Friday, March 4, 2011

Pearl In The Sand by Tessa Afshar

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.

The Review:
My Ranking: 10 out of 10
Ages: 15 & up

There are very few books that can compare to Pearl In The Sand. It was incredible.  I buried myself in the book the night I received it and had it finished by morning. I cant put into words how much I enjoyed it. It was well written and historically accurate - I was enthralled by Rahab's story. Afshar did an amazing job at keeping it clean while still portraying the life of a prostitute. Redemption soaked the pages and at times I felt myself on the verge of tears at the beautiful reconciliation.

Rahab's character was extremely realistic. She felt that she couldn't ever truly be completely forgiven for the wrong she had done - being a prostitute. While she wasn't a prostitute by choice in the story, she still felt that the sin she had committed was too great to be forgotten. Poor Salmone, as hard as he tried, only made things worse.

Salmone's character was also very realistic. He was very judgmental and condescending - very much how I would expect many Christian people of today to respond if a prostitute entered their home. Harlots were a HUGE "no no" for the Israelites. I found it very likely that Salmone and some of the other inhabitants of the camp were extremely judgmental.
But he eventually came around and realized what an amazing woman Rahab was. ;-) I loved his protectiveness and longing to make everything right - even when it was hard. I absolutely LOVED Salmone's character.

The lesson in the book was amazing. You can read more about it in my book discussion post here on Book Ponderings, but suffice to say it was an extremely great lesson that all of us need to keep in mind.

Naturally with Rahab being a prostitute there are a few things I need to point out.
First off I want to say though that Tessa Afshar couldn't have handled the situation any better. She was excellent at being able to keep readers comfortable while still understanding the circumstances Rahab was in. 

There are a few scenes in the beginning where she is with a man and it may mention her laying sprawled under a sheet while her lover paces the room. That was as extreme as it got in that area.
There is some discussion on and after Salmone and Rahab's wedding night. There are some tender kisses and such - nothing more physically described than that. It is obvious that the couple have consummated their marriage by the next morning though - but it wasn't descriptive at all past kisses. 
There is a bit of violence - not very descriptive, but a character is injured pretty badly. Nothing explicit is described and I wasn't bothered by it at all. 
Other than a few steamy moments between a husband and his wifes(kisses) and minor violence, there is nothing more to point out! 

That much being said, I HIGHLY recommend you read this book. It is a story you will want to read over and over again and it will leave you releasing a contented sigh every time you turn the last page.


Carmen7351 said...

I really enjoy Biblical Fiction. The only one I've read to date is Francine Rivers. Would love to win Tessa's book and get a different perspective. Thanks.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Isaac Permann said...

You most read all the time! I mean, you keep having reviews before a person can even look the book up. jk. but you must read a lot. (which is good, don't get me wrong)
Oh, and you do a nice job writing the reviews! keep up the good work! :)

Jane said...

Carmen: Sorry! This isn't a giveaway - the giveaway is the post below. :-)

Isaac: Yes I am an atrocious reader! lol. I read between 2-4 books a week on average - so I've read more than 20 books so far this year. :-)
Thank you! I try my best! :-)

Vivien said...

This does sound promising. Excellent review. I'll have to check this one out.

Merry said...

Rahab is an unusual person to write about, I look forward to reading about her in Pearl in the Sand. Thanks for nudge to go and grab it off my TBR pile!

Jolene said...

I read this book a few months ago and I agree that it is incredible!!!

Amanda said...

I really liked the review! I've seen this book around and have been wondering what I might find in it considering the characters, but you put my mind at ease and have me hoping I can get my hands on a copy soon! The cover of this is so pretty, too!

I have to say, I really like and appreciate how you break your reviews down so people know exactly what they're getting, from age group to content. That is an awesome idea! Thank you for being so considerate of others :)


Beth said...

Great review! I have been wanting to read this book for quite a while, and your review has just added fuel to that fire ;)

I'm really enjoying exploring your blog!

Anonymous said...

I read this book as well....another great book. I will always look at Rehab a different way after reading this book!

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