As a young girl in Jerusalem, Elianna leads a carefree life surrounded by her loving family until her only brother dies while under her care. Despite her hard work and obvious talent over the following years, Elianna can never seem to earn forgiveness from her father, or herself. When tragedies continue to strike her family, Elianna's inner struggle to earn righteousness causes her to push away everyone who loves her. When it seems as if her heart can take no more, a severe bleeding illness strikes her body, and for 12 years Elianna's ritual uncleanliness keeps her physically separated from those she loves. No physician can cure her, and she finally loses hope. When she hears of a prophet whose very touch can heal, will Elianna find the courage to allow Him to cure both her body and soul?
In Land of Silence, Tessa Afshar retells the Biblical tale of the woman with the issue of blood found in the synoptic gospels. Full of fascinating historical detail, Afshar does a fantastic job taking her readers on a journey to the time of Christ. Likewise, her characters are complex, believable, and well-developed. Elianna's personal path to forgiveness is equal parts heart-wrenching and redemptive. Knowing the story's basic outline-- long-term illness followed by faith and healing-- did not diminish its emotional impact.
That said, it was virtually impossible to take pleasure in any of Elianna's joys or successes early in the novel knowing the heartache that surely awaited her. Afshar does a commendable job showing just how isolating this woman's sickness would have been, given her Jewish heritage. The reader becomes so invested in her story, that experiencing Elianna's inner redemption after hearing Jesus's words was even more satisfying than her physical healing.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.