Monday, May 2, 2016
My Review: Land of Silence
"Sometimes the evidence of our senses and the testimony of the world's wisdom are plain wrong. Sometimes the Lord is busy forging victory when the mind expects only defeat." - Elianna
I was looking through my highlights on my Kindle app and smiled at the wisdom found within the pages of this book. There are several other quotes that I'd love to share with you, but I'll just stick with this one, for now. Though I may sneak in another at the end.
Before Christ called her daughter . . .
Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .
Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.
No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?
About the Author:
Tessa Afshar was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category and World Magazine chose Harvest of Rubies as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel, Harvest of Gold was nominated for the 2014 Christy Award. Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, 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 cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last fifteen years in full-time Christian service in New England.
Please note: I filched this bio and the author photo from Amazon.com. I own no rights to them and no infringement is intended.
My Review: 5 stars
“Beautiful” is the first word that came to mind when I was thinking of how to describe this story. Also “thought-provoking,” “brilliant,” “engrossing,” and so many others. Tessa’s books are by far always some of my favorites and this one is definitely no exception. She has this amazing way of bringing the Bible to life and making me want to dive in deeper, see the stories I overlook when reading it again. Her books are in no way meant to replace the Bible, but maybe cause the reader to stop and think, and they cause me to see things in a different light.
To be honest, aside from hearing a couple sermons on her, I’d never really given much thought to the woman I meet so briefly while reading the Bible, the woman with the issue of blood. She’s there just a moment, seeming to be an interruption, a prelude to the larger miracle still to come. But in this book, Tessa brings her to life. So little is known about this woman, so most of this book is a work of fiction, but regardless, I loved getting to meet all of these characters! This author’s words paint a broad, sweeping picture. One full of pain and beauty, fear and hope, doubt and love. The amount of research that obviously went into writing this book simply astounds me. Each page is filled with details and things I never knew or even considered. I immensely enjoyed learning about the time period and the Jewish customs, as well as the setting and the making of cloth. These details are woven in so seamlessly throughout that it never felt like a history lesson, but rather that I was getting to visit this time in history. I could almost smell the dye, see the vibrant color and designs, and feel the smooth cloth - no time machine needed!
The writing is very unique and Tessa did a fantastic job with all of the characters. The story is written as though Elianna is sitting down to tell someone her story. Despite the fact that I’m not always a huge fan of this particular writing style, it was an excellent fit for the story and I actually enjoyed it immensely. The author was able to give each main character a distinct voice and personality through how Elianna perceives them, so I felt I knew them all quite well. Reading the story from Elianna’s view point gave it another layer of sincerity, I think. It was real and sometimes heartbreaking. I felt Elianna’s pain at the many trials in her life, at the struggles as she attempted to provide for her family and the sorrow of loss. Her story felt bleak, for a time, as she worked to hold every crumbling part of her life together with two straining hands. But I loved the hope that continued to break through, reminding me that even in the bleakest moments, when everything seems lost, it isn’t over just yet.
The spiritual side of the story is a huge one, obviously. Much of it focuses on trusting God through the difficult season of life and learning to forgive, things Elianna had to learn that time and again throughout the book. As did several of the other characters. I loved the honesty found among the pages, the brokenness, but also the grace. I especially loved a particular moment when Elianna met Jesus, heard Him speak, and tried to understand how to love her enemies. There are so many more things I could say about this book, but I don’t want to take the chance of spoiling it for anyone. Suffice to say that this is a beautifully written tale that highlights a little known Bible character and illustrates God’s infinite grace. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction and encourage anyone who isn’t a fan to at least give it a go. I doubt you’ll regret it.
I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it and will consider looking into the book further. It is definitely one of the best books I've read so far this year and I highly recommend it to everyone!
Just in case my cheering won you over, links will be below for further investigating.
I also suggested there might be another quote awaiting anyone who bothered to read this far, so without further ado:
"God could bring meaning into all this. Bring light and hope and life into what no one could undo. He alone could breathe life into that dust and breathe meaning into the things that pass." - Elianna
Have a delightful day!
Barnes & Noble