Monday, June 10, 2013

REVIEW: HARVEST OF GOLD ~ TESSA AFSHAR

Moody Publishers has graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Harvest of Gold is to be released on 01 July 2013.  Pre-order your copy in great anticipation, you’re going to love it!

Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar is a sequel to Harvest of Rubies, and the story commences a few months after the conclusion of the first.


Sarah and Darius have called a truce and are trying to make their marriage work.  Darius, however, is disconcerted by the strong feelings his wife triggers in him, and in an effort to remain unaffected by her, he unknowingly and unintentionally hurts her with his attempts to keep his distance – emotionally and physically.  While accepting his wife and soaking up her admissions of love, Darius is unable and unwilling to reciprocate.  Firmly believing that he will never be able to love Sarah, Darius breaks his wife’s heart on a daily basis.  Hurt, but determined to make her husband happy, Sarah works very hard to become the kind of wife God wants her to be; but a lifetime of habits proves difficult to break, and both Sarah and Darius will have to learn to rely not on themselves, but on the One who made them.  Only God can help them break apart their old foundations and help them to rebuild their habits, their hearts, and ultimately their relationships with each other and with God.  Can Sarah help to turn her husband’s heart to “his mother’s God”?  Can a nobleman with a deep-seated desire to please his father turn his back on his father’s way of life?

While traveling to Susa on invitation from King Artaxerxes and Queen Damaspia, Sarah and Darius discover and foil a plot to assassinate the King, and Darius finds himself tasked with solving the mystery; with Sarah’s help, of course.  Facing such a daunting task while still carefully mending the holes in their marriage could either make or break their delicate bond. 

We thus join Darius and Sarah on a journey to Jerusalem, accompanying Nehemiah on his mission of rebuilding the Holy City.  The Bible book of Nehemiah is flawlessly incorporated into the story, and is beautifully brought to life.  As Pearl in The Sand compelled me to reread Rahab’s story in the book of Joshua, so did Harvest of Gold compel me to reread the book of Nehemiah – and whenever an author of Christian fiction triggers in their readers the need to examine, or re-examine, the Bible, I think they have accomplished a marvellous feat!

In Harvest of Gold Sarah and Darius’ fragile marriage experiences even more challenges than it did in Harvest of Rubies (who would have thought it possible?!), which I won’t elaborate on to avoid spoilers.  This time around the reader gets a glimpse into Darius’ childhood and we learn why he is so closed off from emotion, and why Sarah faces such a hard battle to not only help her husband to love and be loved, but to turn her husband’s heart towards the Lord. 

We also meet two of Darius friends (who thoroughly charmed me), Lysander and Roxanne. Sidebar: I would love books with these two as protagonists. What fascinating characters they are!

Anyone who has read Harvest of Rubies quite simply has to continue Darius and Sarah’s story with Harvest of Gold – you will not be disappointed!  While no less intense than its predecessor, Harvest of Gold delivers everything I could have ever hoped for, for Sarah and Darius.  If you are new to this story, I would not suggest that you read Harvest of Gold as a stand-alone novel.  Where Harvest of Rubies focuses more strongly on Sarah, Harvest of Gold sheds more light on Darius; you need to read both to appreciate the character development of both Sarah and Darius.  The characters also recall several events of the past, and having no idea what they are referring to might diminish your connection to this story; Besides, it is an absolute joy to follow Darius and Sarah’s story from the very beginning, sharing both of their inner struggles and eventual enlightenment.  In this way, the state and progression of their relationship is also more understandable and relatable.

Afshar’s next book will be a sequel of sorts to my beloved Pearl In The Sand, and will tell the tale of Rahab and Salmone’s son, Boaz, and his Ruth – one of the most beloved romances of the Bible.  I can’t wait for this one! 

While relatively new to the trade, Afshar is one of those authors who so clearly has a God-given talent for writing as well as the Lord’s blessing over her work, and has already proven herself an author who won’t let you down.  Her ability to incorporate a work of fiction into a well-known Biblical tale and/or historical facts is second to none, her character development is strong and realistic, and her flare for romance and intrigue combine for an unforgettable read.  She has firmly established herself as one of my absolute favourite authors, right up there with Francine Rivers and Dee Henderson.  Ms Afshar, may God continue to bless you in your writing, and may you bring us many more books to love and cherish. 


Product Information:
Title: Harvest of Gold
Author: Tessa Afshar
Number of Pages: 368
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Year: 2013
ISBN-10: 0802405592
ISBN- 13: 978-0802405593

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