Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.
What an excellent book this is! This imaginative retelling of the story of the Biblical Lydia, plunks the reader right back into the first century Roman ruled world. The reader follows the main character throughout her life right up to and including the familiar Biblical account. Historically accurate in minutest detail (except those noted by the author herself), this book takes the reader on a journey back in time that is both intriguing and satisfying. The reader doesn't even need to be sympathetic with things religious or spiritual to identify with the heroine or enjoy this tale.
In the book, Bread of Angels, Tessa Afshar leads the reader into an era that placed stringent limits on what a woman could learn and do. This was a time which relegated women to providing offspring, primarily male heirs, and otherwise saw them as useless burdens. Thus Lydia finds her dreams severely limited, but in Macedonia she finds a flicker of hope. An extraordinary woman, Lydia not only establishes her own business as a seller of purple dyes, but her compassionate heart helps others less fortunate than herself, although not without facing challenges to be overcome. Among them is a pathological character who attempts to make her life hell on earth. Needless to say, she rises to the challenge. Of course we all love a book that ends well and this one does that admirably. All things considered, Bread of Angels, is an impressive read. Loved it!