Harvest of Rubies
by Tessa Afshar
PB, 317 pages
Sarah, the protagonist of Harvest of Rubies, is one of the few female scribes in ancient Persia and the only one employed by the queen. Sarah sees her work as a way of finding self-worth and approval, which she rarely gained as a child from her father. The man distanced himself from Sarah when her mother died when Sarah was young. This left Sara craving comfort that her father and, it seemed, God were unable to give.
Sarah’s life is suddenly turned upside down when she loses her scribe’s position in the court because of an irreversible decision made by the queen. In an attempt to reward Sarah for her services, the queen forces her in an unwanted, loveless marriage to the influential and prestigious nobleman Darius. The queen thinks Sarah will be forever grateful that she has been matched with a man who has wealth and power, but Sarah is horrified at the thought of spending her life with a man she knows nothing about. Will she ever come to love her husband and trust God with her seemingly ruined life?
Readers will care deeply for Sarah as she struggles to rebuild her life. The audience cannot help but root for the protagonist, despite some of her obvious flaws. Unfortunately, the story does not let the reader get nearly as emotionally involved with most of the other characters, and only a handful of them go through character development. However, these are minor problems; the book as a whole is very engrossing. At times, it is even a tearjerker.
The main character starts out with little interest in God, but gradually she becomes closer to him as she accepts her situation and starts to rely on a higher being. Her relationship with God makes up the backbone of the story even more than her developing relationship with her husband. The way she sees and interacts with God drives almost all of her evolving as a character, and that has an effect on all of her other relationships, as well as how she sees herself. Her journey to seeing God for the loving father he is will resonate with readers who have ever questioned God’s love for them.
This book has been reviewed by Kayla Houvenagle who is a professional writing major at Taylor University and a freelance writer for The Aboite Independent.