Writing in the trademark style that has won her countless fans, award-winning author Francine Rivers explores the courageous life of Ruth, a biblical ancestor of Jesus, in Unshaken
, the third novel in her Lineage of Grace series. Empathy for the characters kicks in immediately. Naomi's life is in ruins. Her husband and sons are dead, and she is left with only her beloved daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah. Ruth turns her back on her own family and risks everything to care for Naomi, insisting "I will go wherever you go! I will live wherever you live! Your God will be my God."
Things get worse before they get better. Desperately poor, Ruth and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem and eke out an impoverished existence until Ruth's beauty and character turn the head of Boaz, a few decades older and the wealthiest man in town. Soon Ruth's desire to obey God is put to the test as she takes the biggest risk of all. In the endearing manner that has made her one of the top writers of Christian fiction, Rivers portrays how Ruth's unshaken commitment to God had a profound impact on biblical history. Her poignant account of Ruth's life will give modern readers a benchmark by which to measure their own levels of faith and obedience. --Cindy Crosby
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From Publishers Weekly
Third in Rivers's Lineage of Grace series, this novella based on the biblical story of Ruth adds characters, dialogue and motivation to the biblical account. An accomplished romance novelist, Rivers capably balances faithfulness to Scripture and historical accuracy. In particular, she deserves kudos for imagining the emotional and erotic dimensions of Ruth and Boaz's courtship and marriage -- evangelical explorations of Ruth, such as Men Are from Israel, Women Are from Moab, too often gloss over these realities. The pivotal scene of the biblical account and the novel plays out on the threshing floor when Ruth lies at Boaz's feet as part of a Hebrew courtship ritual; Rivers skillfully captures the heart-stopping nervousness and sexual tension any man and woman would feel in such circumstances. Ruth's relationship with Naomi, however, is less artfully rendered. In virtually every exchange, the two seem overwrought about one thing or another; tears spill continually throughout the novella, losing their meaning all too early. Written at a reading level accessible even to preadolescents, this novella, with its six-part Bible study, will probably serve primarily as a devotional tool as opposed to a stand-alone work of fiction. Rivers and her biblical source celebrate Ruth's self-abnegation in a manner deeply at odds with contemporary feminism, but considering the target audience, that may be of little consequence. As part of a larger project to spur evangelical Christian women on to lives of obedience, Rivers's novella achieves its goals admirably.
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