Thursday, July 25, 2013

Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

I am convinced that Tessa Afshar is the "Sheherazade" of Biblical fiction.

If you are drawn to the heady, perfumed, intoxicating atmosphere of the Arabian Nights--the danger, intrigue, cloak and dagger, poisonous plots, and betrayals--prepare yourself for a foray into the Persian Empire circa 446 BC in Tessa Afshar's new book, Harvest of Gold.

Sarah is a young Jewish bride,  an ugly duckling turned lovely swan, married to her Persian Prince, Darius, whom she loves with all her heart. So much so that her faith in God is put on the back burner as she tries to earn his love.

Darius, an elite warrior and favored in the court of King Artaxerxes wants nothing to do with Sarah's God, though his own mother was also Jewish. He loves Sarah, but is reticent to give himself completely to her.

Sarah and Darius work well together, though-- picture, if you will, an Arabian Nights version of Nick and Nora Charles (of the Thin Man mysteries fame). Sarah's intelligence and quick powers of observation complement Darius' strong leadership and military ability. But there is an element that is missing in their marriage that is causing heartache and misunderstanding. Could it be trust?

Their love will be tested as they encounter obstacles that seem impossible and discouragement that settles in like the morning fog. This book is about love and longing, knowing and being known and risking ones life and sacred trust for the beloved.

Lofty goals? Yes! But, as the themes of Harvest of Gold indicate, it is the most "refined gold" that reveals our true hearts, and ultimately, our hearts desire.

Harvest of Gold follows Tessa Afshar's Harvest of Rubies and is her third book in publication. I have had the privilege of reading all three.

Please read on for more information about Harvest of Gold.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Harvest of Gold

River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2013)


Tessa Afshar


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life.  She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently.  Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.  She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.


The scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage-Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband's love still seems unattainable.

Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother's people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life-and even in his marriage?

A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success, will lead to an unlikely bounty.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Harvest of Gold, go HERE.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf

"The sun was just right, warm on our heads and shoulders but not too hot. The hillsides of Gallilee were covered with wildflowers, and the stretching fields of barley and wheat glittered like splashes of sunshine under the blue arch of the sky."--Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf

Joan Wolf takes one of the most mysterious women of the Bible, Mary Magdelene and tells her story. Beautifully.

Prepare to be transported to a time of courtyards and almond blossoms, ritual, religion, greed, lust, and redemption.

Throughout the lush, descriptive prose there is an underlying foreboding. The time of Roman occupation affects everyone within the far flung tentacles of the Empire that ruled the world. If ever a Messiah was needed it was then.

The arc between religious rule and the heavy hand of the government crushing humanity and souls in it's wake makes women and children especially vulnerable. Mary is caught in the crosshairs of jealousy and greed. With no man, not even her father looking out for her, the current carries her to the doorstep of Roman society, blurring the lines of everything she held out as true. She finds acceptance in the company of pagan friends, but her choices lead to guilt and heartache.

Somehow God's glory manages to shine through like rays of hope illuminating lifelines to the Messiah.

If you are looking for something wonderful to read this summer please consider Daughter of Jerusalem.

Worthy Publishing has provided more information below!

New York Times Best-Selling Author Joan Wolf Sheds Light on Scripture’s Most Mysterious Woman
“Why would Jesus seek out Mary Magdalene as the first person He appeared to after His resurrection?”
BRENTWOOD, Tenn.—One of Scripture’s most mysterious and often misunderstood women, Mary Magdalene, tells her story in her own words in the latest novel from prolific author Joan Wolf. In her new release, Daughter of Jerusalem, Wolf gives readers a fictionalized account of this complex, yet remarkable woman—and one of Jesus’ most faithful followers. Readers will love this first-person account of all that took Mary from her traumatic early life to eyewitness of the glory of the resurrection.
Mary Magdalene is famous for being a sinful woman. In Wolf’s account we see those sins as well as her triumph as Jesus’ beloved disciple. Cheated of an early love by her guardian, she is forced into marriage with a rich old man. Captivated by a Roman senator’s son, she turns away from her heritage and is almost permanently lost to the morality of the Jewish law. Then she meets Jesus
of Nazareth. Is it true that he is the Messiah she has heard so much about? Can he really change her life? Is she good enough to be his disciple? Can he really be her Savior?
In Daughter of Jerusalem, New York Times best-selling Wolf skimps on no detail as she gives life to this fascinating yet mysterious woman. Readers will love seeing a living, breathing picture of the often misunderstood Mary—a woman who, though damaged, became Jesus’ friend while He walked the earth. Daughter of Jerusalem is told in three parts, each covering a different portion of Mary’s life. Readers will quickly identify with Mary, a flawed woman of deep faith who, in the end, used her wealth and influence to serve Jesus. Perfect for individual reading or book club discussion, Daughter of Jerusalem is a story not to be missed.
Joan Wolf has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Milford, Conn., where she raised two children and an assortment of horses, dogs, and cats. Along the way she also managed to write forty-six published novels, the writing of which profoundly enriched her life. Learn more about her online at
Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., is a privately held company whose mission is helping people experience the heart of God. Worthy is an independent voice in Christian publishing, managing editorial, marketing, publicity, sales, and distribution from its home offices in Brentwood, Tenn. Worthy focuses on a boutique list of new books each year, crossing a broad spectrum of genres, including fiction, Bible study, current events, devotionals, biography, leadership, and specialized Bibles, as well as spiritual and personal growth. See more at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Golden Splendor by Michael K. Reynolds

Imagine a blend of Jeremiah Johnson, Far and Away, with a smidge of Castaway thrown in for good measure and you'll have an idea of the adventure that awaits with Michael K. Reynolds novel In Golden Splendor. I mention these examples of the familiar to intrigue, to make you wonder how one can seemingly cross several different story lines and make it work, because work it does. Woven throughout is a story that is unique and special.

Somewhere out there an Irish lad named Seamus Hanley, a diamond in the rough, has found a letter. The photograph of a hauntingly beautiful woman named Ashlyn becomes his reason to forge ahead through many dangers, toils, and snares in hopes that someday they will meet.

Ashlyn is a damsel in distress with a heart of gold. Her passion is protecting and caring for orphans. With her father away prospecting, she is left alone to keep things afloat.

Will Divine Providence lend a hand in bringing these seemingly star crossed lovers together?

Michael K. Reynolds story exemplifies the pioneer spirit and actually makes it seem fun in In Golden Splendor-- An Heirs of Ireland novel.

Read on for more information from the people at B&H Books.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In Golden Splendor

• B&H Books (July 15, 2013)


Michael Reynolds


Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.


Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage -- a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.
Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.
Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Golden Splendor, go HERE

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grounded by Neta Jackson and Dave Jackson

Grace Meredith has the world by the tail. As a contemporary Christian recording artist, she has it all--a fun personal assistant, a cool band that helps her to sound her best, a handsome fiance' and a message of purity that she shares with her young audiences. But this house of cards threatens to topple as  overtaxed vocal chords, exhaustion, and stress begin to take a toll on her career and relationships.

Oh, and there's a secret, something that happened in her past that leaves her vulnerable, and has the power to make her feel like a phony. The harder she presses the denial button, the closer she comes to falling apart.

It's time for Grace Meredith to face the music and make connections in her personal and spiritual life that will transform her head knowledge into heart knowledge and free her up to be the young woman of God that she was created to be.

Neta and Dave Jackson have an easy style of writing that draws you into the characters' world and makes you care about their community.

I especially liked the themes of community, interpersonal relationships, and spiritual growth.

More really good information from the publisher follows!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Worthy Publishing (May 7, 2013)


Neta and Dave Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.


...But Hope May Be Just Across the Street

Grace Meredith is a beloved contemporary Christian recording artist whose career--and personal life--hits unexpected turbulence. She feels grounded--in more ways than one.
Grace s fiancé, bothered by her outspoken stance on purity and her near-constant travel, has broken off their relationship. Exhausted and unable to continue her current concert schedule, Grace returns home to Chicago, where she is soon stranded in a major snowstorm. Facing new questions about her future and her faith, Grace finds herself connecting for the first time with the residents of her neighborhood. What she discovers in these unexpected relationships could change everything.

Welcome to the Neighborhood
The first in the Windy City Neighbors series, Grounded is an uplifting, contemporary story about ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. The series employs the innovative storytelling technique of parallel novels, each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters lives become intertwined and affect one another. Grounded welcomes you to Beecham Street--a typical, isolated American neighborhood that might just be a place of hope.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Grounded, go Here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

Jocelyn Green's Widow of Gettysburg is a brilliantly researched novel revolving around the events that took place during one of the darkest events in American history-- the Battle of Gettysburg.

I am sorry to say that my knowledge of this time period is sketchy at best due to the fact that I shy away from most things "war". That said, I found myself absorbed by both the characters in the fiction part of the book, namely Liberty Holloway the heroine, and Bella, the former slave--now free to make her own way in the world, though not without danger-- and the incredibly accurate historical account of those few days that led up to the end of the Civil War.

This book was an eye-opener on so many levels. I was amazed by the depth of character wired into a generation of people, who, when called upon to do the unthinkable, rose to the occasion with grit and determination. Some, like Liberty Holloway, giving of herself and her possessions to help the disabled and wounded enemy who became "just people" who needed aid (and amputations).

Widow of Gettysburg is part of the Heroines Behind the Lines series, and if this book is any indication, I am positive that each one will be worth reading. History lessons disguised as compelling, page turning fiction... What could be better than that?

Please read on for some brilliant information from the publisher!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Widow of Gettysburg
River North; New Edition edition (April 12, 2013)


Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering--and a Rebel scout who awakens her long dormant heart.

While Liberty's future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty's hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?
Widow of Gettysburg is inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Widow of Gettysburg, go HERE.