Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar – Book Review

Posted October 9, 2020 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar – Book Review

Pearl in the Sand

by Tessa Afshar

Published by Moody Publishers
Publication Date October 6, 2020
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Israel Creation to the Judges
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 416


Can a Canaanite harlot who made her living enticing men be a fitting wife for a leader of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.
This 10th anniversary edition of Pearl in the Sand includes new features that will invite you into the untold story of Rahab’s journey from lowly outcast to redeemed child of God. Rahab’s home is built into a wall, a wall that fortifies and protects the City of Jericho. However, other walls surround her too, walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness… Years of pain and betrayal have wounded Rahab’s heart—she doubts whether her dreams of experiencing true love will ever come true…
A woman with a wrecked past—a man of success, of faith... of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Dear Tessa Afshar,

Thank you for your amazing story, Pearl in the Sand. While I have read many Biblical fiction stories, including a number of yours, few have touched my heart in the way this one has.

Rahab’s story is one that I have pondered occasionally, yet never in much detail. I revel in the thought that she is included in the genealogy of Jesus – that picture of grace alone is enough to make her story amazing. Though, somehow, I don’t think I ever pictured the struggle she would have gone through in accepting that grace and mercy for herself. How much shame she would have endured, both from within and from those around her.

As Rahab and her family are taught the laws and requirements for becoming a part of the children of Israel, I was so impressed with the way you pushed past the rules and into the heart of the Law. Where so many see only regulations and sacrifices demanded, Rahab instead saw the heart of the God who loves His children and desires purity of heart and mind. She understood how obedience is not a matter of doing what is forced but an act of love.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of the events from the Book of Joshua occur through Rahab and Salmone’s eyes. When the sun stood still and those back at the camp saw it without knowing how or why… Wow! Of course they were surprised!

I knew, from reading your introduction, that there would be a touching defining moment related to “the pearl”, though it was only hinted at there. I’m really not one who often cries while I’m reading. Sure, I might know a moment is beautiful and that it would make others cry, but my tears are rare. When I arrived at that scene, however, I knew it was “the” one. And I did cry.

Thank you again for this incredible picture of grace and mercy. Of acceptance and how we are made clean through God’s kindness.



The one caveat I have is from when Salmone was helping Rahab understand forgiveness. In some ways, it appeared that if the motive for her sin had been worse, if, for example, she had been a temple prostitute instead of simply a harlot, forgiveness wouldn’t have been given or that her shame would have been justified.

I don’t believe that was the author’s intent – I just want to make it clear here.

There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. It is not about why we sinned – it is about receiving forgiveness now with a humble heart.

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About Tessa Afshar

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction.

Her novel, Thief of Corinth (released August 2018), received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016, and nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance.

Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category.

Her book, Harvest of Rubies, was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category.

Her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011.

Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate.

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