Bread of Angels

Written by Tessa Afshar
Review by J. Lynn Else

Lydia is the daughter of a well-established cloth dyer whose purple is unmatched. When her father is falsely accused of theft, and his business is swept up by a wealthy Roman citizen, Lydia flees to Philippi with her father’s secret formulas. Through an old acquaintance of her father’s and her own fierce determination, Lydia is able to become a well-known merchant. By chance, Lydia meets the apostle Paul, who teaches her about Jesus. Moved by his words, she becomes baptized. But when Lydia’s past comes knocking at her door, will she be able to stand firm in her new-found faith, or will she allow her fears to destroy all she’s worked for?

While there are some lovely faith-filled dialogues, Afshar’s messages are sometimes laid out too clearly, which can come across as preachy. However, Afshar masterfully builds both character and plot. The fears and insecurities of the main characters are genuine and relatable. Additionally, the time period and places are captured skillfully. Basing her novel on the Biblical story of Lydia during Paul’s second missionary journey, Afshar teases out a rich and emotional story from only a couple mentions of Lydia in Acts 16. A very enjoyable story.