November 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Books and Movies, Reviews

Reviewed by Tammy Doherty –

You know it’s a good book when you finish and you don’t want to start reading another book—you want this one to keep going. I read this book in four days. It was really hard to put it down to do the stuff that needs doing—like making dinner, taking care of the family, sleeping.

Tessa Afshar breathes life into history. In her first novel, PEARL IN THE SAND, she brings the story of Rahab and the fall of Jericho alive. In HARVEST OF RUBIES, the main characters are not taken directly from the Bible, though Sarah’s cousin is Nehemiah. Yes, that Nehemiah. Throughout the novel, Sarah and Nehemiah mention people and events that we now know as Bible stories. They both also refer frequently to the Psalms, though in this story they are a “collection” of the writings of King David just recently written for posterity. They talk about the Psalms, King David, and Queen Esther the way we talk about literature, the Alamo, or President Kennedy—as if these things still affect their daily lives.

HARVEST OF RUBIES is the story of Sarah, a young Jewish woman living in ancient Persia. Since her mother died, Sarah has tried desperately to connect with her father. His seeming indifference gives her a feeling of rejection, that she is a bother to him. When she learns to read and write, unusual for a girl, it is their one connection. Yet even this doesn’t seem to be enough. When Sarah becomes the Queen’s senior scribe, the belief that she can never be good enough, that she will always be found lacking, shadows her daily life. The Queen, however, loves Sarah and is always pleased with her work.

Then Sarah is married to Darius, a Persian noble. She is not an aristocrat and makes many mistakes that bring shame to her husband. Darius thinks Sarah connived to marry him for his riches and that she deliberately shamed him. He leaves her behind at his estate, alone but for a few servants. Sarah must learn both the value of friendship and her own worth. But even if she can regain her faith and truly believe in God’s love, that He loves her just for being her, there seems no hope that Darius will ever love Sarah.

Political intrigue and uncovering a plot to harm the Queen got Sarah into this predicament. When a new mystery presents itself, Sarah dives into the investigation. Her sleuthing provides not only suspense but also comic and heartfelt emotional tension. HARVEST OF RUBIES is a tale about God’s love, a romance, and full of suspense. All set in 5th century BC Persia. The only complaint I can make against this novel is that I have to wait for the sequel.

About Tammy Doherty

Tammy Doherty is the author of three inspirational Western romances, CELTIC CROSS, CLADDAUGH, and CELTIC KNOT. Her current projects are contemporary romantic suspense, set in a small town in central Massachusetts much like her hometown. Tammy lives on a small farm with her husband of 25+ years and their two children. Besides writing, she also manages the family perennial farm and works in customer service for a veterinary supply distributor. http://tammydoherty.com


11 Responses to “HARVEST OF RUBIES by Tessa Afshar”
  1. Tessa Afshar says:

    This is a bit awkward as I am the author of the book. First of all, thanks, Tammy for your gracious words. Secondly, you are a talented reviewer, and I would say this even if your review wasn’t so glowing! 🙂 Not many people are able to give such a concise and accurate summary of a story. I appreciate your writing ability, Tammy.


  2. Jane says:

    Is this a book report or a book review…sounds like a book report to me..

    • janet thompson says:

      that’s what a review is for -to let you see that it’s a great book to read or not. what’s she supposed to say-“het,this was a great book.read it!” no, she has to tell you something

      about it that would make you want to read it.
      This was one of the best books i have read in years and i read a lot[ at least 4 books a week], so i feel confident enough to say—IT’S GREAT

    • One person’s book review is another person’s book report…C’est la vie.

      Great book Tessa. My reviewers loved it when it was on blog tour.

  3. Wonderful review. It sounds like a book that’s hard to put down.

    • Jane says:

      But, it just sounds like a summary of the book, more like a book report, not a review. I like reviews better.

      • Jean says:

        Jane — I haven’t read this book yet, so I can’t comment on the book. But, as an author, I’m curious as to what you are looking for in a book review that this one doesn’t give you.

    • janet thompson says:

      i have just finished ‘harvest of rubies’ and i can’t stop thinking about it. it’s a wonderful read and i can’t wait for the next.
      everything and everyone was so vividly brought to your mind,it was like being there. fantastic novel!!!

      • I’m not a high school teacher, but I don’t think a book report starts with the line “You know it’s a good book when you finish and you don’t want to start reading another book—you want this one to keep going. I read this book in four days.” Or at least in my day it didn’t. In my day book reports were a bit more dry. They gave a report — an analysis of the book.

        My dad was a high school English teacher and he didn’t want to chat with his students, as a reviewer does in a book report. He wanted a summary of the book. He wanted literary comments made and comparisons to other works in the same genre. If the author had written previous works, my dad wanted to know if and how the author had evolved. That’s a book report.

        A book reviewer comes up along side the reader (so to speak) and gently whispers in the ear, “Hey, I really liked this book and this is why.” The reviewer does give a summary so that the reader can determine if they want to read the book.

        I review for The Christian Pulse. My space is limited here at TCP. I get about one review per month. So, I don’t waste my space by reviewing books I don’t like. I want to tell readers about books I’m excited about. Besides, a book I’m not crazy about may get reviewed elsewhere by a reviewer who loves it.

        What I got from Tammy’s review is that she loved this book. She’s really, really, really, really excited about it and she wants everyone to know it. Tammy’s a really good judge of writing. If you like the sort of novel she presented (summarized) here, I’d say get this book. If Tammy says it’s good — it’s good.

  4. What a well done review of this novel. I love the way that you wove together story plot and areas of interest that bring the novel to life for you. Thanks for pointing out things like that although the setting is in Biblical times, many of the characters are not Biblical and that the Psalms are called “the collection”. These are the kind of things I like to know and learned in this talented review. Harvest of Rubies sounds fantastic and you have left me wanting to read it for myself!

  5. Sara Goff says:

    Tammy’s review has convinced me to download Harvest Of Rubies, so I’d say it’s a review that is accomplishing what it set out to achieve–encourage others to experience the power of the book. I’ll admit I read Tessa Afshar’s first book, Pearl In The Sand, and needed little convincing to purchase her second one!

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