I was so excited when I heard that Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar was getting an update. It's such a beautiful story (both inside and outside, but I'll get to that in a bit), and it's such a pivotal book in terms of the history of the genre of Biblical fiction. I really thought it deserved a new cover and some "new" hype for the story.
Tessa Afshar's writing style is flawless, as usual, with multiple layers of storytelling all woven together to create a masterpiece. Pearl in the Sand is easily THE quintessential novel by Afshar, and the first book by this author that I ever read before quickly diving down a rabbit hole to buy and read all of her other books.
This 10th anniversary edition of Pearl in the Sand includes new features that will invite you into the untold story of Rahab’s journey from lowly outcast to redeemed child of God. Rahab’s home is built into a wall, a wall that fortifies and protects the City of Jericho. However, other walls surround her too, walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness… Years of pain and betrayal have wounded Rahab’s heart—she doubts whether her dreams of experiencing true love will ever come true…
A woman with a wrecked past—a man of success, of faith... of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.
First, let's talk about the OUTSIDE of this book: I love the new cover! It keeps some of the same striking details about the original edition like the bright blue hues, the dramatic red cord, and the intense gaze of the cover model that sets the mood and tone for the book, but brings it to life in a new way that is eye-catching, stunning, and yet simple and beautiful. The whole cover image combined makes me think of "the calm before the storm," and it's gorgeous. I also love the rose gold foil detail in the paperback copy, which is hard to capture on camera in all of it's glory, but let me just say, it makes the outside of this book shine as much as the story within its pages.
Now, let's talk about the inside (AKA, the story): Rahab is one of the most oft-retold stories in the genre of Biblical fiction, so it's easy to see why someone might be skeptical to pick up this rendition, but I must say that Afshar brings something beautiful and fresh to the story. The book is full of well-researched world-building that brings the Biblical book of Joshua to life, and Afshar's captivating characters round out the novel and its message into something truly transformative. And-without giving spoilers-that scene? *That scene* that gives this book its title? Still gives me chills.
I also loved the addition of the 2020 updated "A Note from the Author" which brings a little more incite into how this novel was written, and what kind of an impact its had since its initial release since 2010. The full-color chapter headers (or "interior decorating" of the book, as I like to say) are also a fun detail that makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable. This is an amazing edition that you absolutely want to have on your shelf.
I would highly recommend this book to newcomers to the BF genre, as well as those that have been here a long time. It's easy to see why Afshar has become such a staple in the Biblical fiction community, and has been now for over ten years. I would even go so far as to say that this book is to Biblical fiction what Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is to Christian Fiction/Christian historical romance.
*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
You can purchase a copy of the 10th Annary Edition of Pearl in the Sand at THIS link. If you've already read this book, I highly recommend diving immediately into In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar (a Ruth retelling). It's the PERFECT follow-up to Rahab and Salmone's story. If you're already completely caught up on Tessa Afshar books, then be sure to keep an eye out for Jewel of Persia, her next release coming out in early 2021.