This was my first book by Tessa Afshar, but it definitely won’t be my last. “Bread of Angels” is a stunning work of Christian biblical fiction, providing a rich backstory for Lydia, a seller of purple cloth who is mentioned in Acts 16. She is remarkable not only for her conversion to Christianity and for her hospitality, but also for being an unmarried yet successful businesswoman. At the tale’s opening she is a teenage girl working with her father to create the purple dye that he has perfected, but storm clouds soon appear on the horizon, and Lydia’s life is forever altered.

Although she perseveres, fear continually dogs Lydia throughout her life, along with a sense of guilt and shame at the secrets she keeps. Her story is one of a gentle, industrious life, and yet her heart cannot find true peace. One day, however, she meets some visitors to Philippi, and as her story coalesces with those of the apostles, she realizes—in more ways than one—what she has been missing.

“Bread of Angels” quickly drew me into Lydia’s story, and her sometimes harrowing experiences lent a touch of suspense to the narrative that made this book a difficult one to put down. Each chapter begins with an epigraph, a quotation from Scripture, which serves as a chapter title of sorts and which correlates to the action in the novel while also further grounding the work theologically. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in women of the Bible and in Christian fiction in general.