Always a treat to have the extremely talented Tessa Afshar on the blog, and today she’s here to talk about her newest Old Testament-era historical novel, The Hidden Prince!
THE HIDDEN PRINCE by Tessa Afshar
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance / Biblical Era
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: November 8, 2022
From the bestselling author of Jewel of the Nile comes the thrilling tale of a woman who feels she has no future but soon discovers the fate of nations may rest in her hands.
The beloved daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon, Keren is sold into Daniel’s household to help her family survive. She becomes Daniel’s most trusted scribe, while taking lessons and swordsmanship training alongside Daniel’s sons and their best friend, Jared.
But after a tragic accident changes the course of her life, Keren finds herself in a foreign country, charged with a mysterious task: teaching a shepherd boy how to become a lord. When she overhears whispers that hint at his true identity, she realizes she must protect him from the schemes of a bloodthirsty king.
Jared cannot forgive Keren. Still, he finds himself traveling over mountains to fetch her back to the safety of home. When he discovers the secret identity of Keren’s pupil, Jared knows he must help protect him. Love battles bitterness as they flee from the king’s agents, trying to save the boy who could one day deliver their people from captivity.
by Tessa Afshar, author of The Hidden Prince
Every time I write a new book, I find something in my research that touches me personally. Some historical detail that soothes my heart and reminds me of God’s long plans. This time, while writing The Hidden Prince, I found my personal nugget in Babylon.
Babylon was once the wonder of the world. Astoundingly wealthy, this sprawling metropolis housed one quarter of a million people in its cosmopolitan bosom, making it the largest city the world had ever seen.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s building projects had turned Babylon into a stupefying sight. The city boasted crenelated double walls encircled by moats, standing so wide in places that a chariot could be driven over them. A series of man-made canals carried the river’s precious water into the arid city, while architectural wonders like the famed seven-story ziggurat and the Ishtar gate with its blue-glazed bricks left visitors dazed with awe.
But the Hanging Gardens were the most iconic of Babylon’s monuments. Tiered gardens filled with mature trees and shrubs, tinkling water irrigating the green landscape . . . all sitting atop a palace roof. A miniature woodland sprouting out of a brick and bitumen roof. It ought to have collapsed. Or at least leaked, if it was anything like my house. Instead, it bloomed year after year, thick-trunked trees visible from the wide street below.
Reading about the Hanging Gardens, I realized something that left me a little breathless.
Among those who would have seen these impossible gardens would have been the captives from Judea. Years after losing everything, they would have seen this wondrous sight in the scorching heat of Babylon: a verdant garden on a rooftop!
Decades before this, the Prophet Isaiah had made a prophecy about these survivors of a shattered land:
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
I cannot help but think that the Judean captives would have remembered this verse when they saw the Hanging Gardens. They must have realized that their lives were like that rooftop. An impossibly arid place. And yet, as sure as that rooftop had turned into a watered garden, their scorched lives could be transformed by the hand of God.
Those gardens were a sign of hope. Something I wanted to capture for my readers in my new book.
The Hidden Prince tells the story of a woman who thinks her future is destroyed. Instead, she finds that just around the corner from the worst, God’s best is waiting. She discovers that God can turn the scorched places of her heart into a well-watered garden.
In many ways this is a light-hearted story with a lot of humor, adventure, and sweet romance. But ultimately, after the I-can’t-ever-get-over-this moment in the story, this is a book that helps us remember God can overcome every scorched circumstance in our lives.
Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction. She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. After working in women’s ministry for nearly twenty years, Tessa became a full-time writer and speaker. Tessa and her husband live in New England, where they proudly tend their mediocre garden.
Visit her website at tessaafshar.com.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar?