Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: June 12, 2014

Two women. Alone. With no provision. Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land? 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. Obstacles. Heartache. Withered dreams. How can God forge love, passion, and new hope between two such different people?

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In February 2013 I reviewed The Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's Wife by Rebecca Kanner and came out as self-admitted cover slut. I'd love to say things have changed, that I've matured into a more discerning individual, but no, good cover art still makes me weak in the knees. I get lightheaded, all rational thought goes out the window and I just can't help myself. Okay, not really. 

Don't misunderstand, DogEared Design, LLC is primarily responsible for my interest Tessa Afshar's In the Field of Grace, but I did actually look at the book's content before picking up the title. I'm not a huge fan of biblical fiction, I'm not even all that religious, but I am familiar with Ruth's story and felt it had potential in terms of a fictional narrative and looking back, I honestly wish I'd been able to appreciate the story more than I did. 

Afshar is a decent writer, but her style is far too preachy for my particular tastes. Take that as you will, publicly chastise me if it will make you feel better, but it wont change my opinion. Again, this has nothing to do with faith or some pre-existing prejudice, I just don't like when an author's tone eclipses their setting, characters, and/or plot. 

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“I could not imagine a better way to be remembered. I hope our descendants will understand that without the stones, there can be no oil. I pray they will learn fortitude and faith when they look at these trees you dream of planting.”
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