Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

In Jericho, in the time of Moses, Rahab is a happy young girl barely entered into womanhood. When her family falls into desperation, her father enters her into prostitution to feed their starving family. Rahab, ever dutiful, faces her fate with courage. She makes the most out of her situation, controlling the number and status of men who seek her out. Soon she is a woman of independent means and purchases a small inn built against the walls of Jericho to conduct her business.

One day, she saves two Israelite spies from certain death. From them she learns about God and that the Israelites will soon attack Jericho. To spare her and her family, they promise not to attack the inn if they hang a red ribbon above their door. The Israelite spies are true to their word. The Israelites slaughter the entire population of Jericho except for Rahab and her family. With no community, the family seek acceptance within the Israelites.

Amongst the Israelites, Salmone is a strong military leader of the tribe of Judah. Angered that the two spies he sent made a deal with a prostitute, and certain they will bring trouble, he is wary about their acceptance into their community. But Rahab's undying love and dedication to God slowly endears her to him and soon, he knows without doubt that he loves her, but if he wants to marry her and make her his, Salmone must learn to accept her past.

The Pearl in the Sand is not only a biblical story, but a love story about two people who must overcome much and place their faith in God and each other. The author excelled at bringing this period of history to life through research of facts, descriptions, and the day to day items. It gave the story a thread of believability that ran throughout the story. It is an easy, relaxed read, which meanders at a gentle pace. This is a Christian novel with very strong elements of religion throughout, more than is usually found in Christian historical fiction. The love story is compelling, as are the historical details. And this made for a good summer read.

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