Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bread of Angels {by Tessa Afshar}

Title: Bread of Angels
Author: Tessa Afshar
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: publisher

Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

I really enjoyed this one. One thing I love about Tessa Afshar is that she chooses characters to write about that aren't really talked about or written about. I don't think much thought is given to Lydia, a seller of purple briefly mentioned in the Bible as one of Paul's friends, so I really enjoyed this story and getting to envision her life.

Lydia helps her father, a renowned seller of purple. When they are betrayed, Lydia has no choice but to flee to Philippi, the only place in the empire where a woman can run her own business. I liked Lydia. Her being "fearful" is I think what we would today think of as anxiety, so it was nice to see that represented in an era where it really isn't talked about. She was just trying to do the best she could in a world that didn't afford her many opportunities. She worked hard, and I think she was a great character.

This book spans over 20 years, which I thought was refreshing. It wasn't just a story about a young girl, it shows her life, shows her as a middle-aged woman. It also wasn't a romance, although there is a slight bit there at the end, which was nice.

This was probably my favorite Tessa Afshar book to date. I loved the world she has crafted, the characters, and this story. It was a beautiful book that captivated me from the start.

More books by this author:


Tessa Afshar:

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wings of the Wind {by Connilyn Cossette}

Title: Wings of the Wing
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: Out from Egypt #3
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: publisher

Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.
Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.
Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

I loved this one. I'm not sure if it replaced the second book as my favorite of the series, but it sure came close. This one takes place quite a bit after the first two (I thought I saw 40 years later somewhere but I could be making that up).

I said this with book 1, but one thing I enjoyed about this series is seeing the events from the perspective of other nations. I think we focus so much on the Israelites, and forget that they slaughtered whole nations. What did that feel like? So I did appreciate seeing the story from the perspective of a Cannanite. Alanah wants revenge on the Hebrews, so she disguises herself and goes to fight. Tobiah finds her among the wounded, and brings her back to camp, with unintended consequences.

Dislike-to-love tropes are one of my favorites (I freely admit) so it is probably no surprise that I loved this one. I loved Alanah and Tobiah. She was sassy and strong, but Tobiah wasn't intimidated by her. I loved their banter, as it was fun.

I won't say much about the plot, because #spoilers. I wasn't expecting the Bible story that the author brought in, but I liked it. It was an interesting perspective and a creative way to tie it all together. I enjoyed the story, flying through the book just to find out what happens to these characters I very much enjoyed. Definitely a series I would recommend to those who love Biblical/historical fiction.



Connilyn Cossette:

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