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Harvest of Rubies [Kindle Edition]

Tessa Afshar
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (412 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex
accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries.
There is only one problem: she is a woman.

In her early childhood years,
Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional
distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and
that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.

Sarah,
the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the
Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving
intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah
to lose her only source of external validation.

Sarah soon learns that
she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums -
her very being proves to be a blessing to others particularly the aristocrat, Darius, she
was given to in marriage.

Sarah and Darius' story continues in Harvest
of Gold.
Darius may be able to learn to love his wife, but can he ever learn
to trust Sarah and her Lord?



Editorial Reviews

Review

"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)" --Publishers Weekly, 5/14/12

"Almost two years ago, I reviewed a book titled Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar. I absolutely loved the story, and next week her brand new book "Harvest of Rubies" will be released. I was thrilled to have a sneak peak at this one!

Imagine a young woman struggling to make a way in a man's world. Education for women was almost unheard of in the ancient Persian society, yet Sarah found herself working as the chief scribe to the Queen. She did such an outstanding job that she was rewarded by the Queen. Only problem is, her reward was absolutely the last thing that Sarah wanted.

What impacted me the most in this book was Sarah's journey of faith. She started out feeling unworthy, unloved and forgotten by God and her family. As everything she cherished is torn from her life, she had to reach out to God as her anchor in the storm.

Harvest of Rubies is a tender, richly inspirational, beautifully passionate, and often humorous story that I highly recommend!"  Reviewed by Janet Hovis, Net Galley 4/27/2012

"Iranian-born, Tessa Afshar weaves a lovely tapestry in this novel. It is rich in detail about the customs, clothing and culture of this time period. Her characters are fully-fleshed with both strengths and flaws. The storyline is quick-paced and believable and leaves readers thankful that she will pick up Sarah's story in her next book."-- Paula Parker, BuddyHollywood.com, 5/12/12

"There is so much depth to HARVEST OF RUBIES that readers will happily drown in its message of God's unfailing love and mercy, while diving headfirst into the captivating plot and precarious romance. Characters are realistically flawed, likable and earthy. Emotions run the gamut from insecurity and fear to passion, pain and the indescribable joy that can only come with the realization of God's grace. This is a great read!" -- Susan Miura, BookReporter.com, 5/23/12

"I read Ms. Afshar's debut novel, Pearl in the Sand, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was recently offered free on Kindle and, of course, I snagged it. In the course of a conversation on Facebook about it, I learned she had a new release. When I saw it on NetGalley, I grabbed the new one, excited to see if her sophomore offering was as good.

If anything, it was better! The story revolves around Sarah, a fictional cousin of the prophet Nehemiah. She's forced into an arranged marriage where her lack of social graces [think Mulan at the beginning of the movie - only worse] cause no end to problems. But, at the same time, the talents God has given her will prove to be most valuable to her husband and others. This is a romance, so it's little shock to find out that Sarah and her new husband, Darius, will grow to love each other." --Carol Moncado, Net Galley 5/30/12

"Harvest of Rubies is the second book by Tessa Afshar her first book was Pearl in the Sand the story of Rahab. In Harvest of Rubies Tessa tells the story of Sarah Nehemiah's cousin who unlike most women of the time can read and write and speak many languages. She becomes the main scribe to the queen. The story sort of reminded me of the Biblical story of Esther. That Sarah become the queen's scribe when the queen needed her most, because Sarah discovered a plot against the queen.

What I love about Tessa Afshar is that when she writes novel she remains as close to the Biblical record as possible. Ms. Afshar makes her characters come alive and allows the reader to be drawn into the story. Harvest of Rubies is a fiction read that will entertain you, but it will also encourage you. Tessa Afshar books in my opinion will encourage you to pick up your Bible to confirm that she stays true to the Biblical account as much as possible." --Carissa Miller, Net Galley 6/1/2012

"I felt so similar to Sarah as I read through this book.  Her fears, her insecurities, and her doubts have been similar to my own.  I feel as though I am going through a spiritual journey along with her as we both learn of our importance in the eyes of God.

Pearl of the Novel: It's a book that I must have a highlighter and pen on hand because there are so many amazing passages and I gain a lot of inspiration to jot down.  It is full of so much insight and spiritual passages.  It is insightful and helps me become a better person." --Kris Ellsworth, Net Galley 6/13/12 

"I simply love Tessa Afshar's novels!  When I read "Pearl in the Sand," I had to buy a paperback copy to add to my collection.  After reading "A Harvest of Rubies" on ebook, I have to also buy a paperback copy.  These are wonderful books that I would eagerly recommend everyone to have in their library.  They are wonderful expressions of people's own self-doubts that can be dissolved into peace when they turn their lives over to God. I felt so similar to Sarah as I read through this book.  Her fears, her insecurities, and her doubts have been similar to my own.  I feel as though I am going through a spiritual journey along with her as we both learn of our importance in the eyes of God." -- Anonymous, PearlsofGreatWorth.com, 6/20/12

"The author transports us to an ancient time for a story that will touch any woman today who ever has struggled with defining herself through her work and accomplishments. I loved the unusual perspective of Nehemiah (the cupbearer) from a relative's (cousin) point of view.  The writing is a cut above for the genre and Afshar incorporates well developed characters, history, humor, mystery and biblical truths to weave an interesting and encouraging tale with many lessons hidden just below the surface." -- Lauren Y., BookBargainsandPreviews.com

"I cracked open Tessa Afshar's book, Harvest of Rubies, after the kids were fast asleep, and I didn't put it down until I read the last page in the wee morning hours. It was well-written, gripping, and very inspirational.It even brought a few tears...I want to read it again with highlighter in hand. I don't want to forget anytime soon the lesson of the grapevine. How often do I hold onto the pruned branch, wanting that life back? I might find an image of a grapevine and frame it for my home. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, you'll have to read it for yourself. One element that I really enjoyed was that the heroine wasn't perfect. She struggles with things common to all of us. I'm sure that if I were to meet her today, she'd have uneven fingernails, a stain on her shirt, and she might have misplaced her glasses... a little like me. A little like all of us." -- BeckyE, 6/20/12

"Ms. Afshar has once again woven a vividly written, emotionally engaging story. Sarah's struggle to find acceptance through her accomplishments and her eventual realization that her worth doesn't depend on them is poignant. The main characters are all well developed and believable, with foibles and imperfections. Ms. Afshar has a talent for creating characters that you feel like you really know...down to even the loyal dog! The depiction of palace life in ancient Persia and the dynamics of various relationships: nobility, royalty, commoners, harems, and so forth, are well researched and realistic. The thread of intrigue is woven into the story seamlessly and doesn't at all feel like an added on plot device. It adds to the overall theme quite nicely. And even though the book delivers a serious message and delves into serious issues, there's plenty of humor too! There are scenes that are laugh out loud funny. Harvest of Rubies delivers romance, mystery, adventure, grace, and humor. It's endearing, entertaining, and funny while still delivering a worthy message. Highly recommended!" -- Kara, Home with Purpose, 6/28/12

"It's always fun to run across a new author. To borrow a sports analogy, sometimes, you just have to take a chance that an unknown author will "hit it out of the park" and provide you with something you can't stop reading.

I'm so thankful that I took a chance on Tessa Afshar.

Afshar is an amazing storyteller. Her first book made me really dive into an "old" Bible story in a new way. Her second, well, it really makes you take a second look at where a person finds value. In all, I'm thrilled to have discovered a new author. I highly recommend her work - and will probably put them on my "re-read" list. On the scale of one to five, I give her books a solid four. They are enjoyable and easy to read - but will definitely leave you thinking. All in all, a great showing for a new-to-me author!" -- Kaylea Hutson, MyScrappyLife.com, ...

From the Back Cover

Remarkable talent

Threatens to cloud a life

The prophet Nehemiah has a cousin who can speak several languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve mysteries.  

This cousin is catapulted into the center of the Persian court - working long hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and completing high-level tasks as a scribe for the queen.

Not bad, for a woman living in a man's world.

The talented Sarah has a glowing future, and those closest to her believe her good fortune is the product of none other than God's glorious design. Yet a devastating past has left Sarah with two strong conclusions: that God does not love her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth.

The only thing that will help her escape her idol of success, Sarah must learn to love and be loved - a task that could prove dangerous.

 

 


Product Details

  • File Size: 870 KB
  • Print Length: 374 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802405584
  • Publisher: River North (May 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007VO7PTW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Comes Alive! May 1, 2012
Format:Paperback
Once again, Tessa Afshar breathes life into history. "Harvest of Rubies" is set in ancient Persia almost 2500 years ago, yet the characters feel real and alive. Tessa's description of the landscape, palaces, court life, even fashion and food, is detailed as if she looked through a window into the past. In her acknowledgments, Ms. Afshar explains how she took what archaeologists have discovered and wove facts together with logical conjecture to portray life in 5th century BC.

"Harvest of Rubies" tells the story of Sarah, a young Jewish woman who thinks her work proves her worth. When she was twelve, her father discovered she could read. As he is a scribe, reading and writing becomes a way for Sarah to connect with him. The only way. Since her mother's death, her father has been distant; Sarah believes she is a bother to him. This feeling dogs her every step, even when she becomes the Queen's senior scribe. When the Queen praises her, Sarah only fears more that she will soon displease the Queen. Then Sarah marries Darius, a Persian noble. Darius believes Sarah connived and manipulated her way into the union, desiring his riches. Things go wrong on their wedding day - it would almost be comical if it wasn't so embarrassing and horrifying for Sarah and brings shame on Darius. This fuels his disgust for her and he leaves her alone on his estate while he goes to the summer palace with the royal court. Left with only a few servants, Sarah must learn the value of friendship and her own worth. With some guidance of a Persian gardener (who unwittingly illuminates for Sarah some of the teachings of her faith) and advice and wisdom from her cousin Nehemiah (yes, that Nehemiah), Sarah struggles to regain her faith in God and to believe that the Lord loves her just because she is.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming and laugh out loud funny May 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After so thoroughly enjoying Pearl in the Sand: A Novel - I quickly purchased Harvest of Rubies with a higher expectation based on my enjoyment of Pearl... and Rubies did not disappoint.

Awkward moments were literally laugh out loud funny (like my hubby came to ask me what was going on after several such outbursts) and yet Afshar also moved me to tears on more than one occasion. Again, she had a great cast of believable characters with motivations I understood and agreed with and God was honored throughout - not to mention a love story that swept my heart up in the story!

I read the whole thing in one sitting (which is unheard of for me) and am eagerly awaiting the sequel! Treat yourself to this book, I certainly found it enjoyable and will be reading it again... and likely again - LOL :)

Added 6/18/12 - Just finished my second read and enjoyed it just as thoroughly the second time through! The interactions between the main characters are simply delightful and the character development is both believable and gives good points to ponder. So much to enjoy in this one, it definitely stays on the list of my favs and will be read again... and again... ;)
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner May 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing! Brilliant! Another Winner! Tessa Afshar paints another wonderful story woven in Biblical history. Harvest of Rubies brings the Persian world of Artaxerxes to life and casts you in the middle of a love story entangled with misunderstanding, man's inhumanities to man and much more. She takes you on a journey you won't forget. A must read! And, if you missed Pearl in the Sand, it is another gem from cover to cover.

Mark Sylvester
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Story! May 9, 2012
By Alline
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What woman comes to her wedding looking a creature of darkness? Sarah does in Tessa Afshar's novel "Harvest of Rubies." I read Pearl in the Sand and waited patiently for Tessa Afshar's next novel. I was not disappointed. Afshar's willingess to create a character that is NOT first presented as an ethereal beauty is refreshing. Sarah is an insecure child who craves attention from her distant and grieving father. She quickly learns to find affirmation in her worth as a scribe, but her life careens out of balance.She has no friends, neglects her personal appearance, and believes her worth can be found in scholarly achievement. Even working for the stunning and powerful queen of Persia, Sarah feels no need to attend to female graces. I felt so much empathy for Sarah as she struggles to find her place as a young woman; but I found myself laughing out loud at her many antics and witty retorts. At first I wondered if perhaps Darius plays the part of handsome nobleman with a little too much predictability, but in the end the writer manages to add just a little more nuance to his character. The metaphor of the vine and gardener is a poignant example of how God prunes us to become fruitful. In both Pearl in the Sand and Harvest of Rubies the protagonists struggle with feelings of diminished self worth and are initially embittered towards their fathers. I think I see a theme emerging...Still this is wonderful story of love, restoration and redemption. Afshar has earned my respect as the leading lady inspirational in fiction. FIVE STARS!!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From beginning to end a thrilling read! May 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading Tessa Afshar's Pearl in the Sand I was not sure how in the world a better book could be written. But she did! Harvest of Rubies is about a young scribe, a woman named Sarah longs for acceptance, for belonging. Her mother died at the age of seven, her father Simeon doesn't know what to do with her and therefore neglects her most basic need: affection. But Sarah knows how to get her father's attention, she learns to read and to write and captures her Simeon's attention and he begins to teach her. Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king takes notice of her rare talent for writing and for various languages and recommends her to the Queen Damaspia. Soon Sarah becomes the cheif scrie and in so becomming she uncovers a plot to marr the good name of the Queen. In so doing she wins the Queen's favor even more, so much so that the Queen wants to reward her favored scribe. But the Queen's choice of reward is not what Sarah-who finds her worth in her job-wants. The Queen arranges for Sarah's marrige to Lord Darius. But it turns into a dissaster as Sarah does everything possible to avoid the marrige. When the Queen offers her own servants to prepare for the wedding, Sarah turns them away each day, until the last day she realizes that she doesn't have a clue on how to prepare herself though she does attempt to do so. When she comes to her wedding she shocks not only her future husband but all in royal attendance. The story spirals in twists and turns from there, for they all think she has done this on purpose to marr the good name of Lord Darius and the Royals. While the Royal court travels Sarah is left in Lord Darius's palace, alone, cast aside with only her servant girl pari. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I completely enjoyed Harvest of Rubies. Well written with interesting characters. It has adventure and mystery and of course a backing of does he love me? Does he not? Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED this book
LOVED this book. Tessa Afshar shot right up to be one of my fave author after reading two of her books and I now I will read anything she writes. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Cynthia Marcano
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I enjoyed this story. I wish I had read it first. This book is the first book on Sarah's story Otherwise, the author did a great job in making this story very touching.
Published 9 days ago by fp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful!
Published 10 days ago by Orchid
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Excellent read....her books are so interesting and easy to follow. The characters seem to come alive.. All her books have this effect.
Published 28 days ago by Cathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
LOVE THIS AUTHOR
Published 1 month ago by Carol W
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book. If you are looking for a great read...you have found it!
Published 1 month ago by carla
4.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down
From the first page I was drawn in. Felt every emotion Sarah had, love, disdain, anxiety, fear, peace, turmoil, resolution.
Published 1 month ago by Prov31lady2b
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

"Harvest of Rubies" is the first book I have read by Tessa Afshar, but I do not... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kelsey Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story More Precious than a Palace full of Rubies!
Excellent characters with whom I found myself falling in love, especially our hero & heroine! I actually cried at many poignant moments in this emotionally touching & delightful... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Le Zafirah
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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.


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