Tessa Afshar leapt to the top of the Biblical fiction genre a few short years ago with Pearl in the Sand. Plain and simply I was drawn to that book because of who the main character was, Rahab. Since then I have enjoyed Tessa’s other books that have been releasing. She has a way of writing a story based on a Biblical character that makes the whole story come to life. Ones that I have read or heard about for years, but for some reason when I get done reading Tessa’s book it feels like they are now friends and their story has become so familiar it was like a friend had shared it.
In the Field of Grace Tessa bring the story of Ruth and Naomi to life. Ruth has followed her mother-in-law to Naomi’s homeland. It’s a place with unfamiliar people and customs to Ruth. They have no men to take care of them, no money and no family, what will the two women do? They return to Naomi’s home to rebuild and to hopefully eek out a living gathering the leftovers from a distant relative’s fields.
Being a foreigner and a woman to boot, Ruth finds herself the subject of ridicule from the others, that is until she catches the eye of the owner and he demands that the others leave her alone. Who is this person and why is he suddenly interested in her? Boaz knows better, but his heart tells him otherwise.
This story that is one that most people know by heart. The story of a woman who sacrifices it all to go live with her mother-in-law, a woman that Ruth owes nothing to, because she is young enough to marry again and really has no reason to take care of her dead husband’s mother. She has no tradition that tells her to take care of Naomi and yet she does.
I know as a kid hearing Ruth’s story, I thought she must have been perfect and how happy and content she was to do all the things she did. Tessa makes the point of not writing Ruth as perfect, but a woman who is doing what she feels is correct for a woman she has come to love. It doesn’t mean she isn’t frightened or that everything goes smoothly, but she continues on ahead and find the desires of her heart.
Tessa does a great job of making Ruth a person who is human, not the perfect person that is sometimes written about in other fictional stories. She’s someone you would like to meet at a local coffee shop and get to know better.