Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar is our first recommendation in our new category of reviews for the college-age student. It is a fictional account of Rahab. Truthfully, I didn’t want to read about a prostitute, but the author doesn’t focus on Rahab’s sins, but on God’s mercy and forgiveness. As the story unfolds we see her through God’s eyes.

The story begins when Rahab, at the age of fifteen, is forced into prostitution in order to support her family. Rahab becomes a harlot rather than a temple prostitute because she hates the idols her family worship. Unable to find a way out of her circumstances, she chooses the lesser of two evils longing for something better. When she hears about the God of the Hebrews and all that He has done for them, Rahab decides to put her faith in Him. God gives her an opportunity to help the Israelite spies and this action saves her and her family. But this is only the beginning of what God has in store for Rahab and for the future of Israel.

Utilizing her background of living in Iran, as well as using biblical and archaeological sources, the author deepens the readers experience with its cultural authenticity. For example, the Bible tells us how the Israelite camp was set up by tribes, but walking with the characters through the camp brought that concept to life. Also, we begin to understand the Israelites’ longing for a homeland, the reality of war, and their sole dependence on God. When Rahab and her family are taught God’s law, we are reminded why they are important, and why God kept His people separated.

Rahab, through her struggles, learns that no matter what she has done she has great worth in God’s eyes because she is His child and that God values us more than gold and fine jewels.

Listed as historical fiction, Pearl in the Sand covers the events between Joshua 1-10, including the crossing of the Jordan, the fall of Jericho, and the Battle of Ai. Personally, what I liked most about this book was that it went beyond the mainstream mentality of “Happily Ever After” presenting a realistic view of marriage.

Pearl in the Sand contains some adult content which is why we are only recommending it for our college-age readers. It was published by Moody Publishers, 2010, and is 320 pages.

J. D.  Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is endeavoring to pen a preteen science fiction novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry and has two dwarf hamsters, Lucy and Suzy.

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