Ruth is one of Henderson's many Bible-based historical novels. In these tales, Henderson takes a Bible character and fleshes out the details of her life, imagining what the experiences recorded in scripture might have looked like from a more personal view. In Ruth, we get an intimate retelling of one of the Bible's more moving stories of love and romance.
In the story of Ruth leaving Moab for Bethlehem, the widow is portrayed as gentle, humble, and courageous. These qualities seem to be reflected in scripture, and the expansion of them in the novel is quite fun to read. We feel we are drawn near to Ruth in her devastation, and also in the renewal of her life that is to follow. The book depicts her faith-struggles as she abandons her old religion and turns to the God of Abraham. Immersed in an unfamiliar culture and learning new customs, Ruth really takes on a whole new life.
The hard work that it takes for Ruth to move on in her life is admirable. Henderson's novel gives us a feel for how much effort it must have taken, marrying into a new family and struggling for acceptance. The Bible's record of this story is one that already presents us with a strong woman to be admired. Henderson's telling of it brings us in for a close up look..
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010