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Archived Group Reads - 2018 > July Book of the Month - Pearl in the Sand

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message 1: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

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 Bible’s answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well—walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness.

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.


message 2: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
I have finished reading this book and have a Kindle version that I can loan. If anyone is interested, let me know.


message 3: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1922 comments Mod
I plan to read this one! It is the first Tessa Afshar book I bought, but haven't read it yet.


message 4: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
I think you will really enjoy it Staci!


message 5: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1922 comments Mod
Based upon everything else I've read by the author, I agree!!


message 6: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments I'm in. This will be my first book by this author.


message 7: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 352 comments I’m in! I am half way through and I love it!


message 8: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollymlyon) | 11 comments I love how the author seems to have done some in-depth research on the culture and the context of the time period.


message 9: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Afshar has a Masters of Divinity from Yale and has done extensive research into Biblical history. It definitely shows in her writing.


message 10: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollymlyon) | 11 comments Loraine wrote: "Afshar has a Masters of Divinity from Yale and has done extensive research into Biblical history. It definitely shows in her writing."

I had no idea she did! :)


message 11: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollymlyon) | 11 comments I am on Ch. 15 and I am enjoying the book so far. However I am having a hard time liking Salome so far. I understand where is coming from in his opinions regarding Rahman and her family but still he seems a little conceited. Anyone else feel the same way?


message 12: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollymlyon) | 11 comments Holly wrote: "I am on Ch. 15 and I am enjoying the book so far. However I am having a hard time liking Salome so far. I understand where is coming from in his opinions regarding Rahman and her family but still h..."

*Rahab not Rahman.


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (lizr8900) | 207 comments I really loved In the Fields of Grace so I'm excited to read this story. I'm only on chapter five so far but I'm really enjoying it!


message 14: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
I just finished In the Fields of Grace Elizabeth and loved it!


message 15: by Ebonie Jade (new)

Ebonie Jade | 5 comments I'm in. Just downloaded the audio on my Libby app and will start listening by Friday <3


message 16: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Glad you are joining us Ebonie Jade!


message 17: by Ebonie Jade (new)

Ebonie Jade | 5 comments Thank Loraine. Happy to be a part!


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda | 58 comments i just checked this out. It sounds really good.


message 19: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 6 comments Fantastic story!!!!


message 20: by Holly (new)

Holly (hollymlyon) | 11 comments I just finished reading this. (Spoilers ahead)

I take back what I said about Salome I just wish he had been more understanding at first. I love the parable of the earring and what how God redeems everything in our past. I really also enjoyed Tessa's sense of humor which helped the book from getting too serious. The one thing I wish she would have done would have been to explore Rahab's family members coming in to the new community after Jericho was defeated. It seemed at the beginning of the book that Joa was having a hard time accepting the Israelite customs and such. It just seemed that it would have been a good place to explore the tension in that, but then reading about Rahab's struggles was maybe the tension of having changing to a new way of life.


message 21: by Tessa (new)

Tessa Afshar | 1 comments This is my first Goodreads discussion group. Seriously. There is a reason I write historical and biblical fiction. Technology is not my forte. So if I make any bloopers, I apologize ahead of time. You ladies are so much fun. Thanks for inviting me in! I am enjoying your comments.


message 22: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 694 comments Tessa wrote: "This is my first Goodreads discussion group. Seriously. There is a reason I write historical and biblical fiction. Technology is not my forte. So if I make any bloopers, I apologize ahead of time. ..."

Tessa- How delightful that you stopped in- thanks so much! No worries- technology can be daunting at times for all of us!


message 23: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Tessa - thanks so much for dropping in. We will begin discussion of Pearl in the Sand in the next couple of days. We hope you will drop back by as there always are questions for our authors.


message 24: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) | 104 comments I read this book a few years ago. It was my first by this author, who has become a favorite of mine.

As someone else mentioned, this was such a beautiful parable of God’s grace.

I initially rated this 4 stars on goodreads but I found myself thinking about this story so much and gushing about it to friends that I realized it was a 5 star read for me.

I recently read Fields of Grace and I loved the little reminder of this book that showed up.

Incidentally I’m an audiobook listener and these are some of the best in the Christian fiction genre.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoy reading Tessa Afshar books when I can find them at the library. They have giving me strength and inspiration. I have read pearl in the sand up to ch twelve and had to stop reading for a bit so I turned it in and it’s gotten popular and it’s being checked out a lot. I will be finishing up when I can check it out again hopefully soon.


message 26: by Loraine, CFD Momma (last edited Jul 16, 2018 10:51AM) (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Here are the discussions questions for Pearl in the Sand. Please feel free to answer any of them or post your own questions for discussion. Also if you have any questions for our author, please feel free to post those.

1. In Chapter 1, we see overt and subtle ways in which Rahab's family fails to protect her. What emotional wounds does Rahab sustain as a result?

2. What are some of the qualities that drew Rahab to Debir as a friend? What were some of his defects you detected in Debir? What qualities do you like to see in an ideal friend?

3. Rahab is slowly drawn to God. What qualities does she perceive in God that drew her to HIm?

4. What made Rahab willing to risk her life in order to save the Jewish spies?

5. Joshua accuses Salmone of becoming judgmental in his attitude. What do you think Joshua means? Do you see any judgmental attitudes in yourself?

6. Rahab and Salmone both comprehend the true source of Rahab's worth through the lesson of the pear earring. What give you your sense of worth?

7. Rahab finally forgives her father. What do you think helps her do that?

8. What are some of the qualities of God discussed in the book that touched your heart? Why?

9. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?


message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda | 58 comments I loved this book. In places I felt like Rahab and it is giving me some pause for reflection.


message 28: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Glad you enjoyed it Linda. I sure did too.


message 29: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Okay, I am not a crier at all, but I actually shed real tears towards the end of this book. This never happens! I might have slightly damp tear ducts and a corresponding lump in my throat, but this is the first time in my life, I was actually required to stop reading because of not being able to see the page due to a real shower of tears. It didn't last a long time, but for goodness' sakes, I was surprised by them.


message 30: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I will try and think through some of the questions later when I'm on my laptop rather than my phone. At any rate, I loved this book. She was a new author for me.


message 31: by Ebonie Jade (new)

Ebonie Jade | 5 comments I am listening to the last 2 chapters of this book as I type this out. This is a 5 star book for me. I have enjoyed the story, especially the reader of the audio-book version. This book will be going in my personal library as it has touched my heart in many ways. I look forward to rereading this and other books by this author. Thanks for recommending!!!


message 32: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
So glad you enjoyed it Ebonie Jade. Tessa definitely has a gift for Biblical fiction. I have enjoyed everyone of her books that I have read.


message 33: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments I loved this story. And the writing was so beautiful. I especially enjoyed the banter between all the characters.

So... this in the first few chapters when I was reading Rahab's story, the following thought popped up

"Rahab was sold into prostitution, but her lifestyle actually represents a lot of people today....moving from one short term sexual relationship to another. And sometimes there is not a big difference in these relationships compared to the payment Rahab received for this" - how sad that the world is so broken.


message 34: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments 1. In Chapter 1, we see overt and subtle ways in which Rahab's family fails to protect her. What emotional wounds does Rahab sustain as a result? There is so much, but I think the biggest wound was the belief that she was not worth protecting

3. Rahab is slowly drawn to God. What qualities does she perceive in God that drew her to HIm? I think the biggest one was that He is a God who protects life, compared to the gods who required human sacrifices.

4. What made Rahab willing to risk her life in order to save the Jewish spies? I think it was because she felt she had nothing to lose and she started to belief that God is real, and if He is real nothing will stop Him.

5. Joshua accuses Salmone of becoming judgmental in his attitude. What do you think Joshua means? Do you see any judgmental attitudes in yourself? oh yes, this is a daily struggle I have to overcome. I'm a very black or white person, so when I struggle a lot with not judging other when they do something different to what I believe is what God requires. Everyone is at different stages with their relationship with God and I sometimes have to remind myself that God will work with them (and me) on His time. I also have very high standards so have to make sure that I don't judge people according to these standards.

6. Rahab and Salmone both comprehend the true source of Rahab's worth through the lesson of the pear earring. What give you your sense of worth? My identity in Christ - it was only when I realised who I am in Him, that I could truly love myself.

7. Rahab finally forgives her father. What do you think helps her do that? Her relationship with God.

8. What are some of the qualities of God discussed in the book that touched your heart? Why? His forgiveness, even though he has high standards for holiness and purity - even though He requires us to walk a pure and holy life, He will forgive us our sins when we truly repent. He is a loving God - He poured His love over Rahab when she felt unworthy of love - He is a just God - there was consequences for sins, some punishments more severe than others.

9. What was your favorite part of the story? Why? There was a few - where Salmone realised he had to break down Rahab's walls, the message with the pearl in the sand, all the banter between everyone, and the scene with the snake.

reply | flag *


message 35: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing your answers Sarita. This book truly did make the reader think about what life was then before people came to believe in the one true God.


message 36: by Kate (new)

Kate (liahonagirl) | 568 comments 1. In Chapter 1, we see overt and subtle ways in which Rahab's family fails to protect her. What emotional wounds does Rahab sustain as a result?
~I think the biggest emotional wound was that she knew she had no worth to her Abba. From the outset of the story, it seemed like Rahab had identified so much more with her father than with her mother, so her father's edict that she become a prostitute was doubly heart-rending.

2. What are some of the qualities that drew Rahab to Debir as a friend? What were some of his defects you detected in Debir? What qualities do you like to see in an ideal friend?
~I think that Rahab felt like Debir saw her as an equal. He discussed real-life concerns with her (especially with regards to the threat Israel presented). In that era, to speak with a woman as an equal, especially a 'zonah', would have been unheard of. I think that's what drew Rahab to Debir as a friend. I almost think that Debir was struggling with depression at the end there. He saw what was being done to the other nations in the area, and he gave up hope. He had felt he had nothing to fight for.
I appreciate having friends who, like Debir, treat me as an equal: share thoughts and ideas and feelings with me. However, I think the best friendships go beyond that, and challenge me to become better . . . always pointing me back to God.

3. Rahab is slowly drawn to God. What qualities does she perceive in God that drew her to HIm?
~As mentioned above, Rahab is intrigued by this God who values life over human sacrifice. I think the fact that He had no image also intrigued her. He was powerful in and of Himself, rather than needing sacrifice to become powerful. The sacrifices He required (and still requires: a broken heart and contrite spirit) are not for HIS benefit, but for ours.

4. What made Rahab willing to risk her life in order to save the Jewish spies?
~From what she'd heard about Israel, she knew that not only would they win, but she was starting to want to follow their God, if He would have her.

5. Joshua accuses Salmone of becoming judgmental in his attitude. What do you think Joshua means? Do you see any judgmental attitudes in yourself?
~Far too often, sadly. I think those of us who have grown up knowing the Good News of Christ run the risk often of pointing the finger at other people, instead of humbly asking "Lord, is it I?". I need to be better at this. The way of the Lord is for me to walk in, not to browbeat anyone else with. I need to encourage other people in the Lord, for sure, but be gentle and kind about it.

6. Rahab and Salmone both comprehend the true source of Rahab's worth through the lesson of the pear earring. What give you your sense of worth?
~I loved this part of the book, and cried when I read it. I loved seeing Salmone and Rahab remember and learn that our true worth comes from God.

7. Rahab finally forgives her father. What do you think helps her do that?
~She learned that she has a perfect Father . . . God, so she could finally lay her burden at His feet, and remember that hear father on earth is as imperfect as she is. I think that though she refused to have anything to do with the gods of Jericho, she had made an idol of her own father.

8. What are some of the qualities of God discussed in the book that touched your heart? Why?
~God's forgiveness, and His delight in giving us the desires of our hearts.

9. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
~The part where they learned the lesson of the pearl in the sand. It's something that will stick with me for a long time to come.


message 37: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
My favorite part was the lesson of the pearl in the sand as well Kate.


message 38: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) | 104 comments It has been too long since I read the story to give answers to the very specific questions, but in reading the responses of others I recalled some of my own thoughts and feelings about this book.

This book is all about redemption: how God can take something old, thrown-away, detestable, and make it brand new, beautiful, desirable. This is actually what the Bible is all about, and I love stories that tell of the redeeming power of God. I think it was this aspect of the story that made me gush about it for weeks.


message 39: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joy.


message 40: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments Loraine wrote: "Thanks for sharing your answers Sarita. This book truly did make the reader think about what life was then before people came to believe in the one true God."

Definitely a lot to think about for sure!


message 41: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Did anyone have a favorite quote? There are so many what I call "wisdom gems" in this book.

One of my favorites was:

"All they had was God. And wrapped up in faith, this seemed more than enough."


message 42: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments Two quotes I liked:

“A woman needs to feel safe in love. She needs to know her husband accepts everything about her and still loves her. To be known through and through, including the failures of her past, the shortcomings of her character, and still be loved, that's the Promised Land of a woman's heart! That's where she finds rest.”

“We long for things that harm us and run from the things that grow and heal us. We think good is bad and bad is good.”


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow I just finished pearl in the sand and loved it I couldn’t put the book down I just realized that I read in the field of grace first which is one of my favorite stories of the Bible. I like to read them in order when I can but sometimes they are not available at my library. I use my library a lot. So back to the subject these books really help me personally to overcome all my fears and insecurities knowing that god is with me no matter what and hold on to faith.


message 44: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
So glad you enjoyed it Noemi. Biblical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I feel like I learn so much from it. I loved In the Field of Grace as well.


message 45: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1922 comments Mod
1. In Chapter 1, we see overt and subtle ways in which Rahab's family fails to protect her. What emotional wounds does Rahab sustain as a result? She no longer feels the protective cover of her father. That is huge. She also feels abandoned by her family.

3. Rahab is slowly drawn to God. What qualities does she perceive in God that drew her to HIm? Initially, I think it was because God didn't believe in sacrificing children.

4. What made Rahab willing to risk her life in order to save the Jewish spies? She believed the God of the Jews was superior to the gods of her family.

7. Rahab finally forgives her father. What do you think helps her do that? Prayer and the prompting of her husband.

8. What are some of the qualities of God discussed in the book that touched your heart? Why? His love of all people and forgiving of sins.

9. What was your favorite part of the story? Why? I loved when Miriam invited Rahab to help her with the care of her brother. This showed Rahab love from another human being, one that had nothing to do with her beauty or what she may have to offer.


message 46: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 3229 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Staci.


message 47: by Sarita (new)

Sarita | 1389 comments @Staci - love your comment on nr 9 - God really used Miriam in this story to also change Salmone's attitude towards Rahab. I think Miriam was a huge tool in God's plan to show Rahab His love and acceptance.


message 48: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 352 comments I loved this story. I think its my favourite book so far this year 😊. Hence why I was determined to share my thoughts before the month ends.

So I decided to use these questions as a great excuse to listen to some of my favourite parts again 😊. Like ebonie I listened to the audiobook and it was an excellent performance.


I have decided to answer the questions that stood out to me:

3. Rahab is slowly drawn to God. What qualities does she perceive in God that drew her to HIm?
she saw that he was “True” and a God of “compassion and power”. What I especially loved is that you could sense Rehabs hunger and thirst for these things as she was questioning Debir.

4. What made Rahab willing to risk her life in order to save the Jewish spies?
The more Rehab heard about the Lord the more she felt a longing and a pull for the Lord. It was like the hunger and thirst for his qualities was worth the risk.

5. Joshua accuses Salmone of becoming judgmental in his attitude. What do you think Joshua means? Do you see any judgmental attitudes in yourself?
I think that Salmone was making conclusions about Rahab based from where she came from and her past not based upon who she was. I find that I can be judgemental at times. Quick to jump to conclusions rather than allow a persons character to speak for a person. Although based upon past mistakes I am learning quickly. Lol

8. What are some of the qualities of God discussed in the book that touched your heart? Why?
How Gods heart, hand and power was portrayed touched my heart. Because all things are possible with God but yet sometimes I can forget this and limit God to be less than who he is. However this story reminded me to take the limits off. If he can do it for Rahab he can do it for any of us because he is an impartial God.

9. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
My favourite part is that the story goes beyond the HEA and gets into the nitty gritty of relationships of the broken and rejected. Because God does not promise us an easy life but he does promise victory over every trial and tribulation if we walk through them with God following his way and will. I believe that this is exactly the picture Tessa paints in this part :).

I just want to say again I loved this book LOL!


message 49: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 352 comments Loraine wrote: "Afshar has a Masters of Divinity from Yale and has done extensive research into Biblical history. It definitely shows in her writing."

I completely agree Loriane Afshars qualifications definitely shows in her writing :)


message 50: by Charlene (new)

Charlene | 352 comments Cheryl wrote: "Tessa wrote: "This is my first Goodreads discussion group. Seriously. There is a reason I write historical and biblical fiction. Technology is not my forte. So if I make any bloopers, I apologize a..."

Not sure if your coming back Tessa but just in case you do I have a question. “How do you decide what biblical characters to write about?” Just curious on why the characters you have chosen 😊


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