a bond of kinship with him. She'd held him minutes after his birth, wrapped tightly in swaddling, his tiny, perfect mouth opening and closing like baby kisses intended just for her. Love for him had consumed her from that one untainted moment. But her sister wanted financial security. She was tired of poverty. So she and her husband Gerazim agreed to sacrifice their son to Molech for the sake of his blessing.

They paid no heed when Rahab pleaded that they change their minds. They were determined. "We'll have another baby," they told her. "He'll be just as sweet. And he'll have everything he wants rather than be brought up poor and in need."

Rahab went to the temple with them on the day of the sacrifice. She went hoping to change their minds. Nothing she said moved them.

Her nephew wasn't the only baby sacrificed that day. There were at least a dozen. The grounds were packed with people watching the proceedings. Some shouted encouragement to the priests who stood before enormous fires, covered from neck to ankle in white, offering prayers. Rahab recoiled at the sight, wondering about the nature of a god who promised a good life at the cost of a priceless baby's death. What kind of happiness could anyone purchase at such a price? She held her sister's precious boy in her arms for as long as she could, cooing to his wriggling form. He smelled like sweet milk and honey cakes. Rahab nestled him against her one last time as she kissed him good-bye. The baby screamed when rough hands wrenched him from Rahab's arms, but nothing like his final shriek as the priest reached the raging fire ...

Rahab stumbled back into Gerazim and found Izzie already slumped there.

That was the day Rahab promised herself she would never bow her head to such gods. She hated them. For all their glittering attraction, she had seen them for what they were. They were consumers of humanity.

Now Izzie and Gerazim's land was as wasted as Imri's. So much for Molech's blessing. She would never seek it. No, the temple wasn't for her.

"Rahab," her father pleaded, biting an already ragged fingernail. "Think of the life you'll have outside the temple. You're young. You don't understand."

It wasn't that she felt no fear. Life for prostitutes outside the temples was hard, risky, and shameful. But she feared that life less than she feared serving Canaan's gods.

"Father, please. I don't know if I will be able to survive temple life." Daughters were expected to obey their parents without question. Her objections and pleas could be construed as disobedience. Her father could take her to any temple by force and sell her, and she would have no recourse. She told herself her father would never stoop to such behavior, but then remembered reassuring herself only the night before that he would never ask her to prostitute herself either. The very ground under her feet had been shaken. Nothing seemed secure anymore.

Karem, who had walked in halfway through this exchange, burst out, "Father, you can't do this to the girl. She'll be ruined!"

Imri slashed the air with an impatient wave. "And you have discovered a way to support the family through the winter, perchance? You have arranged a job? An inheritance from a rich uncle we knew naught about?"

"No, but I haven't tried everything yet. There are other jobs, other possibilities." Rahab's heart leapt with hope at her brother's support. But the hope died quickly with her father's response.

"By the time you realize your confidence amounts to nothing, your pretty bride and unborn child will be dead of starvation. Rahab is our only sure means of survival. Our only means," he repeated with brutal assurance.

Karem dropped his head and did not speak again.

Rahab sank to the floor, unable to check her tears. Imri moved to the opposite side of the room and sat in a corner, staring into space. All discussion ceased as their unspoken words separated them. In that silence, Rahab felt a wall rise up between her and her father that was as impregnable as the walls of their city.

It occurred to Rahab that they were both mired in shame. He because he had failed her as a father-a protector-and she because of what she was about to become. She felt numb with his betrayal. A sense of loneliness darker than anything she had ever known closed in over her heart like the seal of a tomb.

* * *

In the end, Imri could not refuse his daughter's one request. Rahab's refusal to enter the temples put her parents in a quandary, however. How were they supposed to find customers for Rahab? At the temple things were straightforward. But doing things Rahab's way meant none of them knew how to go about it.

"There's a woman who lives round the corner from us; she used to train the temple girls," her mother said. "Now she helps girls that are on their own."

"I know the one you mean." Imri whispered. "She seems hard."

"I know her too." Rahab had seen the woman slap one of her girls until blood spurted out of the girl's ears. "Perhaps that is not the best plan."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from pearl in the sand by TESSA AFSHAR Copyright © 2010 by Tessa Afshar. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 125 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(91)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Great story!

    This book is a wonderful look into the life of Rahab. Others that I have read stop when she is accepted into Israel, this one goes much further. I appreciate how it showed the struggles of Rahab to go beyond her past and realize that she is truly loved by the Lord and that she is worthy. Many people need to come to that realization. Good read!

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 14, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    This book is such a great read! It is truly touching and heartwarming. You can feel everything the characters feel, or at least I could!!! I've passed this book along to many others to enjoy and experience. Out of all the biblical fictional stories I've read this one is by far my favorite!! I had to constantly stop myself from crying as I read this book on the train going to work. Not everyone can relate to the feelings that Rahab must have experienced but it sure makes you think you can!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    Outstanding Christian Fiction

    This was a stunning debut novel. I like Christian fiction that retells the stories of biblical characters; such as Liz Curtis Higgs' Scottish Rose trilogy and Francine Rivers' Mark of The Lion trilogy. After reading both of those outstanding series, I thought I would never find another Christian fiction author whose writing I enjoyed as much. Then Tessa Afshar came along and proved me wrong!



    The plot is outstanding, the characters were relatable (despite the fact that the story takes place in B.C. Old Testament days), and the writing was excellent. I'll definitely be back for more from Tessa Afshar.


    Just One Gripe:
    Don't read the author's notes before chapter one. If you do, you'll spoil the ending of the story for yourself. Of course, if you know the story of Rahab from the Bible you will already know what happens anyway.

    The Best Thing About This Book:
    The emotions Afshar elicits in her readers---I out-and-out cried twice and teared up at least two more times.

    Appropriate for a younger audience:
    Yes

    Score:
    Characters: 5/5
    Plot: 5/5
    Setting/Imagery: 5/5
    Originality: 5/5
    Ending: 5/5
    Total Score: 25/25

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Novel - A Must Read!

    WOW! This is a fantastic book. I've shied away from Biblical histories in the past, afraid they would be too textbook-ish. This novel couldn't be further from that description! "Pearl in the Sand" is, of course, fictional. These events happened so long ago very few facts are available. Yet Tessa takes what little truth is known and weaves it into an entirely believable fiction. Because Rahab was a prostitute and yet turns her life over to the Hebrew God, acknowledging Him as THE God, certain things about her personality can be construed. Tessa gives Rahab a set of emotional baggage that the reader accepts as logical for a woman in her circumstances. Another thing I truly enjoyed about this novel was Rahab's seemingly bipolar beliefs about God. She has complete and utter faith in Him as The Lord and yet is unable to see that He could forgive her past or that He would think that she has value. Rahab, through the pen of Tessa Afshar, thinks God "seems at once impossibly holy and ridiculously merciful." What an apt description! We mere humans can't figure out how God can be both, because for the most part we are incapable of both at the same time. Rahab also has a refreshing way of looking at how to serve the Lord. Because this novel is set during the early days of Israel, the people are more "religious" than we are accustomed to being. Yet everyone talking constantly about God and the need to pray and listen for His word doesn't seem the least bit preachy. It's appropriate for the context while at the same time these devout believers still struggle with pride, jealousy, and being judgmental. How very like modern Christians! This novel is a historical fiction yet relevant to life as a Christian today. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Biblical history or if you just like a good love story.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Highly recommended for Christian and historical fiction lovers!

    Rahab's story is not told in detail in the Bible. We know she helps the Jewish spies in Jericho and her faith saves her entire family. We know she marries into the Tribe of Judah and is in Jesus' bloodline, but apart from this we really don't know anything about her. Tessa Afshar takes the few facts we know about Rahab and creates a wonderful fictional story of faith, love, forgiveness and restoration that will stay with me for a long time.

    When I started reading Pearl in the Sand, I expected some sort of Biblical fairy tale where the poor abused heroine is rescued by the dashing hero and they live happily ever after. Not so much. Pearl in the Sand takes you from the circumstances that force Rahab into prostitution to when she meets Salmone and they fall in love and marry.

    But the book does not happily end there. Like a lot of married couples, Rahab and Salmone have a very rocky start to their marriage stemming from low self esteem, un-forgiveness, self-righteousness and unrealistic expectations. While I was reading, there were times that I was mad at Rahab for emotionally sabotaging her own marriage and annoyed with Salmone for being so angry! While I loved this book as a whole, the really beautiful portion was what happened with the characters after the marriage. Even though we have no idea what really happened with these people so many thousands of years ago, Pearl in Sand is written so well that you are left thinking it could have happened this way, or better yet, I hope it did!

    Content: This is not a YA book even though I think it would be okay for older teens. The main character is a former prostitute and both she and her husband have emotion and sexual issues stemming from this.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A classic! MUST READ!

    Last night I sighed contentedly as I flipped the last page of Pearl in the Sand. A smile was etched on my face even though it was two o'clock in the morning. Indeed I was and still am beyond content. It has been a long time since I have read a book that wowed me with its beginning; it chained me throughout it, and then liberated my very soul with its beautiful ending.

    Pearl in the Sand is a story about Rahab as it has never been told before. It makes you really think about what you might not have thought of before. For example, as a Christian you have to wonder if I or any other young lady with that kind of a past walked into our church. would she be accepted? Not only this, but if you came to God after having such a life, would you accept yourself? This story tackles the redemptive power of God and how when He changes one person, He changes many.

    Tessa Afshar in writing this story wrote a master piece that I would liken to Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series, even Quo Vadis (books I could read over and over again and never get tired of). She has put humor in just the right places, the dialogue comes alive and I often found myself laughing aloud at Rahab's cleverness. When Salmone walked into the stage of this story Tessa delivered a wide range of emotions expertly turning an already emotionally packed story into an explosive Romeo and Juliet. did I say that? Well I take it back it was better then that!

    My words simply cannot do this story justice. It makes you really makes you think. Do you have a horribly stained past? An unforgivable past? So did Rahab. Yet Tessa shows us how the unredeemable become redeemed by an infinitely wonderful God. Have you built up walls around yourself that are impenetrable? So did Rahab and this is a story of how those lofty, impenetrable walls come crashing down.

    What you reach what some have come to call "the scene" and you finally understand why the book is called what it is called-I will not exaggerate-you will be left breathless. You won't for get this book and you will never think of Rahab in the same light as before. Most importantly, if you have ever fallen, if you have ever failed, if you have ever given yourself to temptation and thought you were lost forever.then Pearl in the Sand is a must read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    Truly a MUST read!

    This is THE best book I've read in a LONG time!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Pearl In The Sand

    Rahab was forced into prostitution at the age of 15 to save her family. She deplores her trade, but manages to achieve financial independence and opens an inn for travelers and the occasional client. When Jericho's destruction seems imminent, she hides two Israelite spies and obtains a promise that she and her family will be spared from death. Rahab's choice to join the nation of Israel was easy to make, but hard to hold to. She faces rejection and Salmone, the man helping her family integrate into Israel, downright terrifies her. She knows what he sees - a prostitute, impure, unlovable woman. What she does not know is that miracles happen. Miracles of love, healing and reconciliation. The story of Rahab has never been more romantic or powerful than it was while reading this book. I waited several days after reading the book to write this review. I just wanted to sit on it and think. I also went to the books of Joshua and Matthew in the Bible to read the times that Rahab was mentioned. I'm happy to say that the basis of the book seems to be right in line with Scripture. Of course, some of it is fictional. The Bible tells nothing of how Rahab and Salmone met and fell in love. However, the fictional parts were told in such a way that it was believable. The plot was well-written and filled with romance - a wonderful combination. Pearl in the Sand is definitely a keeper. I highly recommend it and I have no doubt that I will read it again. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    Biblical fiction with fascinating romance

    Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afsha is top notch biblical fiction about one of Jesus' ancestors. Rahab was sold into prostitution at just fifteen to support her family. But their salvation came at a high price: she feels as though only her body has value, and her family views her with jaded eyes and judges her harshly for the choice they forced her to make. She uses her intelligence to build a successful inn within the walls of her home in Jericho. Because of her troubled life, she has rejected the gods of her people, but when she hears about the Hebrews' god who freed them from Egyptian slavery and is helping them to destroy the most powerful nations in Canaan, she wonders if this god will also see her as worthless. She helps the Hebrew spies, risking her own life, which saves her family from the destruction the rest of the city of Jericho faces, but now she must try and make her new home in a people that see her as soiled because of her past and suspicious because of her nationality. Afsha truly makes Rahab come to life, and she is instantly a sympathetic character. It's a moving story of a broken woman becoming healed by the love of God and a good man, and is therefore, timeless. Readers will gain new understanding of an intriguing and enigmatic biblical character in a fresh and fascinating way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an entertaining biblical romantic work of biographical fiction

    In Jericho, Canaan Rahab grows up as a contented girl until her family becomes destitute. Though ashamed and humiliated by his actions, her desperate father turns innocent fifteen year old Rahab into a prostitute in order to feed the family. Rahab vows to face her harlot duty with valor and select those who can use her services. She is very successful at her vocation with plenty of wealthy patrons. In fact she is so good, she buys an inn abut to the city walls as her place of business.

    When Rahab rescues two Israelite spies, they thank her for saving their lives by informing her that the Israelite army will attack Jericho and that God has told them how to breach the wall. In gratitude, the operatives direct her to place a red ribbon above her family door so that she and her kin are saved from the onslaught. The assault leaves the entire city dead except for Rahab and her family who seek to join the conquerors. Judah military leader Salmone is irate the spies made a deal with a prostitute because he fears she and her family will bring trouble and idolatry worship. However, Rahab shows her love for the Israeli God and soon the warrior realizes he loves and wants her as his wife. She loves him, but fears he will always reject her as a pagan prostitute.

    This is an entertaining biblical romantic work of biographical fiction starring two wonderful lead protagonists (from the Book of Joshua) whose cross-starred love seems doomed. Their relationship starts rocky and continues to remain troubled even though they fall in love and marry. The pace is leisurely, but fits nicely in the tone of the story line and its strong message that it is not your birth but your actions in regard to God that redeems the soul as further accentuated (though not in this novelization) by the Old Testament story of their more famous daughter-in-law.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2010

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    The story of Rahab, history brought alive!

    Most of us likely remember the exciting Bible story in the book of Joshua about the Israelites marching around the city of Jericho over a seven day period. On the seventh day, they blew their trumpets and the walls came crashing down, amidst cheers of victory. One part of the story that we might have forgotten is the story of Rahab, a prostitute who was living in the city of Jericho at the time. She saved the lives of two young Israelite men who had been sent ahead as spies, by hiding them under some bundles of flax on her rooftop. In turn, the two young men agreed that Rahab and her family would be saved when the city was destroyed.

    Pearl in the Sand is a fictional account of Rahab and her family. Very little details are given in the Bible about Rahab, and the author of Pearl in the Sand has made this dramatic time in history come alive in a fresh and exciting way. The characters are real and very believable, and the story is captivating from cover to cover. This is an incredible story of redemption, forgiveness and second chances, but one that we can relate to in many ways.

    I can't recommend this book highly enough, it was fantastic!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Deeply spiritual book about realistic people

    I am not sure what I expected from this book but it blew me away! I am not generally a reader of romance novels or of biblical fiction but the thing that struck me about this book was its realistic view of human character. This was not a Disney-like teen romance where the story ends at the first kiss or at the wedding. The wedding actually was in the middle, leaving a lot of time for BOTH the bride and groom to deal with MANY issues, including guilt, shame,pride, presumption, unforgiveness, etc. As each person grew, the story got more and more satisfying. When the scene came that gave the book its name I was very moved.
    This story was a tall order - there is not really much info on the characters from the Bible, but the author did a wonderful job working through the question: how does a prestigious member of a godly nation (just after his nation was in trouble for intermarrying with other nations) end up marrying a heathen prostitute? How does such a woman come to embrace the one God and end up in the Davidic and messianic line? And generally, what does redemption really look like? Is it all sunshine and roses, or do real people have to work through their pasts to achieve real peace and joy?
    All this and more were worked through in a way that rang true as I read it. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of this book. Definitely a good read. Thanks!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    READ IT!

    Really great book! Love it. It's a heart-warming story, and Rahab's husband is a great example of a good godly man. Please read! It'll be a blessing to you.
    John 3:16 Jesus loves you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    One of my most favorite books of all time! READ THIS!!!

    I loved this book and couldnt put it down. Then i lent it to my mom and she couldnt put it down either! Its a beautiful story of love and forgiveness and at the same time it is super interesting from an histoical perspective. I have recommended it to all my friends. I hope this author puts another book out soon!! SO GOOD!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Awesome book!

    A captivating love story that shares realistic compromise in relationships. Could not put it down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

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    REALLY GOOD

    I usually am not a big bible based book fan, but this one was really good. I couldnt put it down. It was one of those books where you instantly love the characters, and you just root for them the whole way. Highly reccommended :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Clean andcaptivating

    Beautifully written .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Amazing!!!!!

    Simply amazing, very well written and extremely captivating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Great book about Rahab

    I enjoyed the book because it gave a different view of Rahab.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Awesome

    Enjoyed ths reminder of how much God loves us

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