Book Journeys – Arabia

 

Arabia…

What do you think of?

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Before reading The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon, I could only pull images from movies I’d seen (Hildago being one of my favorites).  Sarah’s beautiful novel reintroduces me to a world and culture quite different than my own, so let’s learn a little more about this landscape, beautiful in its own way.

Sarah used Arabia as her canvas for painting her beautiful story about Karim and Hannah, two people from two cultures and faiths, who allow love to, not only save Karim’s people, but also bind their two hearts together.

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Arabia is a peninsula which is framed in by the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So…three sides of it meet water, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s like Hawaii. Arabia is known for it’s dry, dessert climate, but usually boasts a pleasant spring and autumn (my two favorite seasons). Mountain ranges run throughout it with an elevation as high as 9000 feet in some places. The combination of the rugged terrain and climate make for a perfect setting for the nomadic life Sarah’s describes.

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Photo by Adria Berrocal Forcada on Unsplash

In so many of the photos, the sands appear almost like ocean waves on a vast golden horizon. The wind shifts the sands, changing the scenery with a sky that modulates from amethyst mountains, copper skies, jagged peaks, golden sands, and aqua seas. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Though, from what I understand, it’s not for the faint of heart or the lover-of-cold-weather or rain 😉

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Sarah recreates this unpredictable and vast landscape for us through her novel The Esther Paradigm. The danger, beauty, heat, and nomadic life are portrayed to the point where I could almost feel the wind whipping around the tents. You can read my full review HERE.

Have you ever watched a movie that featured Arabia? What would you like to see if you could go to such a place?

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Sometimes writers can highlight truth through the avenue of story that others cannot. Sarah Monzon accomplishes this in her beautiful novel, The Esther Paradigm. Here’s a little about the story:

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Genre:  Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

 

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?

 

Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance. 

Interesting premise, right?

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And impressive story concept – to step into two worlds that appear very different and show how there are many things that are the same, one being the heart’s search for love.

Monzon creates a captivating tale by painting an almost fairy tale like world of colorful tents blowing in a heated wind, sandstorms, forbidden romance; it even has a prince 😊 (okay, he’s a sheikh, but you get my point 😉) Add a commoner to win his heart (who isn’t really that common, by the way) and you have a beautiful tale that resembles the ancient Biblical story of Esther.

Hannah cares deeply for the Gospel and for the people in the Bedouin community she’d grown up in as a child. Her missionary parents, and her love for Jesus, have nurtured a beautiful compassion in her “adopted” people. Karim is the Muslim leader of the community, determined to bring honor to his father’s memory and Allah, and he includes Hannah’s family in that community.

When a disease attacks their livelihood and Hannah’s family is blamed for the blight (due to their Christian faith), Karim’s only way of protecting her in his own strength, is to marry her.

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Designed by Marylin Furumasu

The beauty of their friendship-turned-romance, Hannah’s innocence and trust, and Karim’s protectiveness is sweet. Karim is strong, serious, and bound by a generations’-old duty and Hannah…well, she brings color into his life. Karim doesn’t see it as her faith at first, but as the story moves forward, and as dangers threaten to destroy the tenderness of their newfound love, Hannah’s faith is tried, Karim’s authority is challenged, and their lives are put to the test.

Monzon’s brave pen-dip into the Muslim-Christian dynamics results in a beautiful story of romance, not only of two human hearts, but also the romance of a loving Father for His people. The Esther Paradigm is a stand-off-the-bookshelf kind of story that you’ll want to discover.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

About the Author

Sarah Monzon.jpgSarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.