I recently had the opportunity to read and review the new book Redeeming Grace, by Jill Eileen Smith. This is a biblical fiction book based on the life and story of Ruth. I have read other books in this series based on other women in the Bible, and was excited to see another book out based on one of my favorite Bible characters.
Smith tells the story of Ruth’s marriage to Naomi’s son Mahlon, and the sad turn of events in which Mahlon dies. The two women return back to Bethlehem, full of grief, wrestling with thoughts of God’s goodness and whether He still cares for them. Then, Boaz enters the scene – who Smith portrays as struggling through his own grief over losing his wife not long before Ruth and Naomi arrived back in town. All three characters have to wrestle with their own pasts and losses, and learn that God has not forgotten them, but is orchestrating their lives to carry out His plans of love and faithfulness to their families and the nation of Israel as a whole.
Though many of the experiences in this story are not details we know from the biblical account, Smith has a way of weaving them in so readers are able to put a personality and connection to what they know from the biblical account. (For example, it was not common for well respected men of that day not to have ever married, so perhaps Boaz was a widow?) I was really able to think about Ruth’s story in a more detailed way and what emotional struggles she might have gone through due to her loss. Furthermore, Smith did a great job incorporating details on the true customs and traditions that really did occur during the time when Ruth and Naomi lived. The details involving the barley harvest and Feast of Weeks were fascinating to me. Also, all of the details and festivities put into the bridegroom’s arrival to get his bride were so beautiful, and reminded me of Christ and His Church.
I especially love the story of Ruth now that I have too have experienced loss, have had to figure out life on my own, and have wrestled with questions about God’s love and faithfulness. Ruth’s story brings so much hope that God has not forgotten the widow, but has a special place in His heart for them. He is weaving together a beautiful story only He could write through the hard times, and He is always working on something even when we can’t see it. That is portrayed so beautifully through the life and book of Ruth. I really appreciated how this book helped me think about her life and possibly real experiences and emotions in new ways.
I received the book Redeeming Grace from the blogger Revell Reads program, in exchange for my honest opinion of these books.