"Pearl in the Sand" is a Biblical/historical romance novel about Rahab's life before and after Jericho's walls fell. I think both women and men would enjoy the story since the romance was realistic, with the shadows of a painful past and different upbringings shading their attraction and then creating troubles in making their marriage work.
The characters were engaging and very human. They struggled with things common throughout the ages: shame, guilt, pride, forgiveness, change, etc. The author stayed true to what was given in Scripture about Rahab and then filled out the details with reasonable events. I've read four fictional versions of Rahab's story, and this one is easily my favorite.
It was clear that the author spent time researching the culture to fill out the details of daily life. She also wove great Scriptural insights into the story as Rahab learned more about the God she chose to serve. I suspect that reading this story will be transformative for many readers.
I did notice that some more modern Jewish traditions (which wouldn't have existed at that time) were worked into the story as a part of Israelite culture, but that's understandable. All authors have to stop researching at some point, and these things weren't critical to the story. A couple scenes also had somewhat modern sensibilities (like the reason Salmone hesitated to kill an enemy soldier). But I was disappointed that the author knew of Deut. 22:11 and worked in into the story yet overlooked Deut. 24:5, which would have made a major impact on the story.
There was no explicit sex. There was no bad language. Overall, I highly recommend this enjoyable and insightful novel. I look forward to Tessa Afshar's future novels.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar 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 … more
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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. At the age of fifteen Rahab is forced into prostitution by her beloved father. In her years as a courtesan, she learns to mistrust men and hate herself. Into the emotional turmoil of her world walks Salmone, a respected leader of Judah. Through the tribulations of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth in God and find healing from fear and rejection.