cover image In the Field of Grace

In the Field of Grace

Tessa Afshar. Moody/River North, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-8024-1097-

Afshar (Pearl in the Sand) dramatizes the story of Ruth in her fourth novel of historical fiction. In fleshing out Ruth’s character, Afshar portrays the young Moabite as a downtrodden sibling, mistreated by her sisters and a disappointment to her parents. Ruth’s oppressive home life may diminish the sacrifice she later makes to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Israel. Despite her devotion to Naomi, Ruth encounters rejection and indifference in Bethlehem. Naomi’s grief renders her practically catatonic, and Ruth is left to provide in both matters of finances and faith. Boaz, a wealthy landowner and cousin of her father-in-law, finds Ruth gleaning in his fields, and the widower takes an immediate interest in her, bringing hope to the young widow’s sad existence. Afshar does remain true to the basic premise of the biblical account. Yet her suppositions in the depiction of Ruth’s backstory, and Boaz’s gallant rescue of the damsel in distress, have more in common with the story of Cinderella than the story of the Bible. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency. (July)