Land of Silence is biblical fiction–a reimagining of what life must have been like for one young Jewish girl. Elianna was still young when her life was destroyed. She was to care for her younger brother, but her tending a lost sheep when the boy was in trouble with a bee cost him his life, her father’s love and her happiness.
She accepted the blame and tried to go on. She was betrothed to Ethan but asked him to wait until they’d had a year to mourn. Her father was in the fabric business; weaving cloth from flax and from wool, dying the cloth, and then selling the finished product to their customers, both Jewish and Roman.
On the way with her father to pay their taxes, their little company is attacked by bandits and Elianna assaulted by one of the thieves. A Roman contingent comes by in just the nick of time and saves her from a dire fate. The centurion in charge of the cohort is intrigued by Elianna, her strength and beauty. She spurns his attention, which fazes him not a bit.
Elianna works her way into working for her father in the business, designing some decorations which would make their goods more saleable. Her father, still in deep mourning for his son, has made a bad decision about the purchase of some cotton. Her designs will save the day. Then her father is gravely injured and Elianna must, in secret, take over the business. Ethan, her betrothed, and Calvus, the centurion, are in and out of her life at the most opportune and inopportune times.
Will she be able to succeed in keeping the business running while her father is incapacitated? What happens when and if he dies? How will she keep stalling Ethan on their marriage? Will she be able to keep Calvus from showing her unwanted affection?
Land of Silence gives an excellent picture of what life in Jerusalem must have been like during the time of Christ. Men were all important and women were relegated to keeping house. A women with a head for business was an oddity and would be shunned if the truth were known. You will love Elianna and her stubbornness, her passion for the business, her love for Ethan, her desire for love from her father. She became real for me as did the culture and her surroundings. I wanted her to experience love and success and happiness. Did she? Read Land of Silence to find out her fate and what happened when she met Jesus face to face. Five stars.
Tessa Afshar has written several works of biblical fiction. She was voted “New Author of the Year” in 2010 by Family Fiction for her first book. She was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award for her second book, and her third novel won a Christy Award in 2014. She has an MDiv from Yale University and has worked full time in ministry ever since. Her website is www.tessafshar.com.