"Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace." (Ruth 2:2 KJV)
In the Field of Grace, by Tessa Afshar, is a fictional retelling of the story-before-the-story of Ruth and Boaz in the Bible.
I recently read Tessa Afshars, Land of Silence, which tells a fictional account of the Biblical woman who, in faith, touched the hem of Jesuss garment. I was so enamored by Ms. Afshars writing, that I sought out another of her books. In the Field of Grace, is another account of a Biblical woman, Ruth, and tells a fictional account of what took place prior to the Bible story account we all know and love.
As I stated in my previous review, Ms. Afshars writing style is wonderful, moving the story forward elegantly and with purpose. I really enjoyed delving into the (fictional) lives of Ruth and Boaz. Through lifes hardships and sufferings, we all (hopefully) learn that those are the times we are drawn closest to God, and Ruth and Boaz are no exception.
Let go, and let God and We are all part of Gods plan are the basic themes in this novel. I experienced so many emotions while reading this love story and learning about the time long ago that this story took placethe customs, beliefs, etc.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical retellings. Although the novel is a work of fiction, it doesnt contradict the Bible, or get into muddy waters, but gives the people in the Bible a depth and realness in a respectful and honorable way.
Publisher: River North
First Lines (prologue): Death squatted at Boazs door, waiting like a vulture, bidding its time. He could sense its presenceinexorable, hungry, patient.
Beautifully written!! Although I already knew this story, Tessa's writing told the story in such a beautiful way it felt as if I read the Book of Ruth for the first time. I felt as if I were right there experiencing it with the characters. Simply lovely! I would read anything she writes. She is very talented.
What I Liked...
The feelings that she conveys of each character as their story is being told was so perfect. Although these emotions aren't conveyed in the bible's telling, but the up and down emotions Tessa describes for each character is so genuine. I went back and reread the Book of Ruth after finishing this novel and I felt more connected to it. I KNOW that this is a work of fiction and Tessa's imagination but she made these biblical heroes come alive in a way I have never thought of.
In The Field of Grace is a work of fiction and should never replace the bible's version. However I thoroughly enjoyed this book that I can best describe it as simple lovely. I recommend reading the Book of Ruth in bible FIRST before reading this novel, it will help you appreciate both much more.
The cover is absolutely stunning and a perfect fit.
This is a must have book!
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The opinion of this book is my own and I was not paid or compensated for my review.
Tessa Afshar is probably my all-time favorite Biblical fiction author. Mainly because she doesnt avoid depicting biblical characters and culture honestly. This can be uncomfortable for some of us, especially if you struggle with biblical societys attitudes toward women, or the harsh realities that permeated their lives. She doesnt pull any punches in these areas and her portrayals of women and the ancient societies they lived in are stronger for it. Tessa Afshar reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Francine Rivers. In her Lineage of Grace series, Rivers tells the stories of the women in the lineage of Christ and highlights the theme of redemption that flows through these Old Testament stories. (Great series, I highly recommend it!)Tessa Afshar does this as well, or maybe even better than Francine Rivers. I know thats high praise, but she deserves it. It can be hard to give readers a fresh take on well-known biblical characters, but Tessa Afshar does this spectacularly with Ruth in In the Field of Grace.
I confess I have always loved the biblical story of Ruth. I love the whole poor girl rich guy theme of the story. Tessa Afshars In the Field of Grace brings the story to life and fills in so many blanks in the biblical account that readers will think she was there to see them.
Dirt poor and without hope in her home country, the widowed Ruth chooses to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, to the land of Naomis birth. Naomi does everything she can to discourage Ruth but relents after Ruth gives her, Dont ask me to leave you! speech. Difficulties after hardship after danger dog their steps. They arrive in Bethlehem to a house that has been trashed by animals and a roof that gives glimpses of the sky above through the many holes that have developed in it. In spite of everything, Ruth does what she does best: persevere and trust the Lord. She learned early in her marriage to Naomis son, Mahlon, that the gods of the Moabites were ineffective and that the God of Israel was worthy of her trust.
Ruth takes the responsibility of providing for her little family. She chooses a field to glean in where the workers seem happy and comes under the watchful eye of the fields owner, Boaz. Ruth captures his interest and a friendship develops. When they fall in love, neither can believe that the other could possibly be interested.
Why was Ruth willing to leave the country of her birth and walk into the unknown with Naomi? What was it about Ruth that drew Boaz to her in the first place? How did this hated Moabite woman become one of the most loved in all of Judah?
I love how the biblical story peeks through in this book. Its almost like the Bible is the Readers Digest Condensed version and In the Field of Grace is the unabridged version. It fills in and explains parts of the story that were always left to the imagination.
This is a fairly quick read but well worth the time. Now I need to read "A Pearl In the Desert", Rahab's story. This one was fantastic!
Loved the use of God's Word applied throughout, speaking to my heart, mind and soul right where I am today - God is so good! Afshar's creative endings brought huge delight. I've read through the actual Book of Ruth over and over since with fresh insights. Thank you Tessa!