In the Field of GraceTessa Afshar
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 ... Read More
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?
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Jul 1, 2014
- UPC: 9780802410979
- Height: 0.75
- Width: 5.5
- Length: 8.5
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 290
- Publish Date: Jul 1, 2014
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 0802410979
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Beautiful and inspirational retelling of Ruth by Carole on 7/30/14
Tessa Afshar is a gifted writer whose stories exemplify what I hope for when I pick up a Christian fiction book, and that is the skillful communication of spiritual truths in a way that entertains while inspiring and encouraging me to grow in my faith. Drawing from what is familiar to many, Tessa fleshes out the Old Testament story of Ruth with rich characterization, emotional romance, historical background, and spiritual depth. The four chapters of Ruth are combined with a moving fictional narrative in a way that doesn't take away or change the biblical account. For an even richer experience, I recommend reading the book of Ruth both before and after reading In the Field of Grace.
There was nothing about the portrayal of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz that felt unrealistic; in fact, the very opposite was true, because they felt real. It was easy to sense the depth of Naomi's despair and anger over her losses, why Ruth was willing to leave her family and religion of idolatry, and the incredible goodness of Boaz - who, as a kinsman redeemer, becomes a picture of Christ.
Failing to be the son her parents hoped for, Ruth grew up unwanted, invisible, and with constant criticism - whereas in Naomi's family, she found extravagant, undeserving approval. Ruth wasn't wildly in love with Mahlon, but "he drew her like a shepherd's fire on a freezing desert night. . . . Being with Naomi's family was like an antidote to the bitterness of her own relations." Watching Ruth respond to the call of God on her heart and cling to her faith is very moving.
I really liked seeing the character of Boaz fleshed out, because I've never had a clear image of what he might have been like. Wealthy, middle aged, highly respected, generous and caring, with a soft spot for those in need - and we see the great insight Boaz has into the human heart in the scene with the crippled boy, Eli, one of my favorite parts.
Our pastor recently took us through a sermon series where we looked at the stories of biblical characters and events (the lower story), then how God's hand could be seen throughout (the upper story). That's exactly what Tessa brings out so clearly with In the Field of Grace. So many spiritual themes spoke to me - important themes I've known all my life, but constantly need to be reminded of. For instance, that God always has a plan for our lives and obedience is key . . . even if we don't receive the desires of our heart, we can find contentment in Him . . . every person has extreme value in God's sight . . . no sorrow is ever wasted in God's hands.
Tessa knows the ways of God and conveys them beautifully through her writing. I'm impressed not only with Tessa's writing skills, but her heart. God looks for those who have a heart for Him, whose hearts beat for Him, and that's what Tessa brings out in Ruth - her love, faithfulness, self sacrifice, and compassion. Ruth questions why the life of one Moabite widow would matter to the Lord of heaven and earth, and I think the book's overarching theme is expressed in these words: "The Lord uses odd instruments to fulfill His will. The weaker the vessel, the better He likes it. It only proves His strength."
I appreciate a book that challenges or makes me examine my faith. When Boaz is asked to surrender that which is most precious to him, Ruth, I had to in turn ask myself, what have I held back from the Lord? Tessa concludes with a wonderful epilogue that shows how the upper story plays out, and I'll conclude with these words spoken by David to his son, Solomon, that challenge us as well . . .
"There is only one measure of true success. How close you remain by God's side. Does the dust of His feet get on your cloak because you follow so close? Does the sound of His whisper reverberate in your ear because you have drawn so near? Are you obedient to that voice, day after day, hour after hour?"
Thank you to Tessa Afshar for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
- Beautiful story of the love of Ruth and Boaz and God's faithfulness! by Jeri's Real Reviews on 6/16/14
The Biblical story of Ruth and Boaz is beloved because it is a concise detailed description of the lineage of Christ that we can see clearly in history. The title of this book is descriptive of the grace that Ruth benefits from in the fields of Boaz, born of God’s love for her and personified in Boaz’s heart for God. In the Field of Grace relates that story and is a transporting novel. It takes you right to the heart of that history and the story and even to the heart of Judah. It brings tears of joy that you share with Ruth when she is enveloped by delight from the realization that God loves her and does have provision over her, as well as sympathy for her sorrow when her despair of ever belonging or having a life of consequence washes over her; which comes as a result of her rejection in Bethlehem because she was a Moabitess. I could have done without Ruth’s vision while she was in a death-like sleep (coma) after the birth of Obed, as it hearkens to the current fascination with stories about visiting heaven and God during a death experience, then returning to earth. None the less, this does not detract from the beauty of the story and Ms. Afshar’s ability to relate to us the account of Ruth and Boaz. The author is a natural story-teller and the ease with which she drew me in to the heart of the characters is a clear indication of that. She uses just enough poetic license to bring everyday reality to the story which was certainly present in Bible times, via a glimpse of the culture, daily routine, and clear picture she paints of God’s law being followed, or not. I was absorbed into this era from the beginning of the novel with the author’s descriptive narrative of the times, the place and the people. It reads very easily and kept me turning the pages to see what beauty was in store next. It is a comforting, reassuring account of God’s unfailing love for His people. This is a book to be best savored sitting outside on a summer day with a tall glass of iced tea and an uninterrupted afternoon. I give In the Field of Grace five stars and I think I will be reading Ms. Afshar’s other works, as well. I was given an e-reader copy from the publisher of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review. These words are my opinion.