Category: Books

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels tells the story of Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, from Acts 16. Purple was a foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world around the time of Jesus — a world where men dominated, and women did not really have the possibility of succeeding with a business of their own. Lydia was a merchant’s daughter, who loved her father, their home, and making dye. A betrayal robs her of all of these, and Lydia flees to Philippi, where she struggles to build a life again. The deep hurt and fear brought on by the betrayal linger and remain a constant battle to Lydia — until she meets the apostle Paul and her life changes.

Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite authors, and I have loved all of her novels before. Bread of Angels might just be my new favorite out of all her novels. Afshar has a way of taking a character from the Bible and creating this beautiful, intriguing, amazing story around that character — a story that will stick with you for a long time. The characters have great depth into them, making it easy to relate to the story. Bread of Angels tells a story first and foremost of betrayal and fear, and how these two can keep a person captive. Yet the Lord can turn even the worst into something purposeful, and this story is a great example of that.

I loved this story about Lydia, a seller of purple. There is so much here about making purple, giving so much more insight into the world in the time of Jesus. On top of that, I loved that the apostle Paul was included and Afshar tied it all together, from the story of Lydia to the heart of Paul for the lost, and the sweet gospel telling about the work of Jesus.

I would recommend Bread of Angels to anyone who loves reading Christian fiction. Tessa Afshar has been one of my favorite authors since the time I read her first novel. She still keeps taking these characters out of the Bible and creating amazing and fascinating stories, which are full of wit, moments of chuckling, great characters, and wisdom about the Lord. This is truly a great read that I would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a book to read.

“…and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:12-15)

Grab a copy of the book here. See my other book reviews here.

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Twenty-Two by Allison Trowbridge


Twenty-Two — Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaning

In Twenty-Two, Allison Trowbridge writes a series of personal letters to Ashley, a young woman searching for a mentoring relationship. These letters cover so many topics and questions that rise in the hearts of young women — from relationships, work, purpose, and fear to wisdom learned from the course of life. All of this is woven together not just by wisdom but a heart that seeks to bring God to every circumstance and season of life.

Twenty-Two is an inspiring read, one that had my maybe more experienced heart say “oh yes” so many times. I found that these letters covered topics and themes that I have been wondering over the course of my life, from searching for identity to facing failure and fear. I loved the heart behind these letters, the wisdom that Trowbridge so clearly tries to impart on the reader but in a personal, “learn from my experiences and mistakes” sort of a way.

Maybe it is because I have already experienced many of these seasons that require making difficult decisions, that I found there were more of those things that stirred my thoughts and heart, rather than spoke right into my circumstances. But that is one of the reasons why I so liked this book — as I believe it would speak to so many who are facing a season of change and the challenges of adulthood. At the same time, there is much wisdom in these pages and the way that Trowbridge writes will have you thinking about these topics for long after reading about them.

I would recommend Twenty-Two for all young women who are about to embark on a new journey in life — like graduating from high school and thinking about college, changing majors in university, trying to find a job after college, or even facing new relationships. Allison Trowbridge writes with wisdom, trying to guide the reader with wisdom while still giving the freedom for them to choose and live — and this, I find, is like true mentorship.

Get yourself a copy here.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. The opinions are all my own.

And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick


And Still She Laughs – Defiant Joy in the Depths of Suffering by Kate Merrick

Kate Merrick faced the challenge of doubting God’s goodness when her 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer and, three years later, went home to be with the Lord. In her book, Kate Merrick tackles the question of how to handle the hard things that God gives to us — and how God’s love for us can be seen in tears of sorrow and joy alike. And Still She Laughs looks at the lives of the resilient, gutsy women of the Bible and finds the surprising joy and deep hope even in the midst of heartache.

“Whether we are aware of it or not, we tie God’s love directly to the tangible presence of what we consider to be good things, but what if his care for us means something else entirely?” (Kate Merrick)

Kate Merrick tackles the hard question of whether God is good — and this is something I am sure we all think at one point or other in our lives. But she reflects on this out of her own experiences, and it means that this comes right from the heart. The conclusion she comes to is that in the midst of the darkness and in the depths of sorrow, God has given us joy and beauty.

In her book, Kate Merrick portrays in an honest way what the death of her daughter did to her heart, the painful and ugly moments that she had to live through — but she concludes that suffering can be our teacher, as the sufferer sees the world through different lenses now. There is beauty born out of suffering, and a different appreciation for the gifts that God gives us.

For other books I have reviewed on the blog, see here.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review program. The opinions expressed here are all my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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No More Faking Fine by Esther Fleece


In No More Faking Fine, Esther Fleece explains the meaning of lamenting and why our souls need these words of lament. Hardships and pain are part of this life. Yet often when we are walking through a hard season, we fake we are fine instead of letting others see our pain and brokenness. No More Faking Fine gives us the permission to come as we are, to voice our hurts, knowing that we will be met by the One who loves us and understands us, right where we are.

I started reading this book while walking through a season of heartbreak, and this message came just at the right time. This book is full of my underlinings, and that is saying a lot. The permission to lament, to come to God with our hurts and brokenness — is one that breathed life into my soul. How we grieve is related to how we heal, and it is important for us to know that we can and should walk through the valley of sorrow when it comes our way. The way Esther Fleece gives us the Scriptures and examples to do this is so helpful. Truly, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone walking through a hard, painful season right now, as this book makes for a great companion in seasons like that. But honestly, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as we go through seasons of hardships and sorrows or then we know someone who is currently in a season like that.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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