Review: In The Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

Biblical fiction is a genre I have tended to stay away from when it comes to books. I have watched some Biblical movies (I still enjoy The Ten Commandments and was extremely disappointed with Noah). But picking up a book that was a retelling of a Biblical story just didn’t appeal to me for quite awhile. There is a part of me that wonders how much a person can take a literary license to a Biblical account before it distorts the message. But as I have thought about it further, I apply my own imagination when I read Biblical accounts. I try to imagine what the Garden of Eden really looked like, or what it would have been like to actually walk with God there. I wonder how it appeared to have a never ending supply of bread and fish that miraculously fed 5,000 people, or the shock and wonder of seeing Lazarus raised from the dead. 

Some of the Old Testament stories are easy for me to imagine. Maybe it is because I grew up with Sunday School teachers placing paper people on a felt board while telling a story. The story of Ruth is one that comes to mind. However, as an adult, there are things about these Biblical stories that I wonder differently. The Bible tells a lot of facts about what happened, but what were the people really like? What kind of fears did they have. After all, I know I trust in the Lord, but sometimes that trust does not come easily. I think Biblical fiction does offer a unique perspective on these stories. It helps to make some of these people that we know about in the Bible come to life. 

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From Amazon: 

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the 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.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole world.

The part of me that loves a good romance story has always enjoyed the story of Ruth and Boaz. While some of it may have been Boaz’s kindhearted actions towards Ruth, it always seemed to me that there was a true love story in between the lines of the Biblical account. Tessa Afshar retells this story in a wonderful way, bringing all the characters to life. Her novel portrays their fears and worries alongside of hopes and dreams. But more importantly she portrays their faith.

I loved reading the novel and would come across what the Book of Ruth records as something having actually been said. The novel flawlessly moves between what the Bible says and the story. In the Field of Grace really brought the characters alive for me. I’ll admit I was reading with a critical eye, waiting for the novel to completely deviate somewhere or take more of a creative license than it should have, but I was pleased with the novel. I also don’t feel that it will skew my remembrance or study of the Biblical account, but rather help me think of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz as people who really did live. Maybe as I read more of the Bible in the future I will have to put my imagination to work more and imagine some of the other people with a bit more life and emotion.

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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**I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**



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