Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review: "In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar

In the Field of Grace Tessa Afshar
Published: July 1, 2014
ISBN: 9780802410979
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Netgalley
Highly recommended for readers of Christian Fiction

Summary:
Ruth leaves her home with  a barren womb and an empty future, after losing her husband. She forsakes her abusive parents and follows the woman she has grown to love as a true parent, her husband's mother, Naomi.

Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. She is destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. She is reduced to gathering leftovers once the harvesters have finished collecting grain from the field. A job only for the lowest of the low.

But God has other plans for her life.


While everyone considers Ruth an unworthy outsider, Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field-one of the wealthiest and most honored men of Judah-is showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz finds himself irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the dark, haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

My Thoughts:
I went into this book a little bit biased--I adore the story of Ruth!  I also think that it is one of the easier Old Testament stories to use as a basis for Christian Fiction.  Its plot isn't vague, as in the case of Noah and the Ark, and it isn't too detailed in the Bible, as in the case of Esther.  It's also a love story--and who doesn't love a romance?

I will say that I quite liked Afshar's take on the story.  She stays close to the source, filling in details only where needed.  She also infuses references to other passages in the Old Testament, as well as sections of the New Testament.  She gives a very plausible reason why Ruth would follow Naomi away from Maob and back to Israel, which I appreciated.

She also weaves in a few subplots, with mixed results.  While the relationship between Adin and Dinah is interesting, I do think she spent a bit too much time on it and I felt that it started to pull away a bit too much from Ruth's story.  Afshar may also have had some problems with her transitions.  I say she "may" have because I was reading an electronic review copy of this book--the version I read had some very abrupt scene changes.  However, it could be that some formatting corrections in the final copy may have cleared these up.

This book is very firmly in the "Christian Fiction" genre.  If that is not your thing, I would not recommend this book.  However, if you enjoy this genre, you should give this book a try!

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.



In the Field of Grace
by Tessa Afshar
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