Ruth could see the grief etched into her mother-in-law’s face. It had pressed down on them both during their long journey back to Naomi’s homeland in Israel. The death of Naomi’s sons had initiated their return to Bethlehem, but Ruth knew she would not be welcomed there. As a Moabite, the women of Bethlehem would likely treat her as an outcast. Even with that knowledge Ruth had chosen to be loyal to Naomi. She loved her and her God and she trusted that He held their future in His hands.
As a means to provide food for Naomi and herself, Ruth set to work gleaning in a field just outside the walls of the city. She soon learned the identity of the landowner named Boaz… Not only is he a well respected man of Judah he is also Naomi’s cousin by marriage. When Boaz stops to survey the harvest, he finds himself oddly drawn to this foreign beauty. He feels an instant desire to protect her and instructs Ruth to return to his fields until the harvest is complete. At first he tells himself that this protective desire is because he is kin to Naomi but if he would be honest with himself, it’s so much more than that.
Tessa Afshar has taken one of the most beloved stories in the bible and alighted it on my heart once more. In the Field of Grace exemplifies how God delights in using the most unlikely people to fulfill His divine purposes. Through a series of seemingly unrelated events, Tessa Afshar reveals how the Lord begins to weave Ruth into the lineage of Israel. Ultimately He provides hope for the world through the union of Ruth and Boaz.
The opening chapters lay a strong foundation for the remainder of the story by opening a window into the lives of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi before their lives begin to intertwine. Over the course of the novel additional characters enrich and endear the story to its readers.
Just as I would envision Ruth of the bible, Tessa portrays her character as a humble servant – kind and compassionate. I was drawn to her light hearted humor that seemed to chase away the grief that she had to bear. She extended grace to those who mistreated her and won their affections through her selfless service to Naomi.
I particularly liked how the author created Boaz to be more than just a rescuer or romantic interest in the story. Written as a strong male character, Boaz is not exempt from fear and insecurities. He took interest in the lives of those who worked for him, acted honorably in his pursuit of Ruth, and personified a cheerful giver.
By virtue of it’s delightful storytelling, biblical truths, and irresistible characters I give In the Field of Grace 4 stars. It will be available for purchase July 1, 2014 from River North Fiction, a division of Moody Publishers
I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Author:
TESSA AFSHAR was voted “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, lived there for the first fourteen years of her life, and attended an English boarding school for girls before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last twelve years in full- and part-time Christian work.