“BREAD OF ANGELS” a Must-read for Fans of Biblical Fiction

BREAD OF ANGELS by Tessa Afshar [Tyndale House Publishers]

By Tessa Afshar
[Tyndale House Publishers]

Lydia, the dealer of purple cloth, is mentioned once in a two-verse passage of the sixteenth chapter of Acts, where Paul and his companions met her and other women worshipping near a river outside the city of Philippi. In BREAD OF ANGELS, award-winning author, Tessa Afshar took those two verses and wove a compelling story about Lydia rich with cultural and historic detail and a powerful message.

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 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, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life. 

In BREAD OF ANGELS, through depiction of the cities, architecture, commerce, politics, along with all the details involved in everyday life, Tessa Afshar makes the first century live.  Beyond cultural historic detail, she has a masterful command of language, weaving phrases that are colorful and evocative. In describing Lydia’s reaction to the handsome Jason, she wrote, “It was as if he were lit from within, bright and glorious like new gold.” When Lydia is forced to make a difficult decision, Afshar wrote, “The decision pricked at her like a sharp splinter caught under the skin.” In another scene, she describes Lydia’s hesitant response as, “A trickle of the ice in her heart seeped into her voice.”

Beyond historic details and descriptive language, BREAD OF ANGELS is a powerful story of perseverance; of endurance despite treachery and overwhelming odds; and of ultimately learning to forgive, to trust and to love.

Releasing to retail on June 6, 2017, BREAD OF ANGELS is a must read for fans of biblical fiction.