Sarah, cousin to Nehemiah, taught herself to read and write at the age of twelve. With Nehemiah's support, Sarah's father trained her in the duties of a scribe. When Sarah was chosen to serve as the queen's scribe, she believed she had finally found her destiny. After Sarah is "honored" by the queen with an unwanted marriage, everything she loves is stripped away and she is thrown into a web of intrigue and deceit. Nehemiah once told her that like Esther, God had brought Sarah into power for "such a time as this." Can she accept that God's plans may be different than her own?
Harvest of Rubies is a well-written, enjoyable read. I enjoyed reading Tessa Afshar's depiction of a main character more interested in books than beauty treatments. Sarah is an intelligent, inquisitive character, but her self-doubt keeps her from being overly perfect. I felt I was able to relate well to this character. The plot is nicely paced with a mix of court intrigue, romance, and sleuthing that should keep most readers engaged. The author handles the historical details well, and I thought her depiction of Nehemiah was particularly well done. For readers familiar with the biblical story, this book is set several years before Nehemiah is sent back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. I'm curious if the sequel will deal with the period of rebuilding--I'd love to see those events through Sarah's eyes.
For readers who also like to cook, the book includes a few recipes inspired by the novel. I haven't tried any yet, but the Pureed Eggplant with Onion and Chicken Kebabs may both wind up on a menu sometime soon.
I enjoyed this book and am pleased to have discovered a new author to watch. I'd recommend this to any reader who enjoys biblical fiction.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a quality review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I did not guarantee a positive review.