If you enjoy reading Biblical fiction that is rich in detail and characters you will enjoy Tessa Afshar’s Jewel of the Nile. 
Chariline, our heroine is half Cushite, half Roman. We often think of Biblical history as only taking place in the Mediterranean, Middle East region. But their world was  larger.  It is refreshing to see someone who doesn’t fit the usual character.  Knowing her entire life that her father was Cushite, Chariline has been nearly ostracized by her extended Roman family, forbidden to talk or ask questions about her parents, being told that they are both dead.

Finding out that her father may still be alive sets her on a journey of discovery. Both for her father and ultimately within herself.  Intrigue abounds as those secrets were supposed to remain buried.

I thought Chariline was refreshing. Mid 20’s independent, gifted with her mother’s talent. Self taught.  The main hero in the story is Theo. Without too many spoilers I can think of more than one hero.  I have discovered that this isn’t the first novel of Tessa Afshar that Theo as appeared in.  But this is very much a stand alone novel, though characters from other novels make appearances. It only wets my appetite for going back and reading the previous books.

Theo is a soap merchant and helps Chariline find the answers she seeks.

I love Tessa’s attention to research and detail.  I also love how her characters have flaws just like the rest of us. She shows the human struggle to always have Faith when life gets hard.