IN THE FIELD OF GRACE
Afshar writes unforgettable biblical fiction. Here she’s taken the beloved Naomi and developed her family into its fullness. Naomi and Ruth adhere to the God of Judah, and there are distinct indicators in Afshar’s writing that reflect her research of the Old Testament’s cultural norms. Having to endure the hardships of grief brings together a lively and lovely cast of characters.
Naomi, matchmaker for her sons, forms a family that is overflowing with love and generosity. Happiness abounds until her sons are taken from them. Naomi senses she must return to the homeland of her youth and Ruth decides to care for her as long as she lives. When they arrive in Israel, Naomi and Ruth are able to make room in their hearts to build loving friendships and barter to maintain their health and well-being. Naomi’s cousin Boaz is amazed by Ruth and her goodness at Naomi’s side, and the people are able to put aside Ruth’s heritage and accept her as a follower of the God of Israel. Boaz senses his attraction and concern for Ruth, but he is withholding his affections. Boaz is well loved and admired as a fair and kind master — will he be able to heal his heart of the loss of two children and his beloved Judith and make room for Ruth and Naomi? (RIVER NORTH, Jul., 304 pp., $14.99)