Monday, May 14, 2018

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 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 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 16:11-15 (NKJV)

Purple.  The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men.  One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye.  Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her own business on her own.  Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants.  But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert.  Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.
-Book Description, Tyndale House Publishers

I love the account of Lydia found in Acts 16.  I have read it many times.  So when I found out that Tessa Afshar was writing a story about her, I was so excited! 

She did such an excellent job of weaving all the Biblical details together.  Her fictional portions were very plausible, including how Lydia came from Thyatira to Philippi.  Her characterization of Paul was very believable as well. 
I have read the novel two times now, and I believe I enjoyed it more my second time around.  The first time I was so eager to get through the story, that  I don't think I enjoyed all the details.  This time I picked up on so many things I missed the first time. 
Tessa presents the Gospel in a very simple, loving way, the way I think that God meant it to be presented to people.  It was so inviting.  You travel along with Lydia throughout her story, and when her heart opens to the good news Paul shares, I could feel my heart opening anew.  You will be blessed, encouraged, and refreshed as you read Bread of Angels, the story of Lydia, seller of purple.

To learn more about the author, you can visit her at
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