I love reading fictional books as a way of relaxing. An author I was recommended this year was Tessa Afshar, an author published by Tyndale House Publishers (also the publishing house of Francine Rivers). I think since that initial recommendation, I have read every book she has written to date- she is just that good! Tessa Afshar writes Biblical fiction- fiction that brings to life the history and stories of the Bible. In her books including titles such as “Thief of Corinth” (2018). “Bread of Angels” (2017), “Land of Silence” (2016) and “In the Field of Grace” (2014), Afshar transports you to the times of the Bible, helping you understand more about the culture and customs of the day. She historically unpacks these elements in a way that is easy to read and relatable.

Her female heroines are well-developed and lifelike, encountering challenges that we can relate to, set in a time we know from the Bible. Afshar shares Biblical truths throughout her novels, helping her readers be encouraged to grow spiritually and reflect on their own lives rather than simply escaping from them as they get swept up in a cleverly woven story of adventure and romance. From the first few pages, I found myself immediately swept up in the characters and the unfolding story, which I find is something I look for in a novel.

Here is a taste of her writing from “Land of Silence” (2016):

“When I think of the ruin my life has become, the slow wrecking of my dreams, the destruction of every love, I always return to the bee. That one tiny sting, which robbed my place of favor in my father’s heart and changed the course of my destiny.

Sorrow came to me on a beautiful afternoon, with the sun shining and just enough heat in the day to warm the skin without scorching it. Wildflowers were abundant that year and the hillside where Joseph and I had come to pass the hours was covered in a blanket of yellow and pink. I remember the scent of them tickling my nose and filling my lungs, making me laugh for the sheer beauty of the world.” (Afshar, p.1)

Afshar also weaves in Bible verses through allowing her characters to either be Biblical characters themselves, or coming in contact with characters from the Bible such as Paul. I also find Afshar’s chapter at the end of each book on what is Biblically accurate and what is creative license extremely helpful. In the past, I have given books from the Biblical fiction genre to friends who may not have been as Biblically literate as others, and they have taken these books as accurate accounts of Bible, alerting me to the downfall of this genre. I therefore found it extremely helpful that Afshar encourages her readers to turn to the Bible themselves to discover the true stories, and highlights what elements of the story she made up and why she made the narrative choices she did.

If you are looking for a Biblical fiction writer to discover, I couldn’t recommend Tessa Afshar more highly. Happy Reading! For more information on Tessa, head to her website at https://tessaafshar.com/ Tessa Afshar titles are available from Koorong.

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