Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017
The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.
As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.
In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?
Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.
THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING. I could leave the review there, but I’m guessing you all would like more information, so amidst my gushing, I will attempt some intelligent sentences.
The Esther Paradigm is not what I would normally read. When I initially read the description, I was kind of hesitant, but I’d really liked every other book of Sarah’s, so I figured I’d take a risk. I am sooooooooooo glad I did. I read it in one sitting. I wasn’t planning on that, but once I dove in I just couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I didn’t have much I had to accomplish that Saturday as hubs was at work. Also, it wasn’t as long as I thought it would be, which just helped myself talk myself into not putting it down.
There are many good things about this book. The steady romance is one, the allusion to the Esther story another. But, what I really want to go on about are two things: the culture and the faith.
I loved how Sarah brought a whole culture that is almost completely foreign to me to life and immersed into life as a Bedouin and a Muslim. That word is scary for some in today’s world, and I will not get into my political leanings or opinions on refugees, and neither does Sarah. Instead she takes you into the perspective of someone who practices Islam contrasted with the Christian perspective. There is a particularly beautiful section where the heroine shares her faith be starting with what her clansmen know, the Qur’an. Sarah weaves a beautiful and intricate story about a God who deeply loves His people and calls us to love people, no matter who they are or what they believe. Hannah and her parents live this out in a way that I will likely never experience, but learned from their experience. I learned about the Muslim faith, about the people, about sacrifice, and learning to hear God’s voice in the most desolate places.
I hope and pray that this book changes your heart and opinions as it did mine. Read it with an open mind and the romance will sooth your soul; not just the romance between two people who love deeply, but also between God and His people.
Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.
This was not how I’d thought I would die.
Not that I sat around imagining my death. I’m not that morbid. But never in my wildest dreams had I imagined this.
Along the horizon, racing toward me with frightening speed, a billowing brown wall licked the earth’s surface and spit it out again—a ferocious scream that caused my heart to stutter in my chest. Six years away and this was how my beloved desert welcomed me home.
Wind whipped my long, loose dress around my legs and tugged at the few strands of hair not safely tucked in a ponytail under my hijab. I’d always been thankful the Bedouin clan my parents ministered to as missionaries didn’t adhere to the more concealing Muslim headwear, such as a niqab or burqa. I had to admit, though, that having more material to cover my nose and mouth would be helpful against the dust storm about to consume me. With quick motions, I reached around my head and unwrapped the bottom of my hijab, rewrapping it around my nose and mouth. A bit of water or petroleum jelly would work even better to save my nose and lungs from the dry desert sand, but some protection was better than none.
Tiny grains of sand picked up by the wind pelted my body like fastballs pitched by major league baseball players. I hunched over, lowering my frame as close to the ground as I could. Never knew if the wind had picked up more than just the earth’s surface. An abandoned tire rim or something else could decapitate a person when chucked at top speeds. It would be just like that temperamental mistress to hurl an object absently left on the wayside.
The storm was on me now.
My lungs constricted to rid themselves of the tiny particles I’d breathed in, coughing hot breath into the material around my mouth. My eyes watered with the force of the wind, and I blinked rapidly to try and rid the granules scratching my irises.
Lifting my backpack, I shielded my face and eyes, wishing I hadn’t let the driver drop me off so far from where the clan currently had their tents pitched. The inside of a twenty-year-old Jeep would have served as a wonderful bunker against this onslaught. Now I had no protection.
In the thick of it, I squinted through the brown haze, looking for something to hunker under on the leeward side. The rise of a nearby dune lied of its ability to protect. Fortunately, I understood the reality of the phrase “shifting sands.” Had no desire to change my death sentence from asphyxiation due to sand in my lungs to being buried alive when the wind deposited the dune right on top of my head.
A camel’s bray rent through the cacophony of the storm. My heart restarted. If ever there was an animal built to survive the temper of the desert, it was the camel. I pushed my legs forward, wishing I wore pants rather than my dress, which wrapped itself around my calves and threatened to topple me. If I could hear the camel’s call, perhaps its owner could hear mine. I lifted my chin and took in a lungful of air before pulling down the covering from my lips.
“Musaeada!” I yelled for help in Arabic. “Musaeada!”
The camel answered, and I took a few more stumbling steps toward the sound. The sand made it difficult to do anything—walk, see, breathe. If I didn’t find a place to wait out the storm soon, I wouldn’t survive it.
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