Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!
I’m super excited to share today’s Interview with Sarah Monzon. But not only do I get to have Sarah on the blog, I’m sharing my thoughts on her latest novel, The Esther Paradigm! If you haven’t read it, add it to your MUST READ TBR pile now!
About the Book
The Blurb: “Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she’ll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.
As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.
In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?”
Toni: I’m so excited to talk about your newest novel, The Esther Paradigm. I seriously adore this novel. I can’t wait to reread it when I get the extra time. Please tell us what inspired you to write this novel.
Sarah: Oh, this question is always the hardest for me to answer. I never feel like I have a specific “inspiration.” I don’t plot my stories, and often don’t know what will happen, what the theme will be, how the characters will grow, what struggles they’ll have, etc. While writing I am constantly thinking about the story, praying about it. Is that inspiration? *shrugs* I don’t know.
Toni: Sounds like inspiration to me. 🙂 What is the overall message you want readers to take away when they finish this read?
Sarah: 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”
Toni: Yes! That sums this up perfectly. If you could cast Hannah and Karim, which actors would play them?
Sarah: Hmmm…good question. I actually found pictures of models as the inspiration for the characters. Omar Borkan al Gala as Karim and Scarlett Leithold as Hannah. I’m not sure about actors. Any suggestions?
Toni: I was thinking of a young Oded Fehr for Karim and Julianne Hough for Hannah. What are you currently reading?
Sarah: I’m currently in between books. =) I just finished one and have two waiting for me on hold at the library. Which means there will be a trip to the library TODAY. Don’t you just love libraries?
Toni: Yes! I just picked up Melissa Tagg’s All This Time from my local library last week. Who are three writers who have influenced your writing and how?
Sarah: Jennifer Rodewald, Lucy Nel, and Janet Ferguson—my three critique partners. They get my raw words and help me wrestle them into stories worth reading.
Toni: What fantastic critique partners! What is….
Your favorite season?
Toni: Definitely a pretty season. Favorite fall beverage?
Sarah: Apple cider
Toni: Yum! Favorite holiday?
Toni: Tis the reason! Favorite Scripture?
Sarah: Romans 5:8 “But Christ demonstrates his own love for us in this way: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Toni: Perfect choice! Before you go, can you tell us what can readers expect from you next?
Sarah: I’m working on a fun novella that will be in an anthology with 6 other amazing authors then shortly after that I’m hoping to have the next book in the Carrington Family series out.
Toni: Yay! More books! Readers, do you have any questions for Sarah?
The Esther Paradigm is my favorite Sarah Monzon novel. Now, I’m not surprised because each book of hers I read is better than the last.
But this book….
Oh. My. Stars! It’s full of such sweet romance that I’m sure I had a sappy grin on my face as if I was the one falling in love.
Karim is one of the most fantastic heroes I’ve ever read. His heart for Hannah is heartwarming. His heart for his tribe makes him a great leader. And the whispers of Jesus’ call kept me turning the pages. I seriously want a sequel (*hint, hint).
And Hannah. Hannah reminded me of the kid sister you want to take under your wing and help them grow in confidence. The issues she has to shed are one we’ve all probably experienced a time or two. That’s why I had to share MF Literary Works’ meme. It sums up Hannah’s growth perfectly and the beauty of this story all in one quote.
And the diversity! If you know anything about me, you know how much I love diversity. This book has it in spades and handles it with the grace of God that He places in each one of us. It’s stunning.
Y’all I can’t go on about this novel. All I know is everyone needs to read this. I’m not surprised it was a RT Top Pick and I won’t be surprised if it racks up tons of awards. I’m putting it in the same category of goodness as The Lady and the Lionheart.
*I received a free copy from the publisher. This review is my own honest opinion.
About the Author
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.