Land of Silence

Land of SilenceLand of Silence by Tessa Afshar
Genres: Biblical Fiction
Published by Tyndale Publishing on May 1, 2016
Pages: 390
Also by this author: In the Field of Grace

 

About Land of Silence (from the back cover):
Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?

I am very particular about the authors that I follow when it comes to Biblical fiction. Tessa Afshar is one author whose books I will always pick up and expect to be enthralled by the story. Land of Silence grabbed my heart from page one. Tessa created a provocative, engrossing story for the woman with the issue of blood. When I first heard that this would be the basis for her new book, I admit, I did wonder how she was going to make it work. I wasn’t worried, of course, but I did wonder how she would choose to tell this story. She takes a figure that appears in one scene with the Bible and fleshes out her story into something beautiful – a tapestry, if you will, that rivals the beauty of the fabric creations in Elianna’s household.

She takes a figure that appears in one scene with the Bible and fleshes out her story into something beautiful – a tapestry, if you will, that rivals the beauty of the fabric creations in Elianna’s household.

The characterization of Elianna is superb; her voice in the first person narration style is crystal clear and distinct. I love that she chose to tell the story in first-person. I think it made the telling of such a personal, emotionally-charged story that much more poignant and compelling. Speaking of fabric and tapestries, the details about fabric production, dyeing and even the selling and trading are fascinating and greatly enhanced my reading experience.

The characterization of Elianna is superb; her voice in the first person narration style is crystal clear and distinct.

Tessa excels at creating strong women that suit the setting and time period, and Elianna is truly an inspiring character. She is determined and wants to take care of her family, yet her pride keeps her from accepting help from her betrothed, Ethan. The novel spans many years, and I ached with her and cheered for her as she matures throughout the story. The way that she is battered by life circumstance and then later on by physical ailments, yet still holds tight to her faith, makes her a compelling character. I can’t let the review go without mentioning Ethan again – enduring, steadfast Ethan. The scenes between these two spark with feeling, and he matches Elianna’s stubbornness with a hard head of his own.

I am impressed that the novel wasn’t bogged down with despair.

The groundwork for the story is set up in a strong way. The opening scenes set up perfectly both the despair and hope that are to come. Stricken by grief, guilt and condemnation, Elianna works hard to be the perfect daughter and basically run her father’s textile business on her own. However, all of her hard work cannot prepare her for what’s to come. Looking back, I am once again impressed that the novel wasn’t bogged down with despair. Much of the novel is leading to her lowest point, but I never wanted to put it down – the story flows that well and is that engrossing. Though there were some times I felt that the pacing was a bit slow, the events that took place felt realistic and naturally placed in the story. It is only through reaching her lowest point, that the most important event of her life takes place – that of touching the hem of Jesus’s robe and finding physical healing, yes, but, more importantly, deep, irrevocable love, free of condemnation.

Tessa’s writing just keeps getting better and better, and fans of her previous novels will not be disappointed in the slightest. I highly recommend this novel for readers of Biblical fiction, but also for any reader looking for a strong story of healing and redemption.

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