Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the Field of Grace is not only a moving retelling of the biblical love story of Ruth and Boaz but of Ruth’s journey to Christ, as well. Ruth grew up in Moab unloved by her family (except by her sweet, ailing grandfather), constantly reminded that she’s not good enough. Enter Naomi, a sweet old woman in the market, who happens to run into Ruth one day invites her for dinner. Naomi introduces Ruth to not just her son, Mahlon, but also to God. In awe of the unconditional love, faith, and kindness she finds in her new family, Ruth chooses her husband’s God over the Moabite gods she’d known all her life. When tragedy strikes and Ruth’s husband dies, she refuses to abandon her grieving mother-in-law and accompanies Naomi back to Israel.
Tessa Afshar turns the same tired, old Bible story into a refreshing read. She sweeps you along with Ruth’s conflictions without too much backstory or explanation and while it’s not a can’t-put-it-down read, you’ll want to read through to find out how Ruth handles the obstacles in her path. Ruth is used to being an outcast in Moab and is again in Bethlehem, though she doesn’t let it control her. Despite not fitting in, despite the harsh words and treatment from the native women of Bethlehem, and despite having little more than the clothing on her back and the refuge of the old house belonging to Naomi, Ruth persisted. The awkward feelings felt on both sides between Ruth and Boaz are adorable and realistic, and Afshar’s historic knowledge offers a glimpse into what daily life was like during that time. It’s not only a refreshing read, but I feel like I have a better understanding of this particular story than ever before.
The only downside, in my opinion, is that after the glossed-over wedding (which I wish would have gotten a bit more attention after all the build-up), the energy seems to fizzle out in the story. Yet, you find yourself rooting for characters who started out as antagonists in Ruth’s life as their lives are changed by her presence. Afshar offers tragedy, suffering, comic relief, lessons in faith, self-sacrifice, a good love story, and a warm, happy ending to tie it all together.
As it turns out, learning can be fun.