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.
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Two people. Two cultures. Two hearts. The Esther Paradigm presents a touching love story between two very different people committing to share love and a life together despite the seemingly unsurmountable odds against them. Using poetic language that resurrects the beauty and grace of the Bedouin people, Monzon provides readers with a glimpse into the culturally rich and mysterious traditions of Karim’s clan’s nomadic way of life. The connection between Hannah and Karim, in my opinion, stretched beyond friendship and teased the fringes of love from the very beginning. Nevertheless, the reader is privy to the journey their relationship takes from friendship, to a marriage commitment, to an undeniable joining of two hearts very deeply in love. And let me just say more was heating up in the story than just the desert sand- from Karim’s “lesson” in the cave, to their wedding night, to their unsatiated desire for one another upon Karim’s return from the hospital- whew!
This was not how I’d thought I would die.
Not that I sat around imagining my death. I’m not that morbid. But never in my wildest dreams had I imagined this.
Along the horizon, racing toward me with frightening speed, a billowing brown wall licked the earth’s surface and spit it out again—a ferocious scream that caused my heart to stutter in my chest. Six years away and this was how my beloved desert welcomed me home.
Wind whipped my long, loose dress around my legs and tugged at the few strands of hair not safely tucked in a ponytail under my hijab. I’d always been thankful the Bedouin clan my parents ministered to as missionaries didn’t adhere to the more concealing Muslim headwear, such as aniqab or burqa. I had to admit, though, that having more material to cover my nose and mouth would be helpful against the dust storm about to consume me. With quick motions, I reached around my head and unwrapped the bottom of my hijab, rewrapping it around my nose and mouth. A bit of water or petroleum jelly would work even better to save my nose and lungs from the dry desert sand, but some protection was better than none.
Tiny grains of sand picked up by the wind pelted my body like fastballs pitched by major league baseball players. I hunched over, lowering my frame as close to the ground as I could. Never knew if the wind had picked up more than just the earth’s surface. An abandoned tire rim or something else could decapitate a person when chucked at top speeds. It would be just like that temperamental mistress to hurl an object absently left on the wayside.
The storm was on me now.
My lungs constricted to rid themselves of the tiny particles I’d breathed in, coughing hot breath into the material around my mouth. My eyes watered with the force of the wind, and I blinked rapidly to try and rid the granules scratching my irises.
Lifting my backpack, I shielded my face and eyes, wishing I hadn’t let the driver drop me off so far from where the clan currently had their tents pitched. The inside of a twenty-year-old Jeep would have served as a wonderful bunker against this onslaught. Now I had no protection.
In the thick of it, I squinted through the brown haze, looking for something to hunker under on the leeward side. The rise of a nearby dune lied of its ability to protect. Fortunately, I understood the reality of the phrase “shifting sands.” Had no desire to change my death sentence from asphyxiation due to sand in my lungs to being buried alive when the wind deposited the dune right on top of my head.
A camel’s bray rent through the cacophony of the storm. My heart restarted. If ever there was an animal built to survive the temper of the desert, it was the camel. I pushed my legs forward, wishing I wore pants rather than my dress, which wrapped itself around my calves and threatened to topple me. If I could hear the camel’s call, perhaps its owner could hear mine. I lifted my chin and took in a lungful of air before pulling down the covering from my lips.
“Musaeada!” I yelled for help in Arabic. “Musaeada!”
The camel answered, and I took a few more stumbling steps toward the sound. The sand made it difficult to do anything—walk, see, breathe. If I didn’t find a place to wait out the storm soon, I wouldn’t survive it.
Sarah 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.
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1. When you are not writing, what other “hats” do you wear?
I am the happy (exhausted) mother of two, Elijah (6) and Arianna (3) and the wife of the most wonderful Navy chaplain in the military (not biased at all).
2. What does your writing process look like?
I never really know how to answer this question because I don’t feel like I have much of a process. It starts with a small idea that germinates, takes root, and won’t go away until I write down the story the characters tell me. Usually I may have a vague idea of where the story is going to go, but I’m often surprised by it myself. Mostly, I just sit down and write and let the story come out organically. Is that a process?
3. What inspired the idea for The Esther Paradigm?
Is it okay to say I didn’t really have a direct inspiration? I’m not even sure where the idea came from except from God. One day the idea for a modern day story inspired by Esther entered my head and the need to write it was so strong, the character’s voices so loud, that I had to write it then even though I was in the middle of writing another series. This story…it was more like it wrote me than the other way around. Like I was but a tool to get it down, it flowed so freely. No other story has been like that before.
4. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Esther Paradigm?
Love. I want readers to take away love. Love for those who are different, whether they believe differently, live differently, or look differently. I want 1 Corinthians 16:14 to take root in everyone’s hearts. “Let all that you do be done in love.”
5. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
Shhh…It’s a super secret project at this point, but I CAN tell you it’s also a super fun novella story that will be in a collection with some super awesome authors. You can expect some info to start leaking about the project come the new year.
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Reviewers: Mindy Houng
Hello, and welcome to my book blog! My name is Crystal Smith. Some say I have a reading addiction... read more
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