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Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar: A Book Review

Jewel of the Nile
Author: Tessa Afshar
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Biblical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: 2021
Pages: 432
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.


     My Review: Chariline is half-Roman and half-Cushite. Her mother died during childbirth leaving her in the care of her cold and indifferent grandfather and aunt. When she learns that her father may be alive, Chariline decides to find him. Her clues lead her to Rome to uncover her father’s identity. She becomes a stowaway on Theo’s ship. Theo discovers her and accompanies Chariline on her journey. Could Chariline finally find her father and once she discovers his identity learn to accept for abandoning her?


     Chariline is a very fascinating character. She is a very spirited and often reckless young woman. She makes many mistakes throughout the novel. However, she grows into a more mature young woman. I also like how she is interested in architecture, which I thought was a unique skill for a protagonist to have. I also love her determination in finding her father as well as her endearing friendship with a eunuch who considers himself an outsider. Thus, I was excited to learn her ending.


     Theo was an equally lovable character. He was a character in both The Thief of Corinth and Daughter of Rome. I wanted to learn about Theo’s conclusion to his journey. Theo has grown throughout the three novels. He is more mature and relies on God. He helped Chariline in his journey and was able to come to terms with his past. I was glad he was the hero and believed he was a great match for our protagonist. Thus, Theo’s relationship with Chariline was very compelling, and I was excited to see how it ended.


     Overall, this novel is about healing, forgiveness, and acceptance. The message of this novel is that God heals all emotional wounds. I really like the other characters, especially the fearsome queen of Kush. I also liked revisiting other characters from other novels like Priscilla and Aquila, who were the protagonists of Daughter of Rome. Even though the identity of Chariline’s father was very predictable, I was pleased with who her father turned out to be. The only thing I did not like about the novel was that it was drawn-out and could easily have been shortened! Nevertheless, I love how Mrs. Afshar took us to the exotic setting of Cush! I had never read books set in ancient Africa, except for Egypt, and it was a delightful treat! Jewel of the Nile is a very fast-paced story full of adventure, romance, and political intrigue! I recommend this novel for fans of Francine Rivers, Tosca Lee, and Jill Eileen Smith!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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