The lessons found in the Book of Ruth about friendship, love, and starting over after tragedy are not only well preserved in the novel ‘Redeeming Grace’ by Jill Eileen Smith, but also go much deeper to include characters’ insights, motives, and relationship dynamics.
In her novel, Smith digs well into the story about Ruth, the Moabite; Naomi, the Israelite mother-in-law with whom Ruth maintains a strong daughter-like relationship following her husband’s (also Naomi’s son) death; and Boaz, Naomi’s relative whom Ruth eventually meets.
Taking some creative license with the Book of Ruth, Smith uses her trademark combination of fleshed-out realistic characters and her well-researched knowledge of Old Testament women’s history and culture to illustrate a story that shows that modern-day women can and do relate to the heartache, joy, and unyielding perseverance the biblical women in “Redeeming Grace” possess.
Here is a summary of the novel from Smith’s website:
When famine visit Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Behtlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.