Friday, March 8, 2024

Fascinating Biblical Fiction -- The Peasant King

I recently participated in a "Blind Date with a Book" activity at my local library which opened a door to a new-to-me author and a relatively new-to-me genre in Christian Fiction. The book I "dated" was Peasant King, by Tessa Afshar, and it was a fantastic encounter! I have to admit that it took me just a minute to get into it because it was pretty different from what I usually read. But after that little bit, I got caught up in the story and really enjoyed it! 

This is a story of Biblical fiction, set in the ancient world of the Persian Empire. Jemmah and other family and friends are involved in dangerous scenarios as they set out to rescue her mother, who has been kidnapped by the enemy, and then working their way back home to Persia. They find themselves struggling through those dangers alongside Asher, who turns out to be a “secret prince” with connections to the enemy Median king. As they fight one kind of battle after another, Jemmah and Asher find themselves sharing their deepest secrets with each other. Those experiences develop into an unexpected love and an understanding of how God is using them as small pieces in a great work He has promised for His people.

I really enjoyed the developing story of Asher’s and Jemmah’s growth in dealing with their own internal demons and how that made for a perfect, unrushed story of strength and love for both of them. The author’s use of verses of scripture at the beginning of each chapter was a meaningful way of weaving these individuals’ lives into God’s grand plan for His people. 

I highly recommend this book to readers who are interested in seeing the intersection of ancient history and Biblical accounts, as well as anyone who enjoys great inspirational stories. I plan to meet up with more of this author's work in the future.

About the Book

Jemmah has always thought of herself as perfectly ordinary . . . until she faces extraordinary circumstances.

When her mother, the Persian king’s famous senior scribe, is kidnapped, Jemmah and her sister must sneak undetected into enemy territory to rescue her. But infiltrating their adversary’s lands proves easier than escaping them. Fleeing through dangerous mountain passes, their survival depends on the skills of a stranger they free from prison: a mysterious prince named Asher.

Asher is not who the world believes he is. Despite his royal blood, he has had to climb his way out of poverty to forge success from nothing. A manufacturer of some of the best weaponry in the East, Asher has only one goal: to destroy his father. But following his escape from prison, Asher is irresistibly drawn to Jemmah, unaware that she guards her own secret.

Jemmah must convince Asher to give up everything he has worked for, all for the sake of a higher purpose he’s not sure he believes in. The fate of the Persian empire—and possibly the Judean people—hang in the balance and in the persuasive power of one ordinary woman.

About the Author

TESSA AFSHAR’s books have been on Publishers Weekly, CBA, and ECPA bestseller lists and have been translated into many languages. Her Bible study, The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings, won the ECPA Christian Book of the Year in the Bible Study category. Tessa’s novels have been the recipient of the ECPA’s Bronze Milestone, Christy, and INSPY Awards. She holds a master of divinity from Yale, where she was elected to serve as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for one year. Tessa is a devoted wife, a mediocre gardener, and an enthusiastic cook of biblical recipes. Learn more at

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