I love to read books and when I was a kid, I could easily read a book and finish it in a week’s time. In 1991, when motherhood came calling, my time to be able to read a book greatly diminished and even though I still love to read, it takes me a lot, lot longer to finish a book. My favorite type of books to read are books based on historic events or people, and books that blend historical facts with fictional characters.
I was perusing the shelves at the Rolla Public Library in February and came across In the Field of Grace, a historical fiction novel based upon the wonderful bible story about Ruth. I have said for years, to anyone who might be listening, that the story of Ruth would make a wonderful movie, if done correctly and not taken out of character, or taken far from the truths the story imparts. Hollywood? If you’re interested, this book should be the basis for a screenplay!!!
Tessa Afshar, the author, has taken the story of Ruth and added so much richness to the story. The reader is allowed to ponder many what ifs that ring true to the biblical story. Such as, perhaps Ruth was not loved by her biological family and that caused her to easily fall in love not only with her first husband but his mother as well, who treated her as a beloved daughter, who treated her with great kindness. That would help explain why Ruth would be so willing to travel to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, when both were now widows, to be willing to live in a new town and new country despite that country having such different customs and worldviews than her native Moab. (Which is actually modern day Jordan.)
Afshar has done her research well: we delve into customs, foods, how homes were set up and cared for, the daily chores and seasonal tasks one had to do in bibilical times. We also get some great behind the scenes looks at Boaz’s life pre-Ruth. Boaz is the strong, heroic man of the story. He is fleshed out wonderfully with emotions and a strong faith in God, and all of these attributes help in giving his character a deeper sense in who he might have been; more than just the man who saves Ruth and Naomi from starvation.
I highly recommend this book, In the Field of Grace. I had a hard time putting it down! It really is a well-written, well-researched, and one can tell, lovingly crafted story. For more information about the author, Tessa Afshar, here is a link to her online information page.