Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar - REVIEWED

“God has a bigger plan in mind, one that I could have never conceived.” (p.211)

I daresay none of us can begin to imagine the depth and breadth that God has designed for our lives. Certainly that can be said of the Canaanite harlot – Rahab. I’ve never read Rahab’s story without wondering why God chose her to be one that would be part of Jesus’ earthly linage. Tessa Afshar must have been even more intrigued that most with Rahab’s story, for she has penned a BEAUTIFUL rendering of Rahab’s life – Pearl in the Sand.

I truly believe Pearl in the Sand will quickly join the ranks of Christian classics such as Redeeming Love in both its scope and breadth of recapturing the lifestyle of Jewish people shortly after the exodus and the precious truths of God’s grace and mercy born out in the lives of redeemed sinners. Truly, this story will linger in the heart and mind of readers long after the last page, and leave you rejoicing in the vast love God has for sinners!

Afshar does an exquisite job of capturing every nuance of Rahab’s life from the moment she enters the life of a zonah until the moment she experiences redemptions. No emotion is left unexplored, no aspect of God’s mercy and grace is left unexplained. Rather, Rahab’s life becomes such a beacon of truth about the condition of every sinner’s soul and the power of God to redeem everyone. Rahab’s doubt and feelings of unworthiness must be breached every bit as much as the wall’s of Jericho upon which she once lived. The reader experiences her first encounter with God, the moment her understanding is opened to the truth as though you were experiencing it right along with her! And the scene from which the book draws its title - - - oh my!! I will NEVER forget the beauty of the truth presented in that part of the story!!

I’m often skeptical of stories that fictionalize characters from the Bible on which the Bible itself has little to say. However, Tessa Afshar says something I really appreciated before she even began telling her tale: “The best way to study the Bible is not through a novel, but simply to read the original. This story can in no way replace the transformative power that the reader will encounter in the Scriptures.” Afshar then lists all of the Biblical references for Rahab’s story. Now this lady…she has my attention now!

And Pearl in the Sand captured my attention wholly and fully from first page to last. I scribbled down passages I wanted to remember, and page numbers that made me laugh or cry. Oh, reader! Truly, you MUST read this book!! Your heart will be forever changed!

About the Author:

TESSA AFSHAR was born in a nominally Muslim family in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She survived English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her mid-twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDIV from Yale University where she served as co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last twelve years in full and part-time Christian work and currently serves as the leader of Women’s and Prayer ministries at a church in New England.


Julia M. Reffner said...

Great review and interview, Kim. I can't wait to read this book!

Emily said...

If you enjoyed Tessa's novel, you might want to check out her new Sands of Jericho reader contest.

The prize is valued at over $200 and includes perfumes from the Bible, and an incredible golden jewelry box.

You can see the contest here:

:) Emily