Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

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Title: Land of Silence

Author: Tessa Afshar

Published By: Tyndale House Publishers (2016)

Synopsis: Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review:

Okay, so, I LOVE Biblical fiction. So grudgingly, by default, I liked at least some of this book. It stayed with me for a while after I finished—but then again, it’s Biblical fiction, which fascinates me, so that alone pretty much guarantees it’ll stick with me for a while. However, on a practical level, I didn’t like this book at all.

The book felt weak. I really like the concept of taking a small story in the Bible like this one and turning it into a novel, but with so little details, it’s hard to make it really flow together, and Land of Silence felt stilted and unnatural. I didn’t really like any of the characters except for Ethan, and it seriously bugged me when Elianna turned him down time and time again for virtually no reason. Sure, there were reasons given in the book, but none felt real or natural. She loves him, but she doesn’t want to marry him? But she really loves him and wants nothing more than to marry him? But she won’t? I’m just not buying it.

To me, it seemed like a lot wasn’t true to the setting, either—the names felt too modern and I don’t think people in Biblical times were telling others to “Shut up.” That’s a modern phrase. It felt more like a modern story altered to fit a Biblical setting. 

Decimus was too perfectly evil, not real at all, and too predictable. There was too much skimmed over in the book; weeks and months pass, important events happen, and there’s no details. I get that the author has to hurry the story along to the part where Elianna has been bleeding for 12 years, but if you can’t write anything about those twelve years at all, maybe you should just start the story after the twelve years. Also, to just skim those 12 years and all the important happenings isn’t really that interesting to read; on the flip side, it feels anticlimactic and disappointing. We finally got sorta attached to these characters, and if you’re gonna make us miss 12 years of important events with them, it’s gotta be done right—and in the case of Land of Silence it just wasn’t done right at all. 

 Also. When you have two characters that you want to end up together, but one of them is married, it is generally not good literary art to kill off the spouse so that they can be together. It’s very weak writing. Now in certain stories this can be done, but it’s gotta be the right story and you’ve got to do it well. It was not done well in the case of Land of Silence.

I also didn’t like the sudden switch in Biblical cultures to one during Jesus’ time. We had no warning to the change in tone of the story, it just suddenly happened. It was cool to read about to some extent, but it felt out of place compared to the rest of the story. It felt so out of place! The story would have been better off just focusing on her after the 12 years, or just not going there at all. Consequently, Land of Silence felt stilted, chunky, and unnatural.

Negative Content/Notes:

There were some scenes likely meant to be a more “adult” scenes, but it never felt that way, and there nothing inappropriate.

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Not recommended.

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