Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar is a fantastic example of the proper use of artistic license. Afshar paints the redemptive story of Rahab in vivid color. The story details Rahabís life from her tragic beginnings as a destitute girl forced into prostitution so she can help support her family to her role as a significant woman of faith and a major player in history. Central themes that come out in the story are: faith, forgiveness, Godís holiness and mercy, and, of course, Godís redemptive power over even the worst circumstances.
Afshar fills in the details of Rahabís life-changing story by combining biblical and archeological information in a creative form. Pearl in the Sand is a novel that presents a relatively accurate historical account in a fun form. The characters are engaging and even humorous at times.
Rahab was a young girl who was forced into prostitution by her family so they could buy food. Her main hurdles in this story are forgiving her family and accepting forgiveness herself for what she has become. Salmone is a leader of the tribe of Judah. He has a reputation to uphold, and he is not happy when Joshua asks him to take care of Rahab and her family and help prepare them to become part of Israel. Ezra and Hanini are two young Israelite spies who go scouting in Jericho and end up being rescued by Rahab. Miriam is Salmoneís sister and is instrumental in Rahab learning to see the God of Israel. The paths of these characters, and many others, change a little bit every time they cross. Every character from the holiest to the lowliest has something to learn.
Rahab will become a woman known for her faith more than her past, but first she must learn to let go of the past and accept Godís forgiveness for her sins. She must learn that no one is worthy of Godís grace and forgiveness, yet it is free to those who will receive it. Salmone is a strong leader but must learn to see outside of himself and his tribe. He must learn compassion for others who may be different but no worse than he in Godís eyes. Even the sweet, generous Miriam must learn to keep a tight rein on her tongue.
Despite the nature of the characters, Afshar keeps her writing to a solid PG rating. I believe Pearl in the Sand would be a great addition to any Sunday school, church, or home library. There are even discussion questions in the back of the book so readers can more easily process the information rather than just enjoy it literarily. Ė Rebekah Mosolf, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bibleís answer is yes. At the age of fifteen Rahab is forced into prostitution by her beloved father. In her years as a courtesan, she learns to mistrust men and hate herself. Into the emotional turmoil of her world walks Salmone, a respected leader of Judah. Through the tribulations of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one anotherís worth in God and find healing from fear and rejection.