Tag Archives: Biblical fiction

2021 Carol Award Winners!

11 Sep

Congratulations to the talented authors who are this year’s winners of the ACFW Carol Award. I hope your TBR wishlist just got longer! 😉

2021 Carol Award Winners

Contemporary

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: L. B. Norton

Historical

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

Historical Romance

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jennifer Veilleux

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Dead End by Nancy Mehl; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jean Bloom

Novella

Far as the Curse is Found (from The Joy to the World Collection) by Amanda Barratt; Kregel Publications; Editors: Janyre Tromp and Dori De Vries Harrell

Romance

Love and A Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: Raela Schoenherr

Romantic Suspense

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davison; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Ines Jimenez and Deb Elkink

Short Novel

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter; Love Inspired (Harlequin); Editor: Melissa Endlich

Speculative

Stealing Embers by Julie Hall; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Rebecca Heyman and Janelle Leonard

Young Adult

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads; Enclave Publishing; Editors: Steve Laube and Lisa Laube

Debut Author

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

Blog Tour + Giveaway! — Lavender Tears

19 Jul

Lavender Tears JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Lavender Tears by Sondra Cunningham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lavender TearsTitle: Lavender Tears
Author: Sondra Cunningham
Release Date: March 12, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Biblical Women’s Fiction

The strength to rise again and again is not for the faint of heart.

Like each new sunrise, Mary of Bethany’s journey required an inner strength and faith that would permeate through the darkness of life’s unexpected tragedies.

When her hopes and dreams came crashing down around her, Mary’s life began to spin, seemingly, out of control. What she couldn’t see, was that God, the faithful potter, was shaping her life into a valuable vessel. One mended and filled with the pure gold of the Father’s love and destined for a unique purpose.

Held together by the sweet and calming scent of lavender and the memories of her mother’s garden, Mary journeys on, learning how to defeat the night and radiate like the noon day sun.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

EXCERPT

Chapter Twenty

“A sincere faith.”

1 Timothy 1:5, TPT

When I placed my palms on the fine sand, I could feel the remaining warmth from the fired piece buried beneath. After several hours of cooling, the time had come to dig it out for inspection. After I put on my gloves, I pushed the sand to the side, going deeper and deeper while paying attention to the level of heat. I could tell my jug had cooled completely since the sand closest to the piece was no longer hot. Slowly, I revealed the handles then lifted it up out of the sand.

It was beautiful, everything I had anticipated and more. The color was a deep tan, and the carved roses remained as defined and smooth as I had hoped. With a little polishing, painting, and glazing, it would truly be something to behold. I stood carefully, sweeping the side of my foot over the piled sand to level the surface. After dusting off myself and the piece, I went inside to inspect it further.

I took my jug over to the large water barrel inside the shop and slowly dipped it in. Lifting it in and out of the water, filling it up and pouring it out, I rinsed it thoroughly. Once all the sand was cleaned off, I performed the most important test.

Can it hold water?

Dipping the jug in deeply, I slowly pushed it farther down into the water. I watched with great anticipation as I lifted it out. Drip after drip of water rolled off the sides of the piece. I brought it over to the table and placed it on a few folded rags while I dried the outside of the jug, eager to celebrate.

A few minutes passed, and I couldn’t see any obvious cracks or leaks. I was turning the rags to check for moisture when I saw it. Along the bottom decorative rim of the jug was a hairline crack running around the edge of the piece. The rags had moistened just underneath, where the water was discreetly seeping out.

I sat back in my chair, completely numb from the revelation of failure. I didn’t know what to feel and wondered if I should dump it out and smash it outside with the other ruined pots. It was so beautiful, so visually flawless. All my pain, all my brokenness had sculpted this beautiful vessel. And for what? Only to symbolically expose my own cracks and brokenness hidden beneath a beautiful face. I picked up the jug and poured the water back into the barrel, dried it thoroughly, and set it back on the table. Pacing back and forth, contemplating what to do with it, I could feel the past flooding in like a mighty wave. 

The voices in my head rang louder and louder as despair opened the door: “Nothing you will ever do will be good enough. You are worthless, like this broken vessel. Give in. Give up. You’re only good for pleasure. You are flawed. Cover it up.”

Cover it up? That’s it! I’ll fill it with wax, polish it, and paint it! No one will ever know the difference!

I took the piece off the table and quickly went to work on polishing. Once everything was smooth, I carefully laid the jug on its good side then dripped hot wax into the crack. After several coats, I set the jug on its bottom and repeated a similar process to the inside of the crack. When I was satisfied that the wax had dried in place, I filled the jug with water once again and waited to see if it had worked. Success! I saw no seepage whatsoever. I cleaned up the surface of the jug once more and set it on the shelf for painting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sondra Cunningham

Sondra Cunningham is a wife, mother, worship leader, women’s minister, artist, dreamer, interpreter, and the writer of the new novel, “Lavender Tears.” Her words are eloquently written with sincere pathos and personal understanding of life’s hardships. Sondra’s desire is to use her voice in both song and written word, to sing healing over others and inspire the fallen to get back up. Through many difficulties within her years, Sondra has learned the precious truth of overcoming. Her ministry radiates hope for all those who have struggled to truly receive the love of God and find the confidence to leave the past behind. Sondra lives and works out of her home in upstate New York with her family. She spends her time passionately seeking Jesus, homeschooling her two children, leading worship, biblically interpreting dreams, painting, and writing.

CONNECT WITH SONDRA: Website | Facebook | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winners will receive a hardcover copy of Lavender Tears, Target gift card for $10, a digital copy of the Lavender Tears Devotional, and a lavender sachet!

Lavender Tears JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 19, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 26, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Print copy US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Top 10 Tuesday — I Want More!

8 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Challenge is books that made us want more. For my list I went to my past If You Liked . . . posts. Every month I take my book club’s selection and list more novels that feature some of the same elements as the book we just read. For today’s list I have chosen a variety of genres — something for every reading taste. I hope you find some books to love. (And for more reading recommendations, you can find past posts by clicking on the If You Liked . . . link in the side bar.)

For more great reading recommendations, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

If You Liked . . .

The Escape by Lisa Harris


US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

US Marshall Service — Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

Strong Female Character — Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

Edge of Seat Suspense – Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

Exotic Locale — A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

Curiosities and Mystery — Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Interwoven Dual Timelines — The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name — but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

Suspense in A Small Town — Trial by Fire by Kathy Herman

Heroine with Struggles — Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

PTSD — Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except . . . she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south — into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting — even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Importance of Family — Practically Married by Karin Beery

Overcoming Fears — When You Look At Me by Pepper Basham

Past Impacts Present — Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what — but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery. 

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life. 

The Hebrew People in Egypt — Miriam by Mesu Andrews

More on Cleopatra — The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy Higley

Remaining Faithful — A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

If You Liked Egypt’s Sister . . .

31 Oct

My book club found Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt an interesting read. We liked the cultural and historical details, as well as the spiritual lessons of this novel set during the time between the Testaments. If you liked it too, here are a few recommendations. I hope you find a book to love!

 

More about The Jewish People in Egypt

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 
 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
 
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

More about Cleopatra

The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy Higley

A jealous Egyptian queen. A lascivious Galilean governor. A beautiful servant girl.
Theirs is a story of prophecy, self-discovery, and revelation.

The year is 39 BC. All of Alexandria awaits the arrival of Herod, the Galilean governor with his eye on the Judean kingship. The handmaid of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, receives a troubling visit from her aging mentor.

An orphan since birth, Lydia lives in the palace at the demand of Cleopatra and her royal child, the son of Julius Caesar. But Lydia has a growing problem on her hands: her beauty is becoming a liability to the aging queen, and the visiting Herod’s undisguised interest only makes matters worse.

When Lydia’s mentor is murdered, the handmaid inherits a daunting task. An ancient set of sealed scrolls, the secret writings of the prophet Daniel, must be returned to Jerusalem–before those who killed her mentor destroy the scrolls as well. The future of the Israelites
depends on it. So Lydia leaves the palace to serve as lady’s maid to Herod’s wife in the Holy City.

As Lydia is absorbed into the machinations of Herod’s household, her mission– and her people’s hope of a Messianic King–are endangered at every turn. Can Lydia avoid the adulterous intentions of Herod? Can she deliver the scrolls to the mysterious man on the steps of the Temple? Will the true King of Israel ever rise?

Remaining Faithful

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

 

 

 

First Line Friday — Rahab’s Story

7 Aug

Happy Friday! I yet again searched my long-suffering TBR shelves for this week’s first line. Rahab’s Story by Ann Burton has been in my possession a very long time. Unfortunately, life and shiny new book distractions have kept me from reading it. If you have read this worthy novel about a woman in Jesus’ lineage, I would love to know why I need to move it to the top of the pile. 🙂

Here is the first line:

 

I first beheld The House of Palms on the same day that I was cast out from my home and family. 

 

 

The Bible is filled with women of faith, bravery, and cunning. Here is one woman’s tale — as it might have happened  . . . .
 
“And the city shall be accursed . . . and all that are therein . . . only Rahab the harlot shall live . . . .”—Joshua 6:17
 
Once, she was Rahab the Beautiful, eldest daughter of a weaver — and secret believer in her dead mother’s cherished Judaism. But when her hateful stepmother accused her of witchery, Rahab was banished to almost certain death in Jericho. Now the girl known as Rahab the Outcast has no choice but to mingle with the city’s untouchables — and join its ranks of prostitutes…
 
Even from the mire, Rahab keeps alive her faith in God. Then two Jewish spies for Joshua appear on her doorstep, begging her to hide them. Now, Rahab faces the biggest decision of her life: stay safe and slam the door in their faces — or help her fellow believers, and transform herself from harlot to heroine.

Ann Burton is the author of the popular Women of the Bible series of historical romances, including Rahab’s Story, Deborah’s Story, Jael’s Story, and Abigail’s Story.

 

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Book Review: Unveiled

16 Jul

The story of Tamar, book one in the popular Lineage of Grace series by the New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind

Betrayed by men who controlled her future, she fought for the right to believe in a loving God.

Meet Tamar, one of the five women in the lineage of Christ. She risked her life and her reputation to be the woman she was called to be. Her story serves as an example of how God uses our circumstances and our steps toward Him, however faltering, to fulfill His plan.

 

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America’s coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Visit Francine online at http://www.francinerivers.com and connect with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FrancineRivers) and Twitter (@FrancineRivers).

 

My Impressions:

My Bible study/book club, Faith And Fiction, chose Unveiled as an easy summer study. We spent 6 weeks studying the scripture guide at the end of the novella. The questions are easily accessible for all people at all stages in their faith journey. While not terribly in-depth, they did promote great conversations. I chose to do the study first, and then read the fictional account of Tamar and Judah so that I wouldn’t color my perception of the scripture. I did like Rivers’ take on Tamar and Judah. These two flawed characters were fleshed out realistically and credibly. I always have a lot of what-ifs about Biblical figures, and Unveiled helped me imagine the culture that the two were part of. It also fueled my imagination about Judah’s son Er’s wickedness. Rivers did a great job detailing all the possibilities with his personality and attitudes. Of course with Biblical fiction there is a lot of filling in the gaps, and Unveiled is no exception. But I did not find anything that was inconsistent with the Biblical record. A short and quick read (I read it in an afternoon), the novella and accompanying guide is a good place to begin exploring the women who are named in Jesus’ genealogy.

Recommended. 

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

First Line Friday — Stones of My Accusers

3 Apr

Happy Friday! I hope all is well with you and your family. This week I am again sharing a book from my TBR shelves. I had the great pleasure of meeting Tracy Groot a few years back. The members of my 2 book clubs and their guests spent a wonderful evening learning about writing and research. She was a delightful guest. And generous too! She gifted us with a signed copy of her novel, Stones of My Accusers. Set in the days after Christ’s crucifixion, this book is definitely one I need to read, especially now. Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts.

 

For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

A captivating, stand-alone sequel to The Brother’s Keeper, Stones of my Accusers reveals the transforming difference Christ’s mercy makes through the lives of several compelling characters. Joab and Jorah are each traveling separately to find a prostitute named Rivkah and inform her of her son, Nathanael’s, death. Joab has been commissioned to take Nathanael’s words to Rivkah, “Tell her, ‘No stones’.” Jorah, a sister of Jesus, secretly plans to get revenge on Rivkah. Through the story of the stones and the sacrifice of a Roman official, each character’s life is forever impacted by the amazing mercy of God.

Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award–winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her books have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called “beautifully written” and “page-turning” by Publishers Weekly, and “gripping” with “exquisitely drawn” characters by Library Journal.

Tracy and her husband have three grown sons and a daughter-in-law and enjoy board games, warm vacations, any kind of travel, Detroit Lions football, foodie experiences, and most anything that gives them time together.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Single Word Titles

3 Mar

Book titles are very important in attracting a potential reader’s interest. Catchy, funny, and punny titles often catch my eye. But there is something about those one word titles — succinct, decisive, powerful. My list consists of the last 10 books I read with one word titles (just one word; no defining articles). They cover a variety of genres — mystery, historical, suspense, speculative, romance — something for everyone!

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, make sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top 10 One Word Titles

 

Convergence by Ginny Yttrup (suspense)

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren (historical romance)

Miriam by Mesu Andrews (Biblical)

Prophet by R J Larson (fantasy)

Reign by Ginger Garrett (Biblical)

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey (romantic suspense)

Silenced by Dani Pettrey (romantic suspense)

Stratagem by Robin Caroll (suspense)

Synapse by Steven James (speculative)

Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert (mystery)

First Line Friday — Daughter of Rome

7 Feb

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar, Biblical fiction that explores the life of Priscilla, a disciple who lived in the 1st century. Tessa has taken the scant account of her life and ministry and created a beautiful novel that is relevant to today’s readers. In addition, I have a copy of Daughter of Rome to give away! Just click HERE to enter.

 

For more fabulous first lines be sure to check out Hoarding Books.

 

When the daughter of a prominent Roman general meets a disinherited Jewish immigrant, neither one can dream of God’s plan to transform them into the most influential couple of the early church. Nor can they anticipate the mountains that will threaten to bury them. Their courtship unwittingly shadowed by murder and betrayal, Priscilla and Aquila slowly work to build a community of believers, while their lives grow increasingly complicated thanks to a shaggy dog, a mysterious runaway, and a ruthless foe desperate for love. But when they’re banished from their home by a capricious emperor, they must join forces with an unusual rabbi named Paul and fight to turn treachery into redemption.

With impeccable research and vivid detail, Daughter of Rome is both an emotive love story and an immersive journey through first-century Rome and Corinth, reminding readers once again why Debbie Macomber has said that “no one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”

Tessa Afshar is the award-winning author of many biblical and inspirational historical fiction books, including Harvest of Gold which won a Christy Award and In the Field of Grace, a biblical fiction on the life of Ruth. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com.

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — Daughter of Rome

5 Feb

When the daughter of a prominent Roman general meets a disinherited Jewish immigrant, neither one can dream of God’s plan to transform them into the most influential couple of the early church. Nor can they anticipate the mountains that will threaten to bury them. Their courtship unwittingly shadowed by murder and betrayal, Priscilla and Aquila slowly work to build a community of believers, while their lives grow increasingly complicated thanks to a shaggy dog, a mysterious runaway, and a ruthless foe desperate for love. But when they’re banished from their home by a capricious emperor, they must join forces with an unusual rabbi named Paul and fight to turn treachery into redemption.

With impeccable research and vivid detail, Daughter of Rome is both an emotive love story and an immersive journey through first-century Rome and Corinth, reminding readers once again why Debbie Macomber has said that “no one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”

Tessa Afshar is the award-winning author of many biblical and inspirational historical fiction books, including Harvest of Gold which won a Christy Award and In the Field of Grace, a biblical fiction on the life of Ruth. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com.

 

My Impressions:

Biblical fiction is a tricky genre — a writer has to balance the scriptural record with the what-ifs of story. Tessa Afshar is one of the best at it, and her newest novel, Daughter of Rome is a great example of why. Set during the days of the early church, this book brought to life a woman who is mentioned several times in the Book of Acts as well as other NT books. Afshar takes the barest of details and weaves a credible and intriguing account of Priscilla and the era in which she lived. If you are a fan of this genre, then Daughter of Rome is a must-read!

With meticulous research, Afshar creates a backstory for Priscilla. Born in Rome, daughter of an acclaimed general, yet on the outside of society, Priscilla is wooed by God. The fictional account of a first century Priscilla will resonate with modern women. Daughter of Rome is a love story between a man and a woman, but more a love story between a woman and her God. Of course, Aquila (always mentioned with Priscilla in the Biblical accounts) plays a large part in the book, but it is really Priscilla and her struggles and victories that take center stage. Afshar has included historical figures in her book, namely Paul, that give it authenticity and believability. The depiction of the day to day of the characters emphasizes their ordinariness — it is really an extraordinary God who transforms their lives. Priscilla faithfully lives a hidden life, a quiet life of sacrifice which proves a great example and motivator for today’s believers. As I read this book, I pondered how much impact today’s church could have if we followed the example of 1st century believers.

Daughter of Rome with its many themes and topics — Jew and Gentile, law and grace, power of prayer, belief in the miraculous — is perfect for book club discussions. In fact, I have chosen this book for a Bible study/book club that I lead. I look forward to a great conversation. So grab this book (and perhaps a few reading friends) and dig in — I think you will love it!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

Tessa is generously giving away one copy of Daughter of Rome to one of my readers. Squee! Just leave a comment on why you love Biblical fiction to be entered. I will randomly select a winner on February 20. (US residents only.)