I have waited a long time for someone to tell this story in a novel and I am thrilled that Tessa Afshar took up the challenge to write it. Every time I read this unnamed woman's story in the Bible, I relate to it so well. This woman's illness was my life for several years (not the eleven she suffered, but still too long for anyone to have to go through), and I could relate so well to her feelings of uncleanness. I didn't visit as many doctors, nor did I chase as many remedies as she did; my only foray into the medical world suggested surgery and that ended it for me. But enough about me, and more about the book.
First off, Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a length of the finest fabric to make garments.
Elianna was the daughter of a weaver/seller of linen and wool cloth. She loved the business and she loved learning about the process of making and selling fine fabrics. Her mother didn't like it that she spent so much time in the workshop and invented ways to occupy Elianna's time, including taking care of her younger brother. This particular day, taking care of her younger brother turned traumatic when a bee sting became fatal. From that time on, Elianna worked so much harder to obtain her father's favor, without any success.
Elianna is betrothed to Ethan, but feels that she's not up to the challenge of being his bride. She puts him off for a year and then tries to find a way out of the marriage. When a Roman soldier forces his attentions on Elianna, she tells Ethan she welcomed the soldier's affections, forcing Ethan to break their betrothal contract. After the death of her father and the marriage of her sister, Elianna and her mother move to Tiberius to be closer to her sister and her husband. It is there that Elianna begins to be plagued unending bleeding and unending uncleanness, and her life turns upside down again.
Reading the story in the Bible will give you all the spoilers you need, but Tessa has done a masterful job in creating a readable novel with a compelling plotline that keeps the reader involved from the first word to the very last page. She includes characters from other parts of the Bible and it makes me wonder if she is going to use them in a later novel, especially Lydia.
My thanks to Tyndale House for allowing me to read and review this book.