of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Moonglotexas5 Stars Out Of 5Exquisite writing, don't miss this one!August 25, 2019MoonglotexasQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"The sun was the same, but that was all. Blindingly hot, it hung low on the horizon as if dangled there by an invisible string." - Opening lines of Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens
A brilliant allegory of the book of Ruth, Shadow among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens captures the reader from its opening lines with vivid and emotive writing. Knowing the narrative, I didn't anticipate the suspense created, it is a page-turner! Set in the 1880s, shortly after the revolt in India to British rule, the historical landscape is perfect for unpacking much of the trauma and healing the four short chapters in the Bible leave out whilst creating an amazing parallel.
My heart broke for Nell and Rena as they return to England in mourning for their husbands and penniless. Mocked and belittled for being different, Rena suppresses her pride as she asks for charity for the first time in her life. Seeing her suffering, Lord Barric reaches out in compassion offering food and begins a sequence of events that soon neither can stop from unfurling.
The writing is exquisite, so carefully constructed as to create a beautiful picture of happenings. The Indian perspective livens up the grey English landscape bringing vibrancy and intrigue. Rena wrestles with settling into England and understanding Christianity and her journey of coming to know God is a favourite element for me.
The ending is wonderful but I was sad it arrived and paged back hoping there was more, I have become so attached to each of these characters! I want to know what happens for all the others in the small town too! It's highly recommended and five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale!
Debbie C.4 Stars Out Of 5A nice, clean read.May 30, 2019Debbie C.Quality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Rena Hawley and her mother-in-law leave India after both of their husbands die, leaving them destitute widows. Rena, being Indian, begins to be ridiculed by the towns people of Abbotsville because of her race and because she married a British officer during the Great Rebellion of 1857. Completely broke and denied assistance from her mother-in-law's family, the two widows are forced to accept shelter in a brothel closet and to scrounge for scraps to survive.
Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment by allowing Rena to harvest the remaining wheat left on the ground after his workers harvest the stalks. As he keeps an eye on her to be sure the wheat is all she takes, he grows more and more interested in her.
When Lord Barric sees where these widows are staying, he offers them a cottage behind his steward's house on his own property, free. Rena is called Lord Barric's whore because of this and Rena begins to wonder if accepting his charity is wise.
This book is the first one I have read by this new-to-me author and while I find her very talented, I did have some issues with the story. I felt Lord Barric to be a bit on the mean side, but I guess most would call him stern as described in the book's blurb. One minute he was kind and compassionate and the next he was being mean and hurtful to Rena. Still I liked the book and am interested in reading Naomi Stephens's next novel.
SusanS5 Stars Out Of 5CaptivatingMay 17, 2019SusanSQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a fictional account of Rena, an Indian woman who married a British officer during the Great Rebellion. After her husband dies, she travels with his mother back to England, leaving her family and home land. In her heart, she is determined to take care of her mother-in-law with every ounce she possesses and indeed it takes every ounce to succeed. The women suffer poverty and hunger as they struggle to survive.
This book is brilliant. Naomi Stephens has captured the essence of Ruth and Boaz from the Bible through the story of Rena. The story is fictional of course, but I understood what Ruth from the Word of God went through so much better after reading Shadow Among Sheaves. The scorn, indignity and sacrifice Rena endured fairly leapt off the page. I would give six starts if it were possible.
I highly recommend this book. I will be looking for more books by this author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
FayeAge: 18-24Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5New Re-tellingMay 14, 2019FayeAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4India born widow, Rena Hawley returns with her also widowed mother-in-law to the homeland of her late husband. In England she is met with disdain, and shamed for her exotic heritage. Rena works hard to help provide for herself and Nella, but the only productive work she can find is to glean in Lord Barric's field picking up what is left behind by the harvesters.
Lord Jack Barric is intrigued by the beautiful woman who has come to glean in his fields, he allows her to stay and even arranges a place for her and her mother-in-law to live. But as the townspeople begin to chatter and spread malicious gossip about him and his relationship to Rena, things become strained and choices must be made.
A Victorian re-telling of Ruth, Shadow Among Sheaves is a fresh new take on the story we all know so well. It made me admire Rena's bravery to travel to an unknown land and people, leaving everything familiar behind.
Barric is honorable to a fault, constantly thinking about his reputation while also juggling his duty to do what is right. I liked how the characters were all flawed and imperfect, yet were not without redeeming qualities, which brought a realness to them that was refreshing.
In some ways it was a slower read, and maybe it just felt that way because I did have a pretty good inkling on how it would likely end up. I also thought that there was a lot of justifying and overthinking going on inside the heads of Barric and Rena which had me skimming here and there. But I did really like how the author transposed the story into the late 1850's of Great Britain, with the culture clash of Rena's Indian upbringing, I could tell that the author had done her research with this genius re-telling.
Overall, a promising read, good tension and that paints a picture of the societal challenges that a woman such as Rena would have faced in Britain in the mid-1800's. Strong themes of faith, family, and trust, the whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking what a great movie it would make. A wonderful new way of looking at Ruth and Boaz, set during Queen Victoria's reign.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Deana4 Stars Out Of 5Bringing in the SheavesMay 12, 2019DeanaQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book has been a joy to read. The author has taken a story from the bible and retold it in a way that brings readers right into the scenes with ease. I felt like I was there as the story unfolded. My heart broke for Nell and Rena as they found themselves penniless and no where to live. The deep compassion Rena has for her mother-in-law is compelling. The depths that Rena will go to in order to keep Nell safe and well is what I would call unconditional love.
Rena and Nell both are grieving a loss but must find a way to survive when there is no one willing to help them. I can't imagine how hard it was for Rena to be called such horrible names by people and still honor her promise to her mother-in-law. I really admired Rena's strength and integrity and she found ways to provide for Nell. The time period was quite fascinating to read about and I loved the British theme in the story.
It is easy to see Rena out in the fields as she collected the loose grains left behind by workers. She never complained about how hard it was to be in the field all day as the hot sun cast heat across her body. When we are introduced to Lord Barric I was immediately drawn to his compassion and humbleness. He was a character that gave off quiet strength and a heart that was pure. Being of British descant Barric is enthralled by the young woman from India. The rumors abound when he takes interest in her. The people who surrounded Lord Barric were concerned that his reputation would be damaged if he was to show any sympathy for Rena. It is funny how people jump to conclusions that Rena must be after Lord Barric's money and that since she is a foreigner she is not worthy of him.
The story is similar to Ruth and Naomi from the bible but is told in a way that delves into more of what it was like to be an outcast and feel like you have been forgotten by God. It also highlights how a person is treated if they are from another country. The author kept my attention by telling a story that went into detail of the struggles of a young woman who made a promise she was willing to keep at all costs. The story flows easily and reminds readers that there is always hope.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.