|Find this book by clicking on the version you prefer & title below|
AUDIOBOOK of In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
PRINT and E-BOOK of In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
In the Field of Grace is a must-read for fans of Biblical fiction, especially if you also enjoy a good romance. Since I’m sharing this review here at Edgy Inspirational Romance, I’m thinking that second bit at least is a pretty safe assumption. And even if Biblical fiction isn’t usually your thing, humor me for a moment and stick around for this review, because, who knows – this could be the book that wins you over to the genre. I can tell you, this was my first foray into Biblical fiction, and I’m feeling pretty smitten.
About the Book (from the Oasis Audio Web site):
Love resurrected from lifeless arms happens in the arms of a loving God.
Without wealth or family, the widow Ruth left her people and followed Naomi, her beloved Hebrew mother-in-law, to rebuild Naomi’s home in Israel. Provisions gone and starvation at the door, Ruth used all that she had left — a strong back and a willing heart — to gather grain in a field, abandoned after the harvest.
Tormented by others, Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field watching her. Talking to her. Bringing food to her and Naomi. Boaz tells himself his kindness toward Ruth is repayment for the love she has shown to his cousin Naomi. But his heart knows better.
Why You Need to Read (Or Listen To) It:
As you most likely picked up from the book’s description, this novel takes the Biblical story of Ruth as its framework. The original true story is totally worth reading if you haven’t in a while, and since it clocks in at only four chapters (the entire length of the Old Testament book of Ruth) it’s a quick read.
What Tessa Afshar has done is fictionalize the story by filling in backstory, character motivation, secondary characters, plot points, and historical details that plausibly fit what’s known of the true story. These additional details come together to form a vivid picture of what could have been, and allow the reader a glimpse into what might have been the thoughts and feelings of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. True, it’s speculation. Nobody really knows for sure. But wow does this retelling bring the characters and story to life and give the reader a whole new perspective!
I loved that Ruth and Boaz weren’t put on a pedestal, but presented as real-life people of their time period facing very real struggles and learning some tough lessons along the way. The historical details were interesting and presented naturally within the story. And I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic parts. This story did a great job capturing the ups and downs of falling in love and wondering whether that other person could ever reciprocate. It runs the emotional gamut from tear-jerking to sigh-worthy to laugh-out-loud humorous. Such a satisfying read!
Oh, and without revealing too much, the epilogue is a real treat. I don’t think I’ll ever look at the genealogy passages in scripture in quite the same way again. It’s easy to read individual Bible stories in isolation without considering how the people and stories may have been influenced by the very great-grandparents, etc. that we’ve read about in other Bible stories.
Audio or Print?
I’ll confess up front that I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and love it when I get a chance to review one. A good performance can add a whole new dimension to an already good story. Plus, they allow me to indulge my love of reading at times I otherwise couldn’t – like when driving or doing household chores that have my eyes and hands otherwise occupied.
In this audiobook, Laural Merlington’s rich and melodious reading complements the poetic qualities of the quasi-Biblical language of the text. She also does a great job capturing the emotions of the characters through expressive and varied voices, both male and female. I found the audio edition quite pleasing to the ear and would highly recommend it to those readers who enjoy the occasional audiobook or want to give listening a try.
All that said, whether you’re into audiobooks or not, the story is well worth reading, in whatever format you prefer.
Thank you to Oasis Audio for providing a complimentary electronic copy of the audio edition for my review.
Story: 5 Star
Performance: 5 Star
Content: No edgier than the original as told in the Bible, though if you think about it, that one scene might be considered pretty edgy by Christian fiction standards. ;)
EIR guest-reviewer Karen Collier writes and reviews Christian fiction, enjoys book discussions, and keeps an audiobook and ebook handy at all times. For her full bio, social links, and more check out her blog at karencollier.com.