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Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

2017 INSPY Award winner, general fiction category
Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496406460
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 226,239
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Land of Silence

By Tessa Afshar, Kathryn S. Olson

Tyndale House Publishers

Copyright © 2016 Tessa Afshar
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1400-7


I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.

PSALM 31:12

When I think of the ruin my life has become, the slow wrecking of my dreams, the destruction of every love, I always return to the bee. That one tiny sting, which robbed my place of favor in my father's heart and changed the course of my destiny.

Sorrow came to me on a beautiful afternoon, with the sun shining and just enough heat in the day to warm the skin without scorching it. Wildflowers were abundant that year, and the hillside where Joseph and I had come to pass the hours was covered in a blanket of yellow and pink. I remember the scent of them tickling my nose and filling my lungs, making me laugh for the sheer beauty of the world.

Joseph ran amongst the soft stalks, piercing the leaves with his make-believe sword, playing Roman soldier. He knew better than to play the game with our parents around. They were staunch Jews whose lineage in Jerusalem went as far back as the days of Ezra. Romans may have been generous patrons of my father's wares, but they were still dangerous enemies. My parents certainly did not consider them a matter for fun and games. But Joseph was four, and he loved the Roman horses, their uniforms, their rectangular painted shields. He wanted to be one of them. And I let him, seeing no harm in a little boy running wild and pretending to be something he could never become.

"Elianna, come and play," Joseph called over his shoulder and thrust his invisible sword in my direction.

"Hold a moment," I said. "I will come soon."

I was distracted, sitting on the coarse felt blanket I had brought, twirling a pink flower, trying to fathom a way to leach out its color and use it for dye on linen. A large shipment of flax had just been delivered to our workshop and we would have plenty of fibers for weaving. My father traded in luxurious fabrics. He even had a small but brisk business in purple, the lavish dye that was derived painstakingly from sea snails and remained more expensive to produce than any other color. It was a measure of his success that he could afford this particular trade.

Joseph had been left in my care that afternoon because everyone in the household was busy working on the flax. Even my mother, who rarely participated in my father's business, had been drafted to help.

My father bought his flax already steeped and dried, with the seeds separated from the stems and discarded, and the stalks beaten to pull out the fibers. His workers were left with the task of combing out the fibers, making them ready for spinning. The stalks of this particular harvest were thick, which produced coarse linen, and would be used for weaving towels. With Romans and the new Jewish aristocracy so fond of their baths, towels were in high demand throughout the main cities of Judea.

I was twelve years older than Joseph and more than capable of caring for him. My mother, suspicious of my passion for my father's trade, and looking for ways to distract me from my fascination, had given me charge over Joseph for the afternoon. Her plan worked to double advantage: it got my exuberant brother out from under the busy feet of the adults while at the same time withdrawing me from direct contact with my father's work, lest it feed my obsession with the secrets of his trade.

"Leave that to the men," she always told me, thrusting some feminine task into my lap before I grew too enraptured with the mysteries of creating a better grade of dyed fabric.

"Elianna!" Joseph's voice bellowed from farther down the hill. "Come. Now! You promised when you brought me here that you'd play with me."

I grinned. My little brother could be imperious. No one had expected the birth of another child to my parents at their advanced age. When Joseph was born, we were all a little dazzled with his mere presence in the world and became instant slaves to his charm. Add to that the reality that he was a boy — the son of my father's dreams — and, well ... even a burning seraph could be excused for being a little spoilt under the circumstances. If he seemed bossy, the fault belonged to us. By nature, Joseph was so sweet that the overindulgence of a hundred adults could not render him tyrannical.

"You better hope I don't catch you," I said as I rose to my feet. "My sword is a lot sharper than yours."

"No, it's not. I'll defeat you." He let loose a fearsome bellow and began to run up the hill, his short legs pumping under his hitched-up tunic at a speed that made me flinch. I needed my whole strength to keep up with that boy.

"Hold fast," I cried, catching up with him at the top of the hill, thrusting my pink flower forward as if it were a deadly weapon. Joseph doubled over, giggling.

"That's not a sword! That can't even cut thread. You're such a girl, Elianna."

"You dare insult me, Roman dog? I shall have your head for that."

Joseph rushed toward me, his imaginary sword pointed at my abdomen. "No, you won't. My horse will eat you for breakfast." He did a fair imitation of a parry and then followed with a quick thrust, his little fist hitting my ribs. I grabbed my side as if in pain.

"You will pay for that, young man." With a quick motion, I reached forward to untuck his tunic from his belt. Distracted, he looked down, and I shoved my flower in his face, leaving a powdery yellow stain on his nose and forehead.

I laughed. "You still need some practice, Roman." Just behind him, I noticed a lone sheep chomping on a bush. I looked around, trying to locate the shepherd or herd to which it belonged. It seemed to be alone. I walked over to examine it for any hurts. A shepherd somewhere must be missing the fat fellow.

"Elianna!" Joseph called. "Come back. I am not finished. ..." And then, inexplicably, he swung his arm in a wide arc. "Go away. Go away!" His voice emerged high-pitched and shaken. He made a half circle around himself, his hands flapping about him in frantic motion.

The sheep had my attention, though, and I ignored Joseph's cry. Up close, I could see that it was well cared for, its wool healthy and clean. I knelt down and ran my hand over its back. "Where did you come from, little fellow?"

From the corner of my eye I could still see Joseph flapping around. Then he cried out, "Make it go away, Elianna!"

I thought it was a fly at first until I saw the flash of yellow, heard the angry buzz. "Don't fret so. Stay calm, and it will go away of its own accord." I didn't want to leave the lost sheep, in case it wandered away and became even more lost. Joseph was old enough to deal with a buzzing bee. Really, we had overindulged him. I tried to make my voice soothing. "Calm yourself, brother."

My words had no effect on Joseph. The creature was buzzing with fierce intention around his head, and he panicked. He flapped his arms harder and started to run. "No! No!"

I threw my hands up in the air and came to my feet reluctantly. "Joseph, it's just a bee."

I understood the source of his unreasoning fear. The year before, he had been stung on the ankle. He had broken out in hives and his entire leg had swollen to the size of a young tree trunk, and he had been in terrible pain. He had never forgotten the experience. But in my mind, that had been an anomaly. We all had to contend with bees. It was part of life. I watched in frustration as he ran himself ragged for a few moments.

Finally, I caught up to him and reached out my hands to flick at the bee, although I could no longer see it. Without warning, Joseph let out a piercing wail that made my belly lurch. He rubbed at the side of his head, and then I spotted the insect caught in the hair near his temple. I grabbed the bee in my palm and squeezed. Half-drunk from having released its venom, it was easy prey in my violent, clenching fist. I dropped it to the ground and knelt before Joseph.

Fat tears squeezed out of his eyes. He was crying so hard that he began to wheeze. I cuddled him in my arms. "I am so sorry, Joseph. It will be well. I've gotten rid of the little monster. You can stomp on him, if you wish."

"Hurts." He took a breath that shook his chest.

"Where, dear heart? Where do you hurt?"

He pointed to his temple, and I saw that it was already swelling. I gave it a light kiss. "Is that better?"

His gaze brimmed over with accusation. "No." He pushed me from him. I noted a red welt on the back of his still-chubby hand. "Did it sting you twice?" I frowned as I stared at the raised mark, spreading like spilled dye on his baby skin. Joseph shook his head. Hives, I realized with a wince. Just like last year.

He took another breath that shivered down his body. He sounded as if every inhalation was an effort. I thought it was fear lingering in him, robbing him of breath, and tried to calm him. But with each moment, he seemed to grow worse. His wheezing became harsher and unremitting. Confusion caused me to delay. He had had no difficulty breathing the last time he was stung. Was this panic?

I should have helped him sooner, come to his aid at the start, when the bee first began to pursue him. And then it occurred to me that the bee might have been attracted to the scent and powder of the flower I had pressed on his face. Perhaps it would not have come near Joseph at all if not for my silly prank.

I saw that he was growing worse and picked him up in my arms. "I am so sorry, Joseph. I'll take you home. You can have a honey cake, and Mother will make you an herb potion to soothe your pain." Against me, I could feel his thin little chest battling for every breath. I began to run. Somewhere down the hill, my sandal came off, caught on a stone protruding from the ground. I stumbled, then righted myself and kept on running without tarrying to retrieve the lost shoe.

"Sick," Joseph said, his voice weak. Before I could turn him, he threw up, soaking my shoulder and my chest. Normally I would have groaned with disgust. But terror had seized me. I sensed that against all reason the bee had caused my brother's tiny body inexplicable damage. It was as though the poison in that accursed bee somehow robbed him of the very air. I was desperate to arrive home, to give him into the care of my parents, who would know what to do.

I barely stopped to wipe his befouled mouth, only shifting him to my other shoulder so I could start my race again. He was heavy, too heavy for me to carry all that way. My heart pounded in my chest like a metalsmith's anvil. The strain of holding on to his sagging body made my arms tremble. "Joseph! Joseph, speak to me!"

He moaned. I staggered to a stop, unable to continue my haphazard run, and fell to my knees with him still in my arms. My head swam with a wave of dizziness when I saw his face. His eyes had swollen shut, and his lips had become an unearthly blue. His whole mouth had turned into a tender, purplish bruise. I bit down on a scream and hefted him up again, forcing my legs to run, faster than before.

Pray, I thought, my soul frantic with the horror of what I had just seen. Pray something. But all I could think of was Eli, Eli, the first part of my own name. My God! My God!

When I saw the large wooden door to our house, I loosed the scream I had swallowed for the past hour. My voice emerged as a broken croak and no one heard me. "Help me! Father, please help me." Joseph had gone limp in my arms. I knew he had fainted some time before, fainted from lack of air.

I kicked at the door with the last of my strength and fell against it. One of the servants pulled the door open and I slumped backward, Joseph still held tight in my grasp. The woman cried out, and before long we were pulled inside together. I was still clutching him, his face pressed to my shoulder. My parents came running.

I saw my father's face as he pulled his son out of my arms. He turned white. My mother started to scream. I didn't think I could feel more fear. But her cries — shrill, unnatural sounds that pierced the courtyard — filled me with a chilling dread that robbed me of speech. Why wasn't she helping my brother? Why did she stand there, screeching, pulling at her veil, pulling at her hair?

My father collapsed, Joseph held against him. His head drooped over the unmoving child. "My son," he moaned, rocking to and fro. "My boy."

I turned in shock and saw my younger sister, Joanna, sitting against the wall, sobbing quietly into her hands. The servants wept. My father, shaking and silent, convulsed around the inert body of my brother while Mother's screams continued to fill every corner of the courtyard, piercing me like jagged shards of broken glass.

That's when I knew. My brother was dead. The bee had killed him.

I reached out to cling to my father, in disbelief, in horror, in desperation, hoping for a miracle, seeking comfort. He looked up and the blank despair in his eyes lifted for a moment, only to be replaced by a coldness I had never seen there before. "What happened? What has done this to my child?"

I stepped away from him. "A bee ... It stung Joseph. On his temple." Perspiration dripped down my sides and with a trembling hand I wiped my brow. "It was my fault. We were playing ... And I ... I shoved a flower in his face; I think the bee was drawn to its scent. I should have come to his aid sooner, but I was distracted by a lost sheep." I remembered that I had merely thrown words at Joseph, as if my instructions were enough. I owed Joseph the truth no matter what punishment I faced. He deserved that much, at least.

My father swept the hair away from Joseph's swollen flesh with tender fingers. I flinched when I saw his beautiful face, distorted by the obscene hand of death, and swayed where I stood.

"But you knew how sick he became last year, after he was stung. You knew how scared he was. Why didn't you just swat it away? He was a little boy. He was helpless." My father moaned. "My little boy!"

"I should ... I should have ..."

His words grew iron-hard and sharp. "You were supposed to look after him. What did you do? Just stand there and watch it happen?"

"No! It wasn't like that, Father! I did help. But I was too late. I was too late!"

"This wouldn't have happened if you had watched him better."

I was struck dumb with guilt. He had grasped the heart of my failure. I had not tried to get rid of the bee from the start. "Father, please ..."

"Be silent!"

I closed my mouth. Swallowed my excuses. He was right. I had failed Joseph. I should have taken better care of him. I should have wiped the pollen from his face, swatted the bee sooner, come home faster. I should have saved him.

"Get out of my sight." My father's voice emerged scratchy soft and bitter as gall.

I gasped. With broken movements, I forced myself to stand, to walk. I went inside the house, leaving a faint trail of blood with every step where I had cut my foot on the jagged stones during my flight home. Huddling in the corner of the room where I slept with my sister and Joseph, I finally gave vent to the tears that I had quenched earlier. Joseph's blanket was neatly folded in a corner. I grabbed it and, pushing my face into its folds, breathed in the scent of him and knew that I would never hold my precious brother again.

And it was my fault.

* * *

My father made up my name when I was born, putting together two Hebrew names: Eli, which means my God, and Anna, which in our tongue signifies favor. When he first set eyes on me, my father said, "My God has favored me," and that became my name, for my birth was a sign of God's favor and grace to my parents.

For eight years after they were married, he and my mother had remained childless. I came when they had given up on physicians and their useless potions. I came, but I was a girl. Still, my parents were too happy to have a child at last to complain about my gender. Three years after I was born, my sister arrived, long-limbed even at birth, with wide eyes that seemed to cover half her face. Then when no one thought it even possible, Joseph burst into our lives with his lusty cry and his irresistible smile.

It wasn't as if my father loved me less when his son was born. It was only that he loved Joseph so much more. More than my mother or my sister or me or his business. More than life. Joseph was the light of his heart.


Excerpted from Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar, Kathryn S. Olson. Copyright © 2016 Tessa Afshar. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House 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.

What People are Saying About This

Jill Eileen Smith

Land of Silence is a biblical novel in a category all its own. Moving, believable . . . This inspir-ing, uplifting story encouraged me at a heart level. A wonderful story—not to be missed!

Debbie Macomber

No one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.

Susie Larson

Tessa Afshar’s novels draw you in so that you’re both captivated and changed by the power of story. Land of Silence is no exception. You’re in for a treat with this one—enjoy!

Chris Fabry

Tessa Afshar’s captivating and emotive story is about one first-century woman’s pain and struggle. But the hope she describes is real and for you and me today.

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Land of Silence 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this novel in 1 day. Beautiful story. Will read more by this author.
MGQ51 11 months ago
Loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had always wanted to read a biblical fiction book on the woman who touched Jesus's robe. Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite biblical fiction authors so when I found out she wrote a book on her I couldn't wait to read it! She did NOT disappoint! This is one that will be reread again and again!
Cindi_A More than 1 year ago
A story of faith and healing. An impressive retelling of a biblical story. I liked how the characters came to life. Even though the author added details that are not known, it helped to emphasize the love of Christ and His healing powers and desires. This novel shows the importance of faith. We need to believe with our whole being that the Lord loves us and wants what is best for our lives. He truly heals.
Shantelle More than 1 year ago
Tessa Afshar writes such marvelous stories! I haven't loved all her novels, but I feel Bread of Angels and now Land of Silence are absolutely incredible. The writing style, the characters and the authenticity of their world, the faith ... it all draws me in and I find myself hardly able to put the book down! Ah, I was so excited to read another book by this author, and Land of Silence did not disappoint. Tessa Afshar, along with Connilyn Cossette, is a master at writing Biblical historical novels. I truly believe she has a God-given gift for it. So Land of Silence takes the story from The Bible of the woman who had a bleeding condition for fourteen years and imagines who this woman was and what her life was like prior to her encounter with Jesus Christ. From practically the first page, I was drawn in and this book never lost my interest. I did at times become frustrated with Elianna, though my heart ached for her. She was perhaps very much like me in ways! Pretending she was in control; trying to fix everything and save everyone. It was gut-wrenching watching her make some choices that she did instead of choosing to trust God and those who loved her. Surrender. Overall, it was a very good lesson for me! Though a secondary character who's not seen much, I loved Elianna's sister, Joanna. I also really liked Ethan, Viriato, and Claudia. So many wonderful characters! The storyline and plot were hard in many ways, but intriguing and, oh, so beautiful! The parts about using dye, embroidering, and selling merchandise were very interesting. The world and customs fascinating. And the themes and lessons! They were truly deep. We go on this incredible journey of forgiveness, surrender, and healing. Some of the lessons are subtle in a way, but powerful. The idea that this woman's life has been completely gutted before she has her encounter with Jesus resounds with me. Like ... sometimes God allows everything to be taken because what we truly need is Him. -To look into His eyes and hear Him call us "daughter" or "son". Wow. Amazing story. Thoroughly engrossing book. I eagerly await my next chance to read another of Tessa Afshar's novels.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
What a stirring story about the woman with the issue of blood. I am writing this review with tears streaming down my face as it such an emotional investment to read this story. Beautiful written it is a fictional account of what could have happened based on scripture. I love the quote from Ethan to Elianna, “ I am learning that obedience to God means that you do not put your eyes on your longings, but instead, you simply place one foot ahead of the other into the space that the Lord opens.”. There are so many beautiful passages that grip your heart and make you think. It brings to life Biblical times and you can form a picture of how customs, clothing, etc were. The characters are so real you will carry them with you for some time. Excellent read. I won a copy from a blog. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Becky6 More than 1 year ago
I’m skeptical when it comes to Biblical fiction because I don’t like being confused by the Scriptures being taken out of context or moved around to better the story, as well as all of the added detail that isn’t found in the Bible itself. Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar did not disappoint. In fact, this is the first novel that I have read by her and it most certainly won’t be my last. This story is engaging, raw, and beautiful all at the same time. When I found out that the author was writing about the account with the woman with the issue of blood mentioned in 3 of the Gospel accounts, I wondered how she was going to do with it so little information other than that she had been bleeding for 12 years and that Jesus healed her. I was impressed with how she did it. The author takes a character that we hardly know anything about and gives her a story that is so passionate, heart-gripping, and beautiful. I enjoyed how the author explained the culture of that day, especially for readers who aren’t familiar with the Old Testament Laws. It’s obvious how much attention to detail and her thoughtful, well researched shined throughout the book. Elianna has become one of my favorite characters. Isn’t Elianna a beautiful and unique name? I normally don’t care for books told in first-person, but it only added to Elianna’s voice. We get to see deeply into the heart of a woman who is hurting and going through so much. She truly is an inspiring woman. While I thought there were many times she was annoying, she truly cares about her family and will do anything to provide for and protect them, including letting pride get in the way of her dream of being married to her love, Ethan. Readers will be encouraged that no matter how much life throws at her, and life does get scary and send her to the lowest point of her life with a physical ailment making her considered unclean and an outcast, she still holds to her faith in God throughout it. In fact, we see her sharing her faith with close friends who don’t believe multiple times. Then there’s Ethan. I cannot forget to mention him because he plays a powerful role in the story. While he is hurt and angry at Elianna, he is loyal, steadfast, and still loves her. Even in his stubbornness, he is the perfect match for our beloved heroine. So much has happened in Elianna’s life that it’s amazing how the reader doesn’t get depressed and bogged down. Instead, the reader will find themselves engrossed in the story while turning the pages. I found it impossible to put this book down! The story is not far-fetched at all, but realistic and relatable. This is a beautiful and powerful story about a woman who at her lowest point finds the most important moment of her. Not only just touching the Jesus’ cloak and being healed, but finding forgiveness, deep and compassionate love, and freedom of condemnation. But most importantly, I love this quote found in the author’s notes at the back of the book. “While the Bible provides profound inspiration for novels like this, the best way to study it is not through a work of fiction, but simply to read the original, the way Jesus himself would have done. This story can in no way replace the transformative power that the reader will encounter in the Scriptures.“ I love that the author encourages her readers to read the Scriptures for themselves rather than just rely on her work of Biblical fiction. This is so important. Highly recommended! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this b
FaithH0peL0ve More than 1 year ago
Such an amazing book! The story left me crying for hours. It was so well written that I could almost literally feel Elianna's pain as she endured suffering and hardships in many forms. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the unknown stories of the bible.
poodlelover More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence shares the story from the Bible of the woman who had a bleeding issue all her life. Author Tessa Afshar has given her a name, Elianna, which means ‘My God has Favored Me.’ Elianna’s life is anything but favored. She struggles with guilt and grief and just when life becomes unbearable she finds the answer. Will she ignore all rules and touch the hem of the man Jesus that she’s heard can heal? Elianna is fearful yet bold. I enjoy Biblical fiction as it breathes life into stories in a new way. Author Tessa Afshar has done her research and added only to the story to intensify what is written in God’s Word. This is a new-to-me author, and I look forward to reading more of her books.
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
When her brother dies in an accident while under her care, Elianna, her father, and her community blame her. Her family is crushed by grief, and Elianna, by guilt. Yet, she is the one person strong enough to keep the family business going and her family from starving. But when tragedy after tragedy strikes her family, will Elianna finally turn to God to healing her hurts, both inside and out? Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar was amazing in so many ways. In it, Tessa Afshar broke away from writing Old Testament biblical fiction and instead wrote about a woman the Bible tells little about: the woman with the bleeding disorder of twelve years that Jesus healed, whom Jesus called “daughter.” To a woman whose own father wouldn’t forgive her, what words those must have been! Land of Silence is the story of a woman who goes through all kinds of pain and suffering—internal, monetarily, physical, romantic. My heart ached for her! As someone who has close friends going through un-diagnosable (or curable?) health problems, I had a glimpse of the kind of pain she was experiencing with the bleeding disease, but that was just one of the problems she was facing. The author drew her so realistically and painfully that it hurt to read at times. But all the pain was worth it to see the beautiful ending. It was glorious and inspiring, and it made the words Jesus spoke to the woman that much more meaningful, having seen all the real woman might have suffered. Oh, and that reminds me! Lydia makes a cameo appearance. And the love interest was one of the most amazing young men I have read about yet. Truly an inspiration. I really loved this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy inspirational, biblical fiction. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
psoccermom More than 1 year ago
Everyone who reads Land of Silence will be happy they picked it up. It is one of the most moving stories of the bible retold as the woman is given the name Eilanna. This is about the woman in the bible that Jesus called "daughter ". It is a very moving book. All of the heartache this woman goes through but still is able to hold her faith. I loved this novel and say it is a must read. I recieved this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.
2boyzmommy More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a story in the Bible and wanted to know more? Did you wish for a window or doorway so that you could step back in time and learn more? Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar provides that detailed glimpse into the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Much liberty was taken by the author with the details of the story, but I am so glad she did. Elliana is a young girl crushed by guilt. She has a love for her father's textile business and is a very talented designer. But it seems that one tragedy after another occurs in her life, keeping her from the thing she craves most - someone to love her. This powerful story touched me from the very beginning. There are strong themes in the book, but the ones that spoke to me the most are the power of forgiveness and hope. Here is a passage that stuck with me: "Simply, I became more desperate than afraid. And in my desperation, I learned to hope. I never stopped being afraid. It was just that hope overshadowed my fear. Looking upon this man's ordinary visage, I caught a glimpse of extraordinary love. It was such love that made hope grow - a hope like none I had ever experienced before. I wasn't wishing or dreaming or merely longing for the impossible. I stood on a bedrock of certainty. This hope would not disappoint. And the hope became a single, encompassing thought: If only I touch his garment, I will be well." I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I recieved a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. The Land of Silence is a beautiful story of one young woman's strength and courage during difficult circumstances. Elianna suffered so much guilt and shame over the death of her little brother. It's bad enough that she blamed herself for his death, but her father not only blamed her but could not find it in his heart to forgive her. She couldn't forgive herself and did everything in her power to end the betrothal to the only young man she has ever loved. She begins delving into the scriptures shortly after her father dies and they are forced to sell the family business. She finds a loving Heavenly Father but can He find it in his heart to forgive her? Can she ever forgive herself? This is a brilliant story about "the woman with the issue of blood." Her faith was immense! This is a novel that truly strengthen's your faith no matter what you happen to be facing.
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence is a beautifully written Biblical fiction. Elianna is known in the Bible as the woman who was healed of a 12 blood issue simply by touching Jesus' clothing. The author makes this woman a courageous woman of faith while staying true to Biblical detail. This woman had her dreams stopped almost before they started, at a young age. However, she never gave up, and she held on to God's love for her. This book is an amazingly written book which I cannot possibly say enough positive things about. I was given this book by and Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence is the first book I’ve read by Tessa Afshar. Her writing style is superb, and she moves the story forward with purpose and an elegant smoothness. Although little is said in the Gospels about the woman with the twelve-year bleeding issue, Ms. Afshar gives a compassionate, fictional account of her life prior to the miracle of healing that occurred as she reached out in faith and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. This novel is both tragic and marvelous, showing us how young Elianna’s sufferings and sacrifices bring her to a place of healing. For it’s through perseverance that we gain strength and character. I adore this character. Elianna is believable, and her dilemmas are authentic, especially for Biblical times. Times were much different then, but her struggles are easy to relate to, easy to sympathize with. Ms. Afshar hauled me through the trenches with this Biblical retelling, drawing nearly every emotion out of me. As I neared the end of the book, no matter how I tried to slow my pace (to make the story last longer) I quickly turned the pages until I came to the satisfying end. I highly recommend this book. I love delving into Biblical retellings, getting a feel for the customs, hardships, and lessons we learn from Bible times. And when a story leaves me changed, I become a fan—I’ve already purchased another Tessa Afshar novel, and I can’t wait to get started.
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written Biblical fiction novel. This book had several unexpected twists and turns, and it's prose, plot, and characters weave a beautiful story. I love that it is so realistic in its plot. Not everything always falls into place the way we wish it. However, God is the writer; his timing is perfect. This is a wonderful fiction novel of the story of the woman healed of the issue of blood, but more than that SHE was healed. I have always loved this particular story because I spent thirteen years looking for a diagnosis. God gave me one in his own time. As a result, this particular story has a special place in my heart. This is my first by Tessa Afshar, but I hope it's not my last! I received this book through for my honest opinion which I have given.
Cheri5 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar. I haven’t read a book by this author before but she really drew me into this story (one of my favorite Bible stories) and kept me there, turning the pages long after I should have stopped for the night. Wonderful characters, wonderful history woven throughout - I felt I was there. I think it takes a special author to do justice to Biblical historical fiction and Ms. Afshar did a remarkable job. Highly recommend I received this book for free from The Book Club Network and the author in exchange for my honest review. I placed my review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Deeper Shopping, if available.
CarolJo More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence is a fascinating fiction book on the life of the woman with the issue of blood. I had never given much thought to what her life must have been like. The Bible doesn't tell us much about this woman but Tessa Afshar has created a wonderful story. I learned more about the customs of that time. You will feel the loneliness of this woman who was considered unclean for twelve years! Biblical fiction is not usually my favorite genre but I loved this book. This was my first book by Tessa Afshar but I will certainly be looking for more books by her. I certainly recommend this book to others. I received my copy of Land of Silence from in exchange for my honest review.
grammy57 More than 1 year ago
I have never read this author's books before, what a shame. This book was excellent. If you enjoy Biblical history fiction you will truly enjoy this book. It was well written and edited. Editing is a major issue with me and this one was very well done. The characters were fully developed and kept your interest. You couldn't help but love the main character and wish her well. The other characters were well developed also. This books keeps you reading and wanting more. It flows very well. Never once did I feel it slowed to where I lost interest. I highly recommend this book. This book was given to me by in exchange for my honest review.
annelr More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence is a marvelously written historical novel. The woman who touches the hem of the Messiah's garment for healing comes to life at the talented hand of author Tessa Afshar. This fictional account is drawn from the Gospels and Afshar beautifully fleshes out the characters, crafting them into characters that are believable and with whom readers can connect. Elianna is the name the author gives this anonymous woman and readers are given a story of her life from childhood until the healing. Elianna is guilt-ridden because of a childhood accident, unforgiven and later betrayed by her own body; her soul had slipped into the land of silence. This is an amazing story that truly gets into the emotions and the hard life of this woman of the Scriptures. Afshar tastefully covers the illness and the sorrow and ugliness of rejection and isolation Elianna must endure while keeping the reader's attention with dynamic dialogue and a story that flows well. Land of Silence is a story of true love and forgiveness, a story of brokenness and restoration, a story you do not want to miss. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story so much. When it comes to Biblical retelling, we see so many of the same ones over and over again, so I thought this was an interesting take on someone we've never really seen before. Like always, Afshar's writing is vivid and beautiful, down to the details, making the reader feel immersed into this world. I love seeing different cultures and history, and I thknk that is something Afshar always does so well. I loved the characters as well, and I feel that Afshar really brought them to life. Elianna's case is unusual, that she would be allowed so much freedom to work, etc. (although this is made clear), but I felt that she was written very well. It felt like reading about an old friend, and I got sucked in, feeling the highs and lows of every emotion along with her. I admire Afshar's ability to take a few sentences from the Bible, and weave a beautiful, thrilling tale from it. No longer is she a nameless character, but someone full of beauty and life. Afshar is such a talented writer, and as always, I look forward to her next work.
TCramer More than 1 year ago
Land of Silence is a beautifully written Biblical fictional account of the actual story of the woman with the issue of blood who was healed when she pressed in and touched the hem of Jesus’s garment. Tessa Afshar, has used amazing creativity for a plausible backstory for the woman who attempted to “steal” her healing without anyone noticing. Ms. Afshar breathes life into the characters of this wonderful story. I fell in love with the characters of Elianna, Ethan, and Viriato. Ethan, Elianna’s betrothed, has climbed his way onto the top of my favorite fictional heroes list, and his servant and friend, Viriato, is right up there with him. Elianna, is a beautiful, selfless, young Jewish girl who is left confused and emotionally devastated by her father’s unforgiveness of a tragic accident which unfortunately, goes on to shape much of Elianna’s future. I read over 100 books per year, and this is one of the best books I’ve read. I really loved it. It’s difficult to put down and I finished it in two evenings. A hearty 5 stars for this novel. I highly recommend it. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network ( in exchange for my honest review.
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
If you love Biblical historical fiction then you will love this story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus robe and was healed. Elianna is crushed by feelings of abandonment by her father, quilt over the loss of her little brother, feelings of having to do all the things her little brother would one day have done for their parents. While watching her brother he is stung by a bee and has an allergic reaction. The father goes into a deep depression and its left to Elianna to run the family business (behind the scenes) for her family. She has a talent for design, weaving the cloth, and dying the fabrics. Because of her brother's death she post-pones her marriage for another year. After another family tragedy, she breaks off her betrothal and resigns herself to never marrying. Her talent in the family business becomes well respected and sought after. Then illness strikes with the issue of blood. Follow Elianna as she seeks healing from physicians, spends what money she has trying to find a cure. She hears of a teacher/prophet who can heal her wounds, her heart and help her to find forgiveness. I read this and didn't want to put it down. I read it in one day but I hated for it to come to a close. Tessa Afshar tugs at your heart strings, I shed a few tears and cheered her success. I highly recommend this well written book. It shows the heroine's weaknesses, strength, how her friendships help her through the hard times and how she learns to trust Jesus. I received this book through, the author & publisher (Tyndale Fiction) to read and leave my honest review. This is the first book I've read by Tessa Afshar but I will definitely be looking for more books by this superb author. All opinions are my own and I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. I've always been fascinated by Biblical history & this is one of the best ones I've read. Loved, Loved this book. I only give 5 stars whenever a book touches my heart, my emotions or a page turner. This book does all three.
Nutz2read More than 1 year ago
“Beautiful” is the first word that came to mind when I was thinking of how to describe this story. Also “thought-provoking,” “brilliant,” “engrossing,” and so many others. Tessa’s books are by far always some of my favorites and this one is definitely no exception. She has this amazing way of bringing the Bible to life and making me want to dive in deeper, see the stories I overlook when reading it again. Her books are in no way meant to replace the Bible, but maybe cause the reader to stop and think, and they cause me to see things in a different light. To be honest, aside from hearing a couple sermons on her, I’d never really given much thought to the woman I meet so briefly while reading the Bible, the woman with the issue of blood. She’s there just a moment, seeming to be an interruption, a prelude to the larger miracle still to come. But in this book, Tessa brings her to life. So little is known about this woman, so most of this book is a work of fiction, but regardless, I loved getting to meet all of these characters! This author’s words paint a broad, sweeping picture. One full of pain and beauty, fear and hope, doubt and love. The amount of research that obviously went into writing this book simply astounds me. Each page is filled with details and things I never knew or even considered. I immensely enjoyed learning about the time period and the Jewish customs, as well as the setting and the making of cloth. These details are woven in so seamlessly throughout that it never felt like a history lesson, but rather that I was getting to visit this time in history. I could almost smell the dye, see the vibrant color and designs, and feel the smooth cloth - no time machine needed! The writing is very unique and Tessa did a fantastic job with all of the characters. The story is written as though Elianna is sitting down to tell someone her story. Despite the fact that I’m not always a huge fan of this particular writing style, it was an excellent fit for the story and I actually enjoyed it immensely. The author was able to give each main character a distinct voice and personality through how Elianna perceives them, so I felt I knew them all quite well. Reading the story from her view point gave it another layer of sincerity, I think. It was real and sometimes heartbreaking. I felt Elianna’s pain at the many trials in her life, at the struggles as she attempted to provide for her family and the sorrow of loss. Her story felt bleak, for a time, as she worked to hold every crumbling part of her life together with two straining hands. But I loved the hope that continued to break through, reminding me that even in the bleakest moments, when everything seems lost, it isn’t over just yet. The spiritual side of the story is a huge one, obviously. Much of it focuses on trusting God through the difficult season of life and learning to forgive, things Elianna had to learn that time and again throughout the book. As did several of the other characters. I loved the honesty found among the pages, the brokenness, but also the grace. I especially loved a particular moment when Elianna met Jesus, heard Him speak, and tried to understand how to love her enemies. There are so many more things I could say about this book, but I don’t want to take the chance of spoiling it for anyone. Suffice to say that this is a beautifully written tale that highlights a little known Bible character and illustrates God’s infinite grace. I highly recommend this book!
infuse More than 1 year ago
Emotionally poignant story had me fully engaged with characters and situations. A page turner. An emotionally deep story, Elianna's grief over the loss of her brother while in her care is just the beginning of unhealed wounds she carries. Affecting her personally and relationally, her choices, reactions and actions, all accrue to more losses. I was entirely impressed with Ethan, her betrothed. Strong physically and emotionally; able and willing to support her in the day to day of business as well as the changing nature of her temperament. A particular scene regarding a ne'er do well Roman who ingratiated himself with ulterior motives to Elianna's father proved my undoing. The overhanging darkness of the clouds that had threatened rain since the book's beginning became a cloudburst that drenched Ethan and Elianna and me as a reader. Obviously well researched historically, the story is well written and revelatory of the time and location of Jerusalem. A unique fictional backstory to the scriptural account of a woman who approaches Christ for healing by touching the hem of His robes. *Appreciation to Tyndale Publishers for providing an ecopy for reading and my honest reactionsr without cost or obligation.