Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar tells the story of Chariline, who had been raised as an orphan, and Theo, a Christian merchant.
My Review of Jewel of the Nile
Though Chariline had been raised by her mother’s beloved sister, she was still starved for love. Her dark skin marks her as different from the members of her family with their snow-white skin. And there are secrets in her family, the biggest one being that her father is not dead.
Once she learns the truth, Chariline sets out to find the father she never knew, attracting the attention of someone who wants her dead. But when she stowed away on Theo’s ship, she couldn’t have chosen a better ship. Theo took care of her, shared his faith, and protected her.
After their time spent together at sea, friendship with a hint of more sprung up between Theo and Chariline.
The Characters in Jewel of the Nile
I loved Theo and Chariline. They each had different vulnerabilities which they chose to address in different ways. But they strengthened each other. Chariline learned a deeper faith and how to trust God more from seeing Theo live out his faith. Theo learned how to be vulnerable by watching Chariline share her story with others. It gave him the courage to share his story with her.
There were a number of secondary characters that I loved, for example, it was good to see Priscilla and Aquila from Daughter of Rome again. Also, Philip’s daughters had a strong faith which glowed in the few scenes they were in. But my absolute favorite secondary character was Sophocles. That crusty, old man stole my heart with the way he cared for Chariline and Theo.
The Themes in Jewel of the Nile
Jewel of the Nile shows the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the lies of the enemy. Several characters bore their secret (or not-so-secret) shame and it hampered them. It hindered their testimony and their ability to fulfill their purpose. It hindered their ability to love and seek community. It hampered their ability to see themselves as God saw them. And isn’t that just like us?
Shame prevents us from seeing ourselves as God sees us. It prevents us from living the life God intends for us to have. But God wants us to have His light which is capable of driving away even the darkest shadows.
Jewel of the Nile reminds us that sometimes family is the people who choose to do life with us whether they share the same blood or not. It’s a reminder that we need to surrender our will to God. It’s a reminder that God is concerned about every aspect of our lives even when we can’t see Him.
Final Thoughts on Jewel of the Nile
The message of Jewel of the Nile is a powerful one. The characters learn about forgiveness and what it truly means to belong. Through them, the reader contemplates her own life, Who do I really belong to? We learn that our identity is not based on anything physical but rather on what God says about us.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through NetGalley; a positive review was not required. Purchase Jewel of the Nile on Amazon | Tyndale
About Jewel of the Nile
Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.
Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.
In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters–including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.
About Tessa Afshar
Tessa Afshar is the Publishers Weekly best-selling author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction. Born in the Middle East, Tessa spent her teen years in England and later moved to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life.
She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for a year. Having served in women and prayer ministry for twenty years, Tessa became a full-time writer several years ago. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTessaAfshar/
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