Monday, May 7, 2012

Harvest of Rubies-Tessa Agshar

Harvest of Rubies

Tessa Agshar

River North, Apr 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802405586

In the third year of the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, seven years old Sarah’s mom died. Her dad Simeon ignores his grieving daughter. To get the attention of her father, a royal scribe at the Persian court, Sarah teaches herself to read and write. Five months of hard labor proves fruitful when Simeon realizes what his child can do. He mentors her while she shows tremendous proclivity towards several languages.

Her cousin Nehemiah the Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes notices Sarah’s talent. He recommends her as a scribe to Queen Damaspia. Sarah quickly becomes the queen’s chief scribe. When Sarah prevents a conspiracy to destroy the queen, Damaspia rewards her with a marriage to Lord Darius. Sarah tries to stop the wedding, but fails to do so and is unprepared when she exchanges vows with her husband. Her behavior leaves her in disfavor as the royals, her spouse, her father and others accuse her of insulting the Queen and Darius. Forced to remain behind in her husband’s palace while he travels, Sarah learns that Darius’ steward Teispes is stealing. She seeks proof while her adversary seeks to stop her anyway possible.

The latest Tessa Agshar’s ancient biblical romantic thriller (see Pearl in the Sand) is a great saga that takes place in a vividly described Persia not long after the reign of Xerxes and Esther of Purim fame in which assimilation has occurred although Jerusalem is being rebuilt. Sarah is a tremendous protagonist as she learns her self-worth is more than just being a scribe and that God did not abandon her when the Lord took her mom away, but her lessons learned may be too late for her marriage and even her life.

Harriet Klausner

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