Tessa Afshar builds a story full of tension and learning experiences and - eventually - romance on an interesting premise. When bright and studious Sarah is given the opportunity to work as the Senior Scribe to the queen, she embraces her life as a female anomaly in her culture. Neglecting her appearance and her social life, she elects instead to spend almost all of her time working. But when danger turns up and she is the one who averts a crisis, she is forced to accept a new opportunity that takes her away from all that is familiar and all that she achieved. Instead of being the end of her problems, as well as her future, this new turn of events might just prove to be the beginning of an exciting and meaningful new life...if she'll let it.
Certainly an intriguing set-up for a story! Harvest of Rubies has some great plot twists and some wonderful faith lessons interwoven throughout the pages. And romance-lovers, if you persevere through the set-up events, there really is some sweet romance in here - although it comes with a lot of drama, too!
One thing to note is the use of first-person point of view. For some, it might make the story that much more personal. This is undoubtedly Sarah's story to tell, so I don't begrudge such a technique, and I think it worked well in certain ways. But in other ways, I do think third-person point of view might have made the story more dynamic, while avoiding some of the pitfalls of too much introspection and explanation of themes and messages. I can understand the desire to make sure the reader understands what you're trying to convey as an author, but as a reader I also want to be able to discover some of the depth to the story myself.
Overall, though, if you're looking for biblical fiction that is both unique and full of timeless truths, Harvest of Rubies is a great read.
*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*