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Harvest of Gold: (Book 2) Paperback – July 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 "e;Afshar has created a treasure of a book. Brilliant characterization, adventure, intrigue, and humor coupled with deep emotional impact garner a solid five stars.”

—Kris Wilson, CBA Retailers+Resources, July 13, 2013 

"e;I believe this is the first book I have read which takes place during the time of Nehemiah. Having participated in a year long small group study covering this book of the Bible I was particularly interested in Harvest of Gold. And of course I was excited to read this book because Afshar has become my favorite biblical fiction novelist since the release of Pearl in the Sand. Combine this with a healthy dose of cover love and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book!

 Afshar’s strong background in religious and historic studies shines through in her fiction. Her accurate use of historical detail and her gift in writing descriptions make her fiction come alive. Harvest of Gold is a beautiful exploration of the full meaning of marriage and its value as an example of God’s love for us. Also, the topic of spiritual warfare is explored in depth through the building of the wall and in the individual character’s lives.

 I believe this book would provide valuable bibliotherapy for those dealing with a miscarriage or even for those dealing with marriage issues. I can’t wait for Afshar’s next release!"e;

 —Julia Reffner, review posted on Net Galley, August 12, 2013

"e;I like reading historical fiction novels, but rarely do I read one set almost 2500 years ago. Harvest of Gold takes place in Persia and in Jerusalem during the rebuilding of its walls in 445 BC. Having studied Bible history, I am familiar with Nehemiah's story and was intrigued as to how the author would involve this Biblical character. Clearly, this is a well-researched story and pretty accurate regarding this time in history.
The story is essentially about Sarah, an intelligent Jewish scribe, recently married to Darius, a Persian aristocrat, and their journey as their marriage unravels. Set during the restoration of Jerusalem during Nehemiah's time, the author uses the timeless principles in the book of Nehemiah as both Sarah and Darius struggle with issues of duty and faith.
I was unaware that this book is the sequel to Harvest of Rubies, and only realized this as references were made to events from the first book that I was clueless about. I wished the author would have summarized some things that had taken place in the first book. Notwithstanding this, I still enjoyed this novel. It was refreshing because of the setting. The plot also included an attempt to murder King Artaxerxes. I liked the author's notes at the end of the novel that further explained historical details.
Sarah is a strong female character and Darius is handsome and physically strong. There is passion between the two of them, although sometimes their behaviour confused me. One minute they are in each other's arms and the next they are pulling away and there is distance. They end up being apart for most of the novel. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a contemporary romance. Also, their dialogue often used expressions that were definitely not used in the middle east before the common era, such as the word “sweetheart” which originated in the 13thcentury and is an English expression. Because of this, there were times when I wasn't totally immersed or transported to the time and place of the story.
Overall, this was a good story. I have the first book Harvest of Rubies on my Kindle, and will probably read it in the future when I'm in the mood for another different historical setting. It had so many rave reviews on Amazon. If you like Biblical historical fiction and romance, I suggest giving this one a try, but perhaps after reading the first book. It's clean with plenty of action."e;

-Laura Fabiana, reviewed on Net Galley, Augusut 23, 2013

After having a chance to settle into her role as the wife of a Persian nobleman, Sarah is again called back to the court she once served in as a scribe. Intending to go with her husband for just a short trip, they are soon caught up in a plot to uncover who is trying to overthrow the king. Sent on a double mission for Darius to uncover who is behind the plot and for Sarah to serve her cousin, Nehemiah, as a scribe, the couple find that their marriage is very much like the walls of Jerusalem. Built on distrust and coming from different religious backgrounds, they must learn to work together as more than just a partnership. Can Darius put behind the disappointments of court life in order to fully give his heart? Can Sarah learn to let her God work on her husband and herself?
I enjoyed the first book in this series and very much appreciated that this one had the same flavor as the first. The details are rich and it is quite easy to become attached to the characters, since Tessa Afshar makes the Old Testament come alive. Excellent!

- Amanda Holmes, reviewed on Net Galley, September 10, 2013

After reading Harvest of Rubies I just had to continue on with the story of Sarah and Darius in Harvest of Gold. Sarah & Darius seem to have it all, money & power, but not the love of her husband. This story is about their marriage, how they both have issues and need to overcome them to become the man and woman God would want them to be to each other. I enjoyed this novel very much and look forward to anything put out by Tessa Afshar. Rated:  5 out of 5 stars.

Dawn Cronk, reviewed on Net Galley, November 4, 2013

Review

"e;Harvest of Gold is a great story. But it is more than that. The people come
alive on the pages
and in their pain and struggle you will see yourself."e;

—Chris Fabry, award-winning author and radio personality

 

"e;Harvest of Gold is a compelling historical novel whose characters will dwell in your thoughts long after you close the book. Author Tessa Afshar has done a wonderful job with this story set in the days of Nehemiah, giving us a glimpse of what might have been. I could see ancient Jerusalem and Persia through her descriptions, and am richer in my knowledge of those times for having read this book. Don't miss it!"e;

—Jill Eileen Smith, best-selling author of the Wives of King David series.

 

"e;Engaging. Inspiring. Heart- stopping and heart- rending. Harvest of God takes readers on a journey from ancient Persia to the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, re-building our hope as Nehemiah’s story is woven through a complex plot with multi-layered characters we love and hate and then love some more. A fabulous biblical novel that sent me straight back to God’s Word!"e;

—Mesu Andrews, Award-winning author (winner of the ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author of the Year, 2012) 

 

Praise for the first book in the series Harvest of Rubies

"e;Sarah is a Jew in ancient Persia, cousin of Nehemiah, and the daughter of the scribe Simeon, whose attention she wins only when she proves to possess literary abilities of her own. In this latest by Afshar (Pearl in the Sand), the Bible's ancient Near Eastern context is the setting for an engaging story of pluck, friendship, and faith. Sarah becomes a professional scribe and wins the affections of the queen only to find herself bound to marry a man she doesn't know and forced to give up the job that she loves. When she botches her wedding, and is abandoned to a rural estate, it would seem that all is lost. But Sarah finds wisdom and strength in the texts and traditions of her people, and knits together an unconventional community of support. Afshar's story challenges misconceptions about harem life and the roles of ancient women while introducing readers to a lovable heroine whose good heart wins out over bumbling ways to prove a boon to others, too. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books and Such (May)"e;

–Publishers Weekly, 5/14/12

"e;In Harvest of Rubies, gifted author Tessa Afshar transports us to an ancient time where we find a heroine who feels like a contemporary friend. A scribe in the court of Persia, Sarah struggles with placing her value in what she does instead of who she is in God. Her faith journey strengthened mine and will inspire yours."e;

—Lauren Yarger, National Book Critics Circle

"e;I loved  Harvest of Rubies!  … Sarah is a wonderful character - always herself no matter what the situation.  I loved the way she always said exactly what she thought.  And Darius is terrific too - readers will adore him.  A wonderful story with a totally captivating heroine.  Readers won't be able to tear themselves away. "e;

–Joan Wolf, Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802405592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802405593
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tessa Afshar was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category and World Magazine chose Harvest of Rubies as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel, Harvest of Gold was nominated for the 2014 Christy Award. Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, 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 has spent the last fifteen years in full-time Christian service in New England.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alline on July 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It isn't often that I read a book in which the hero is an endearing jerk for much of the story. Tessa Afshar created such a nuanced, well crafted, realistic character in Darius. I read Harvest of Rubies (still my favorite of the two) and I thought then that Darius needed to have some of the wind knocked out of his aristocratic, arrogant sail. In this book, we understand the reasons for his internal conflict and we watch him receive healing as he comes in contact with his mother's God. It is a wonderful story, replete with Biblical characters as we walk through the book of Nehemiah. I received much encouragement from the story of this great man of faith. Tessa Afshar can't write fast enough. I eagerly await her next novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lighthouse88 on July 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Harvest of Gold continues the story of Darius and Sarah that began in Harvest of Rubies. This story is mostly set in Jerusalem when Nehemiah returns to rebuild the walls that had been destroyed by the Babylonians about 100 years before.
Sarah discovers she is pregnant right before she is set to depart with Darius and her cousin Nehemiah for Jerusalem. If she tells Darius, he will make her stay home and she will miss seeing her ancestral homeland, which she has longed to do. She will also be acting as Nehemiah's scribe, so she will feel useful and enjoy her work. If she keeps her secret, Darius will feel betrayed and her marriage will have another hurdle to overcome. Will she endanger the health of her baby by rough travel?
Darius, with the help of Sarah, has uncovered a plot to assassinate King Artaxerxes. He is sent by the king to Jerusalem undercover to see if he can discover the originator of the plot. He has no plans to take his wife as he thinks it would be too dangerous. He soon discovers he has been outmaneuvered by Nehemiah and that his wife will be coming along. He doesn't discover her pregnancy until it is too late. He immediately withdraws behind a wall that blocks his emotions.
As the assassination plot is eventually solved, the marriage between Sarah and Darius continues to stagnate. He refuses to show emotion, which Persians view as weakness. He will listen to nothing to do with his wife's Lord. As he spends more time with her cousin, Nehemiah, his initial dislike for the man turns to respect and admiration. Darius must face demons from his past if he wants a future with his wife. He knows the only One who can help him do this is the Lord. Can he do it?
I very much enjoyed the conclusion of Sarah and Darius' story.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dawn on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very much enjoyed your latest book Harvest of Gold. Both the Harvest of Rubies and Harvest of Gold have become a part of my favorite book series/duo's. This summer I'm compelled to read them both again, lol. I've shared them with my book club as well. I have found that usually with authors they tend to write specific types of books. Some mystery, comedy, deep biblical thought etc. So, if I'm interested in one kind I'll go to the author that I enjoy for such a book. On the other hand I feel that these books contain all of the above which makes them so hard to put down. The first(Harvest of Rubies)made me laugh so hard that I cried, the mysteries in both were very well thought out and kept me on the edge of my seat until it was solved and I LOVE the biblical references which gave me chills as I remembered the Lord's presence. Even the relationship was very realistic and touching. Couldn't wait for Harvest of Gold and now that I'm done. I can't wait for your next one, lol. Really enjoy this author. I know that what I read is going to contain a bit of everything. Would also recommend Pearl in the Sand.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca G on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
As an avid reader, I've come across my fair share of Christian books set in biblical times. I must say that Tessa Afshar has stood out from among the masses and is one of my favorite writers in the genre.
After reading Harvest of Rubies, I was eager to jump right into Harvest of Gold. This book did not disappoint! Both the characters and the plot had me invested from the first chapter. Not only that, but the research put into the book was obvious and greatly appreciated.
Harvest of Gold is great and well worth a read. I can't wait for Afshar's next book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LauraSF on August 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
I almost feel bad to give this book three stars when I saw so many four and five star ratings. :( However, I think that's an accurate assessment from me. I gave the first book (Harvest of Rubies) five stars and wrote that it was one of my favorite all time books. Perhaps the problem for me was my expectation. The first book had a great mix of hilarity, romance, historical information, and scriptural truths. I told several people about the book... it was that good. I read this book just a day after I read the first one (with much anticipation) and while I felt it was strong in historical information and still full of wonderful scriptural truths that really touched me... it didn't have the romance or hilarity of the first book. I don't know that I laughed at all in this book and that is what I thoroughly enjoyed about the first one. I also loved the romance in the first one and was expecting more in this one. It was very disappointing to me that the conflict between Sarah and Darius lasted around 90% of the book. If that had been half of the story and then the author had moved on to more romance and laughs, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. I was very disappointed to follow the whole book through with them at odds and with Sarah trying to win back Darius in subtle ways.
So I think this book was probably a five star rating for Biblical fiction. She had great insight and imagination regarding the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was such an amazing man and I am going to go back and read that book in the Bible.
I could never have read the first book and not read this one to find out the conclusion of Sarah and Darius's love story, so I'm glad I read it. It could not even compare to the first one to me though, and I was hoping for another book to add to my favorite list. :) I still can't wait to read more from this author. She is a brilliant author and I just hope she writes more like the Harvest of Rubies.
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