JEWEL OF THE NILE
GENRE: Inspirational Biblical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2021
Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.
Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.
In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.
“All her life, Chariline had been told two things about her father: that he was dead, and that she was never to mention him”
When Land of Silence came out in 2016, I didn’t think anything could topple it as my favorite Tessa Afshar book… but Jewel of the Nile is giving it some tough competition! One of the things I love most about this author’s novels is how she takes both familiar & obscure people from the Bible and gives them life and backstory and personality. Her stories always wrap around my heart like a Jesus hug and draw me back to the Word over and over again, aided by her careful attention to what we do know from the Biblical narrative and the Scripture verses that open each chapter. Jewel of the Nile does this beautifully, as well as giving us brand new characters to love just as deeply.
Chariline is an engaging, if somewhat headstrong & impulsive, young woman who has never known her parents. Her mother died moments after Chariline’s birth, and no one will speak of her father. Believing him to be long dead, too, Chariline is stunned to overhear that he is, in fact, very much alive. His identity is still a mystery, however, and a series of unexpected events sends Chariline on a journey to track down the only person outside of her reticent family who might know his name. Along the way, she encounters a handful of people who will lovingly strengthen her faith in Jesus and remind her of some things that I need to remember all too often also. Things like recognizing & rejecting the lies we’re so quick to believe about ourselves – “You have to allow Yeshua to tell you the truth. Stop listening to your scars. You are not God’s mistake, Chariline. You are his glory.” – and learning to seek & surrender to God’s plan instead of our own impulses or desires, even when He’s not working ‘fast enough’ for us: “The problem is that when you are flesh-driven, you cannot be Spirit-led.” She just might find some things she wasn’t looking for, too – like romance.
Enter Theo. Just let me get my swooning out of the way right now. Well…. I’m actually not sure I can do that because hello, yummy hero! When he hauls Chariline into his arms and says “Come here,” during their first kiss. Oh be still my heart!! #allthehearteyes Fans of Afshar’s books have been waiting for Theo to get his own story, and it is definitely worth the wait. His protective care for those whom his heart has claimed, his love for Jesus, his own painful backstory, and his unique skills …. and his overall swooniliciousness … has earned him a solid spot in my book boyfriends collection.
Bottom Line: Curling up with a new book by Tessa Afshar is like sitting down to a feast of all your favorite foods with all of your favorite people. The layered characters make Jewel of the Nile a great novel, but the grin-inducing wit, swoonilicious romance, rich writing, and grace-filled truth ensure it is an absolute must-read. Sophocles, Vitruvia, and Arkamani made me laugh out loud more than once, Theo had me swooning all over the place, Chariline had me cheering her on, and appearances by familiar characters from the book of Acts made my heart full. I was captivated from the first word to the last, challenged in my walk with Jesus, and touched by these characters and the story Afshar wove between the lines.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / fabulous!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / WILL forget to breathe on occasion
TESSA AFSHAR is the Publishers Weekly best-selling author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction, including Harvest of Gold which won a Christy Award and Land of Silence, which won an INSPY. The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings is Afshar’s critically acclaimed Bible study based on the book of Ruth, which won the ECPA Christian Book of the Year Award, 2021 in the Bible Study Category. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for a year. Having served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years, Tessa became a full-time writer several years ago. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTessaAfshar/
Tyndale House is offering a Goodreads Giveaway with 10 winners from June 1-June 30th!
Click HERE to enter.
What about you? What makes you want to read Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar?