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A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success will lead to an unlikely bounty.
In Harvest of Gold (Book 2), the scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage—Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband’s love still seems unattainable.
Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother’s people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life—and even in his marriage?
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About 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.
Read an Excerpt
Harvest of Gold
By Tessa Afshar, Pam Pugh
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2013 Tessa Afshar
All rights reserved.
THE TWENTIETH YEAR OF KING ARTAXERXES' REIGN WINTER, PERSEPOLIS
Sarah's head snapped up as the door to her chamber burst open with uncharacteristic force. Her friend and handmaiden, Pari, rushed in, tunic askew, strands of usually pristine brown hair hanging around her face in a haphazard tangle.
"The baby's here!" she said, her voice high as she waved a long arm for emphasis.
Sarah jumped to her feet. "And Apama? How is she?" Apama, the wife of the second assistant gardener, had gone into labor with her first baby three days ago. The baby had proven reluctant to come. By the end of the second day everyone had started to fear the worst.
Pari's lips flattened into a straight line. "Bardia says she is too weak. They allowed me a glimpse of her before I came over. She's whiter than a bowl of yogurt, and lies shaking in spite of the fire burning in the brazier next to her pallet."
A shiver ran through Sarah. Bardia, the head gardener and practically a member of Darius's family, was not in the habit of careless pronouncements. "That doesn't sound encouraging. Perhaps we can do something to help."
She strode to the bank of shelves built into a niche in one corner of her bedchamber. Neat piles of soft sheets, wool blankets, and cotton-filled quilts stacked on top of each other. Sarah chose an exquisite linen quilt made of various shades of blue and green fabric, embroidered with silver thread. "This should help keep her warm."
Pari's eyebrows climbed toward her hairline. "Didn't the queen give you that coverlet?"
"She has stunning taste, hasn't she?"
"Indeed, my lady. More to the point, won't she mind your giving away the gift she chose for you with her own stunning taste?"
"Not if she doesn't find out," Sarah said, unable to keep the smile from her voice. "Besides, having suffered through a difficult birth herself, she is likely to approve. We should send a few things for the baby as well. Is it a boy or a girl?"
Pari slapped a hand over her mouth. "In all the excitement, I forgot to ask. I only know it is healthy."
Sarah tucked a loose curl behind her ear. "That's the important thing. I saw some linens in the storehouse that should suit a new baby. Let's fetch them." She and Pari paid a brief visit to the storehouse and retrieved a few appropriate articles for the newborn.
"His lordship has already sent over a lamb," Pari said as they walked back to Sarah's apartments. "He had instructed Bardia to bring it over as soon as Apama gave birth."
Sarah was not surprised by Darius's thoughtfulness. Children were highly cherished by the Persians. The whole household rejoiced at the birth of a baby, even one belonging to a lesser servant.
She frowned at the thought of Darius. It had been five long days since he had sent for her. His lack of interest ate at her with a sharpness that robbed her of sleep at night and of rest during the day. Was he losing interest in her already? The thought made her want to weep.
She had not always been desperate for his company. When her marriage had first been arranged by the queen, it had felt like a blight that ruined her life. She had chosen neither her husband nor the state of matrimony.
Everyone assumed that a simple Jewish girl should be overjoyed at the prospect of marrying the king's cousin. But at the time Sarah had wanted nothing more than to continue serving as the queen's senior scribe, the only woman in the empire to have ever been honored with such a post. The first four months of her marriage had been a nightmare of mutual resentment. But in time, she and Darius had learned to accept each other and settled into a happy companionship. She gave a wry twist of her mouth as she sat on a purple linen couch. Her feelings for Darius were far more complex than companionship.
The problem was that she loved him.
She loved him.
Much good it did her, for he did not return her feelings. She knew he cared for her. He had set his concubines free, and settled them in their own independent establishments, and made Sarah the only woman in his life. By his own admission, he enjoyed her company and admired her. But he never confessed love for her.
Her puppy, Anousya, tired of being ignored, interrupted her reverie by jumping up and putting his head on her lap, gazing at her with adoring eyes. At six months, he was already large, and beginning to develop the massive structure that had marked his cousin Caspian, Darius's favorite dog. Sarah still missed Caspian, who had been the most astounding dog she had ever met.
She leaned over and caressed Anousya behind his ears, drawing comfort from the warmth of his solid body. He gave her a puppy smile full of pleasure.
He had been a present from Darius. Her mouth softened as she remembered the night she had named him. Her first suggestion that they call him Silk—because he was so soft—had met with undisguised disapproval.
"Silk!" Darius had exclaimed, sounding offended. "He's not a little girl's toy dog. He is from a noble bloodline, worthy of kings and princes."
Sarah had smoothed the lines of her flowing skirt over her thigh. "How about Honey? He is so sweet; that would be a perfect name."
Darius's dark brows lowered with displeasure.
"You don't like Honey either?" She pretended to pout. "You said I could name him anything I liked."
"Ah. I did say that. I beg your pardon. Honey ... Honey, it is." He spoke the name as if he was chewing on a mouthful of salted sour cherries.
"Thank you, my lord! How perfect. I can imagine it vividly. Having a house full of your mighty friends, and you calling out in front of them: Here, Honey. Fetch, Honey. They will be delighted by such a spectacle."
"Wench." The grooves in his cheeks deepened. "I'd be looking at you the whole time I said it. Here, Honey," he said, patting his lap.
She burst into laughter and threw herself into his arms.
"I have a better idea. What if we call him Anousya?" She suggested the name, knowing that her husband would approve of the allusion to the king's elite royal guard, better known as the Immortals.
"Now that's a fitting name," he said. "He shall be a warrior dog."
She poked him in the side where she knew him to be ticklish. "He shall be a companion dog," she said, reminding him of the original meaning of the Persian word.
Sarah sighed. She could not understand her husband. Sometimes, it seemed to her, he battled his own heart, wanting her with half and rejecting her with the other. Then again, he had never gone five whole days without sending for her, not since they had committed to living as true husband and wife.
"Apama and her husband will be thrilled with your gifts, my lady," Pari said, interrupting Sarah's thoughts. She lifted her arms, now piled with the linens they had fetched from the storehouse sitting precariously on top of the queen's coverlet. "Would you like to come with me as I deliver them?"
"I think not. They always seem flustered when I visit, though I do my best to put them at ease. What they need is peace and quiet. You take those with my compliments. And I will pray for Apama."
Pari wasn't absent for long. She returned, carrying a tray loaded with food. "Shushan has sent you thick herb soup with wheat noodles and hot bread from the ovens," she said as she set the table.
"She read my mind!" Sarah exclaimed as the fragrance of mint and fried onions filled her room. "I've been craving one of her hearty soups all day." Sarah bent over the bowl and inhaled the complex aroma of herbs and spices with pleasure. Darius's one-eyed, skinny cook could transform simple vegetables and meat into an unforgettable feast for the senses.
"Bardia says Apama shows improvement. She smiled when I covered her with your quilt. She is too weak to speak, but her eyes filled with tears when I told her the coverlet had once belonged to the queen. Her husband more than made up for her silence. He bid me to thank you and his lordship so many times that I had to escape while he was midsentence. He'll probably fall at your feet or something equally embarrassing when next he sees you." She lifted the tray on which she had carried the food and turned as if to leave before coming to a sudden halt. "I almost forgot. A messenger just arrived from Susa. He has a missive from Her Majesty for you."
Damaspia, the queen of Persia, was kind enough to consider Sarah a friend—a privilege that sometimes exacted a terrible price, as Sarah well knew. The queen had entered into the habit of writing Sarah, sharing the latest news since she and Darius had moved to his lavish estate near Persepolis six months ago, while the rest of the court resided in Susa for the winter months.
Sarah looked from the steaming bowl to the roll of papyrus in Pari's hand. In a low voice, she spoke a prayer of thanksgiving over her food. As soon as she finished, she held out one hand for the missive while grasping a spoon to start eating. She was too hungry to wait on the soup and too curious to wait on the letter. Pari gave her a disapproving look, but surrendered the missive. Sarah knew she did not have the most graceful table manners even when she was focused on the task. Reading and eating at the same time spelled disaster for either the upholstery or her delicate clothing. Or, most likely, both. She offered Pari her best conciliatory expression before tearing into Damaspia's seal.
She had the skills of a fast and accurate reader, but she read the letter twice to ensure she had understood the queen's command. She looked at the date of its composition with a frown. It had been written two months ago. With a swift motion that almost upended her soup bowl, she rose from the couch.
"Artaxerxes and Damaspia have asked us to visit them at Susa. But they want us to be there in eighteen days!"
"Under three weeks? You would have to fly to arrive in time," Pari said with a gasp.
"I know. Would you please fetch the courier who brought this letter? At once."
A few moments later a young man, still in riding gear, stood at her door next to Pari. Sarah thanked him for his prompt presence. "Can you tell me when this missive was first given to the royal courier service?"
He searched through his leather satchel and retrieved a papyrus scroll. After a few moments of study, he nodded. "Here it is. It was part of a larger batch from the queen's offices. The whole packet was given to us three weeks ago."
Sarah dismissed him with her thanks. His answer confirmed what she had suspected. Damaspia's scribe must have missed the fact that this letter was time sensitive and delayed sending it until a larger packet became ready for dispatch. Deferments of mail were common practice, which saved money and resources. But the scribe was supposed to know when a letter should not be delayed. Sarah quashed an uncomplimentary thought about the inattention of Damaspia's new senior scribe.
"Is his lordship at home?" she asked Pari.
"Yes, my lady."
"Then take this letter to him. Tell him it's from the queen, and that it's urgent."
Sarah wondered if Darius would come to her in response to the queen's letter, or if he would make arrangements without consulting her. It had become his habit to speak to her about most of his affairs of business in the past few months. Given his recent distance, however, he might choose to attend the matter without involving her.
* * *
Darius returned from the palace at Persepolis nursing the start of a pesky headache. Hours of dealing with one of Artaxerxes' foreign officials had proven exceptionally dreary. Halfway through the meeting he'd thought of Sarah. An intense longing for her company overcame him, tempting him to cut the meeting short.
He controlled the urge, not out of concern that the official might take offense, but because this disconcerting yearning for Sarah was exactly what he had been trying to battle against for weeks. He felt as if he was losing control and did not enjoy that feeling. Staying away from her seemed the safest course.
But keeping his distance failed to curb his hunger for his wife. He had spent the whole hour since his return from Persepolis staring at new maps from the cartographer while thinking of the outline of Sarah's curves.
The last time she had visited his apartments, she had accidentally left a sheer scarf behind. Instead of returning it to her, he had held on to it, draping the turquoise silk over the back of a sofa. He leaned against the folds of fabric now, and pulled one corner against his lips. The faint smell of roses still clung to the delicate shawl. He inhaled the scent before shoving the fabric away.
She had sent him into convulsions of laughter the night she left the scarf behind, pulling it low over her forehead and scrunching her lips, mimicking with astonishing accuracy thevoice of Artaxerxes' dreaded mother, Amestris. "Eat your spinach or it will be the dungeons for you, my boy. I'll chop off your nose, don't think I won't. Your handsome features don't impress me."
"You keep that up and you'll be the one in the dungeons. Amestris has spies everywhere. For all you know, I'm one of them."
Sarah gave a nonchalant shrug of one shoulder. "Or I might be one of her spies, setting a trap for you."
"You haven't eaten your spinach, have you? Shows a distinct lack of obedience. Even the vague likeness of the queen mother should motivate you into submission."
Darius laughed. "Submission and I don't get along. You should have learned that by now."
She leaned over. For a breathless moment he thought she would kiss him. Instead, she stretched a hand and pulled a tiny piece of flint from his hair. She blew on the fragile thread and watched it fly into the air. "One can always hope."
He felt the tug of challenge in her voice. Something ancient and intensely male rose up in him, filled with excitement at the thought of that challenge.
And that was the trouble with the woman. She managed to hold his interest in a thousand ways. Peace as well as entertainment seemed to follow in her wake, though she offered both without conscious effort.
Her intelligence impressed him, and that was not an easy accomplishment with a man who spent his days around the most brilliant minds of the world. And yet, instead of giving herself airs, she got on her hands and knees and scrubbed the head gardener's floor when his cottage became infested from the damp.
When Pari came to tell him that an urgent summons had arrived from the queen, he leapt to his feet with the alacrity of a hungry lion. He no longer had to fight against his own urges. He had no choice, after all. It was his duty to go to his wife. As he made his way to Sarah's apartments, he realized with sheepish relief that his headache had disappeared.
* * *
A brief knock on Sarah's door heralded a visitor. The knock proved a polite formality, as her husband let himself in before she could respond. Darius appeared every inch the courtier today, dressed in a tunic of soft, midnight blue wool that clung to his tall figure, emphasizing long, toned muscles. As if he needed sartorial enhancement to improve his looks. Darius turned heads even when wearing old hunting gear. Deep green eyes narrowed as Sarah bowed before him.
"How formal," he said, when she rose.
"It seemed appropriate." She gestured toward his elegant outfit. Earlier that morning she had been for a walk with Anousya and had found, discarded, a few alluring tail feathers from the priceless peacocks that roamed the grounds. She picked the most colorful one and tucked it into his belt. "Here. I think you must have dropped this earlier."
He pulled out the feather, intending to stroke Sarah's cheek with its soft plume. She sidestepped the caress. Darius frowned. "Such audacity," he said with mock rage. "Are you implying I am a peacock? I've been closeted with one of the king's officials most of the morning. Had to dress the part, that's all."
He waved the queen's letter. "What's this about, do you know? Why the great rush? We have to be on the road in two days and ride the back roads light and fast to arrive in time."
"I don't know why Damaspia and the king have requested our presence in Susa. It might be a routine visit."
Darius arched a dark brow, speaking volumes without needing to use words. Artaxerxes and his queen rarely wasted time with routine anything. The fact that they had summoned Darius and Sarah meant they had a purpose to the visit.
Sarah raised her chin. "I'm afraid I have no idea what is behind this royal invitation. But I can explain the inconvenient timing. That would be the fault of Damaspia's new senior scribe. If you look at the date, you will find that she dictated this message two months ago, in good time for us to make arrangements and arrive at Susa with utmost convenience. So whatever her reason for summoning us, it could not have been an emergency. Unfortunately, her new scribe must have overlooked the date the queen has mentioned. I checked with the courier. The letter was not sent until three weeks ago, which places us in an awkward position."
Excerpted from Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar, Pam Pugh. Copyright © 2013 Tessa Afshar. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
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.
Table of Contents
ContentsPart 1: The Assault,
Part 2: The Unraveling,
Part 3: The Restoration,
What People are Saying About This
"Harvest of Gold is a great story. But it is more than that. The people come alive on the pages and in their pain and struggle you will see yourself."
—Chris Fabry, award-winning author and radio personality
"Harvest of Gold is a compelling historical novel whose characters will dwell in your thoughts long after you close the book. Author Tessa Afshar has done a wonderful job with this story set in the days of Nehemiah, giving us a glimpse of what might have been. I could see ancient Jerusalem and Persia through her descriptions, and am richer in my knowledge of those times for having read this book. Don't miss it!"
—Jill Eileen Smith, best-selling author of the Wives of King David series.
"Engaging. Inspiring. Heart- stopping and heart- rending. Harvest of God takes readers on a journey from ancient Persia to the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, re-building our hope as Nehemiah’s story is woven through a complex plot with multi-layered characters we love and hate and then love some more. A fabulous biblical novel that sent me straight back to God’s Word!"
—Mesu Andrews, Award-winning author (winner of the ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author of the Year, 2012)
Praise for the first book in the series Harvest of Rubies
"Sarah is a Jew in ancient Persia, cousin of Nehemiah, and the daughter of the scribe Simeon, whose attention she wins only when she proves to possess literary abilities of her own. In this latest by Afshar (Pearl in the Sand), the Bible's ancient Near Eastern context is the setting for an engaging story of pluck, friendship, and faith. Sarah becomes a professional scribe and wins the affections of the queen only to find herself bound to marry a man she doesn't know and forced to give up the job that she loves. When she botches her wedding, and is abandoned to a rural estate, it would seem that all is lost. But Sarah finds wisdom and strength in the texts and traditions of her people, and knits together an unconventional community of support. Afshar's story challenges misconceptions about harem life and the roles of ancient women while introducing readers to a lovable heroine whose good heart wins out over bumbling ways to prove a boon to others, too. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books and Such (May)"
–Publishers Weekly, 5/14/12
"In Harvest of Rubies, gifted author Tessa Afshar transports us to an ancient time where we find a heroine who feels like a contemporary friend. A scribe in the court of Persia, Sarah struggles with placing her value in what she does instead of who she is in God. Her faith journey strengthened mine and will inspire yours."
—Lauren Yarger, National Book Critics Circle
"I loved Harvest of Rubies! … Sarah is a wonderful character - always herself no matter what the situation. I loved the way she always said exactly what she thought. And Darius is terrific too - readers will adore him. A wonderful story with a totally captivating heroine. Readers won't be able to tear themselves away. "
–Joan Wolf, Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was the first Christian romance that I have ever read. I love romance but I hate the unnecessary sense if you know what I mean. So I actually stop reading and found it hard for me find books that had meaning, great story plots, keep me on the edge of seat where I just have to find out what happen next, and as well giving me something to hold on to when it comes to my personal walk with God. This was a great way to keep me in merged and wanting to do nothing but read christian love story. This book was just great there are no other words I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good love story with, great meaningful insight. I was also was very surprise at the references to scripture and detail in research. Great book read it but make sure you read the first book first. "Harvest of Rubies."
The First book Harvest of Rubies was amazing. . .Loved the way Tessa continues to bring these biblical characters to life and draws you into the time period and culture.
And i was not disappointed! I will read more of her books. Plausable, insightful, and a pleasure to read.
I had this book pre-ordered as soon I finished "Harvest of Rubies," and the day it was supposed to arrive, I checked my door seven times to see if UPS had dropped it off yet. It was well worth the wait, and, just like the first book, I've already reread it and it has already changed my life. (I promise I don't say that lightly.) There's plenty of mystery, humor, chemistry, history, and spiritual insight. I have never read a novel about Nehemiah, and it was so fascinating to enter and explore that world and time. The author takes more time to delve into Darius's history and character, and I loved seeing the journey of his relationship with Sarah, with all its pitfalls and victories. Sarah, aside from one foolish decision, was such an inspiration to me in my own marriage. The morning after finishing the book, at least four times I found myself saying something to my husband and then thinking, "Sarah would never have responded like that to Darius." Her love and respect and honor for him, even when he was not treating her well, have been so convicting and encouraging to me. (and I have a great husband!) It's probably impacted me more than most of the marriage books I've read and seminars I've been to! And of course, this book is packed with all kinds of spiritual insights and deep quotes (have I ever wanted to highlight a novel before?). It amazes me how Tessa Afshar can blend excellent fiction, witty dialogue, engaging characters, historical facts, and spiritual truths so well! I absolutely cannot wait for her next book!!
I believe this is the first book I have read which takes place during the time of Nehemiah. Having participated in a year long small group study covering this book of the Bible I was particularly interested in Harvest of Gold. And of course I was excited to read this book because Afshar has become my favorite biblical fiction novelist since the release of Pearl in the Sand. Combine this with a healthy dose of cover love and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book! Afshar’s strong background in religious and historic studies shines through in her fiction. Her accurate use of historical detail and her gift in writing descriptions make her fiction come alive. Harvest of Gold is a beautiful exploration of the full meaning of marriage and its value as an example of God’s love for us. Also, the topic of spiritual warfare is explored in depth through the building of the wall and in the individual character’s lives. I believe this book would provide valuable bibliotherapy for those dealing with a miscarriage or even for those dealing with marriage issues. I can’t wait for Afshar’s next release!
I really enjoyed this story of a husband and wife learning to love each other in Biblical times. The amount of historical detail that goes into this author’s fictional accounts is so impressive to me. This book is set during the time of Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem and I loved the way that both stories wove around each other. Full review is on my website.
Well written. Great love story and faith building. Couldn't put it down.
Hott Synopsis: Harvest Of Gold takes the reader back. Back to a time of turmoil and deception. Nehemiah, cupbearer for the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, feels God’s call to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and fortify the city. But just because God calls you to do something doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Follow Nehemiah’s journey along with those who followed God with him and those scheming to destroy not only God’s plan but also Artaxerxes’ empire in this enthralling fiction accounting. Hott Review: What I liked: Harvest Of Gold is an amazing book! I absolutely couldn’t out it down and am having trouble articulating how entrancing this read really is. It makes your heart feel full and yet burdened. It makes you revel in the Wonder of God while feeling the impact of Satan. It makes you sing His praises and cry for the lost. Don’t miss this retelling of the re-building of Jerusalem! What I didn’t like: Sometimes I wonder if there are people who chose to read Christian Fiction as an alternative to reading their Bible instead of just allowing their imagination to take them back to what might have been. More… Author: Tessa Afshar Source: River North via Netgalley Grade: B+ Ages: 16+ Steam: Nada Setting: Persia & Jersulam Series: Harvest Of Rubies, #2
You won't put this book down.
After nearly a year of marriage to Darius, Sarah has gained Darius' respect, desire, and perhaps even his trust. Her love for him, though, is unrequited. When they discover a plot to assassinate the king, they begin an unexpected journey that will lead them from the king's palace to Jerusalem, a city of broken walls and broken spirits. While Darius investigates the plot behind the thwarted assassination attempt, Sarah serves as a scribe to Nehemiah, her cousin and Jerusalem's new governor. When tragedy strikes Sarah and Darius, their relationship unravels and their only hope lies with the One who can heal all. Once before, God redeemed Sarah's missteps and turned it for her good. Will He do so again? Or is her hope for Darius' heart lost forever? Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar is the sequel to Harvest of Rubies. Although Harvest of Gold probably could work as a stand alone novel, I highly recommend reading Harvest of Rubies first for greater enhancement of Sarah and Darius' complete story. Like Tessa Afshar's previous novels, her writing style was lovely and the settings were realistic, but somehow enchanting at the same time. I enjoyed reading about the Persian and Jewish civilizations. The plot's pace as well as a few unexpected elements kept me interested throughout the story. My only complaint about this book was that somehow Sarah and Darius of Harvest of Gold didn't feel quite like the same Sarah and Darius of Harvest of Rubies. Some of this could have been the switch from first person point-of-view (in Harvest of Rubies) to third person point-of-view (in Harvest of Gold). However, I think it was more of an unprecedented character shift that was not derived from normal character development and its subsequent progress. I don't say this to discourage anyone from reading the books, I say it as a simple word of caution. I LOVED Harvest of Rubies, so when Harvest of Gold wasn't quite what I expected, I was initially a little put off. Obviously, that feeling passed and I went on to enjoy Harvest of Gold. I do recommend both of these books to anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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."
I enjoyed this book and the author. I can't wait for her next book. Her books also have me examining my walk with the Lord.
Can't wait for the next one. Tessa Afshar is a wonderful new find.
Loved Tessa Afshar's latest Harvest Book - she weaves biblical history together in a picture that brings the Bible to life.
This is the best Biblical fiction novel I have read in a while! From the very beginning I knew I was going to enjoy this book. I don't know if it was Sarah or the story that won me over but nonetheless, this book is going on my keeper shelf. I confess, it wasn't until I was half-way through the story that I realized Harvest of Gold is technically a sequel to Harvest of Rubies; however, Harvest of Gold can be read as a stand alone. I only felt confused twice. Oh, mercy. I loved Darius. I loved Sarah. They are an awesome couple. Both characters are beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed their story. I loved how she portrayed Nehemiah, I thought she did an excellent job bringing to life the man God called to rebuild Jerusalem's walls. He wasn't perfect. He was concerned. But though everything, he trusted in God. All in all, this is a marvelous tale! Afshar represents the time period well. I hold such a deep admiration of her characters and I can't wait to see what she releases next! In the meantime, I'll be tracking down a copy of Harvest of Rubies to read. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy Biblical fiction. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through CFBA, in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
Biblical fiction is one of my favorite genre's to read and enjoy. Since she started writing with A Pearl in the Sand, Tessa Afshar has quickly become one of my favorite authors in this genre. The research she does is meticulous; it's also refreshing to read a story about side characters in an interesting phase of history. Harvest of Rubies was the first book in the tale of Sarah and Darius, if you have not read it yet, I highly suggest you do so BEFORE reading Harvest of Gold, because it sets the necessary backdrop for both the characters as well as the setting for the story. Sarah and Darius are amazing characters, at the end of Harvest of Rubies some things were resolved, but it's only in Harvest of Gold that both characters come out truly healed and whole. How this happens you will have to read for yourself. I can promise however that you will fall in love with the characters and the depth of this story. If you enjoy biblical fiction, or just plain historical fiction, you will enjoy this series. It talks about God, and the impact he has in each of our lives. It also explains a sideways view of Nehemiah and the work he had to do to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Reading this book has made me want to go back and re-read the Biblical accounts, something that always happens when I read a great book. Because of her level of writing, the complete immersion that her story uses to guide a reader in, I found it hard to place this book down, and you will too. I am giving this book 5/5 nuggets of gold for what was truly a well done book. Thank you Tessa and I look forward to reading more from you, perhaps not about Sarah and Darius, but about other stories. To others reading this, if you haven't checked them out, read A Pearl in the Sand (a story about Rahab that is unrelated to this novel) and also read Harvest of Rubies (which is related to this title). Enjoy this masterpiece of a novel. Feel Free to check out my blog where I have other reviews both in this genre and others at: chicawithabook (dot) blogspot (dot) com
I always enjoy reading Biblical fiction and this book was no exception. I have wanted to read something by Tessa for a while now but just haven't gotten around to it, but I am glad I finally did with Harvest of Gold. Sarah, the main female character, drew me immediately. She is a smart woman who loves her husband but doesn't push him to confess the same love. Darius, Sarah's husband, holds back from loving his wife, although it is obvious he does but something is keeping him from fully letting her into his heart. That alone will keep you turning pages. The story of Nehemiah is worked into the book as well. I recently heard a message on Nehemiah so hearing the story again from a fictional standpoint was interesting. His complete faith and trust in God is something we should all strive for. A great read for anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for an honest review.
Another excellent book by Tessa Afshar! Harvest of Gold is the second book in Tessa Afshar's Harvest series. This book is set around the event of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. In it we continue to follow the story of Darius, Sarah, and of course, Nehemiah. Unlike Harvest of Rubies, we get to read the story from the point of view of all 3 main characters, something I immensely enjoyed. While I also liked reading the previous one from Sarah's view point, this one I felt had a little more depth. I liked knowing what was going on with each of them and what they were thinking. If Harvest of Rubies is Sarah's book, then this one is Darius'. We get to know and understand him better. Honestly, he isn't a very likeable character, at first. He is hard, bitter, and I didn't care for how he treated Sarah. As I continued reading, I still had a hard time caring for him, though I did like him a little more. I finally fell in love with him about halfway through the book, when we start to understand what drives him. Darius has a very high moral standard, so when Sarah doesn't tell him something important, he once again withdraws from her. I really wanted him to stand up and get it together, but that wasn't part of his character, yet. Even though I was rather apathetic toward him, I still enjoyed his journey. I was looking forward to seeing him redeemed and Ms. Afshar did an excellent job. Sarah was her usual self; spunky, sassy, and bold. I still adored her and her heart. There was one point when I wanted to shake her, but that just made her more real to me. I have to really care about characters for them to frustrate me that much. I believe the main spiritual themes of this book are forgiveness and surrender. Darius must learn both. He has spent most of his life refusing to feel or let others too close, but with Sarah in his life, breaking down his walls, he's struggling to maintain his distance. This alone makes him lash out at her when she makes a mistake. He lays all the blame at her feet and shuts down even further. He must learn to forgive, something that only truly works with the Father's help. He also must learn to surrender, which is a battle he fights through most of the book. I appreciated his struggle with both themes. Ms. Afshar doesn't try to gloss over either, but rather portrays both as the difficult issues they are. Sarah must also learn to surrender, both to God and to Darius. She has been taking care of herself for so long, that she has a hard time trusting Darius to make decisions regarding her well-being. The same is true of her trust in God. When she faces a trial, she asks, "where are You, God?" as we all do at some time or another. She doesn't understand why God would allow the circumstance and she struggles to surrender to Him, to trust that He knows best. I really enjoyed the secondary characters, Lysander, Roxanna, and Pari! While they really are secondary and we don't know them well, I fell in love with each of them. I wish Lysander and Roxanna would get their own book, but I believe Ms. Afshar plans to leave their story up to her readers' imaginations. The descriptions were so vivid! I often felt as though I was actually there, traveling with them, or viewing the city of Jerusalem for the first time. Ms. Afshar really brings history to life in all of her books and this one is no exception! Her stories draw you in and refuse to let go until the end, even the occasional frustrating character can't take away from her masterful writing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction!
Runs back to camp.
Why are u so mad?