“On my twelfth birthday, my father discovered that I could read.”
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.
It was easy to relate to Sarah. All she ever wanted was approval, but she never received it unless she did something amazing...like reading, writing, or spying. I've always been loved not because of what I have done, but because of who I was, so it would be hard to be in Sarah's shoes.. Throughout this book, Sarah comes to realize that she is indeed loved and wanted by someone, whose approval is really the only one that matters.
Many times, Sarah did some idiotic things and she always had to pay a severe price, whether the pain was physical or emotional. Her dense decisions put pressure on her relationships...even her own marriage. But despite her failure, I found myself quietly rooting for her, even after her embarrassing mistakes (like her wedding day)!
Sarah's husband was totally opposite. I had mixed-emotions concerning him. Several times over, I found myself yelling at him, "You're delusional, man!" Yet at times, I found myself "falling in love" with him right along side Sarah. Next scene, I'd be angry with him. By the end, Sarah's husband finally won me over even when he was still doubtful of Sarah's character. I liked that he always kept me guessing.
The story line was unique, fast-paced, enchanting, and caused some apprehension on my part. Constantly, a new sub-plot unfolded and captured my attention. Three times in the book, Sarah begins to search her heart and I found myself skimming those pages.
At the end, the author doesn't resolve everything, which irked me until I saw that another book was indeed going to be coming out, finishing Sarah's story and beginning Nehemiah's. So, I'll just have to buckle down and wait for that to come out.
Tessa Afshar is a master storyteller. I will be on the look-out for more of her books.
Recommended for ages 14 and up.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Moody Publishers blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.