The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
Published in 2006
From the blurb –
Sitting beneath a tree in ancient Bethlehem, Osnath, niece of the prophet Samuel, examines a dusty scrap of parchment she found hidden in her relative’s scroll room. Scrawled on the decaying page is an intriguing message addressed to Ruth the Moabite—great-grandmother of David, the future king of Israel. Compelled to discover the truth about Ruth’s life, Osnath begins searching for the identity of Ruth’s nameless lover and the secret that is cloaked behind his anonymity. But as she digs deeper into the past, she finds her inquiries blocked by David’s brother Eliab. What is the long-buried truth he fears will come to light? And what is the threat that Ruth’s story poses to his family’s vast inheritance?
First of all thanks a lot to the author Eva Etzioni-Halevy for sending me this lovely book. I have previously read and reviewed The Triumph of Deborah and loved it, so was looking forward to this one. And yes, I liked it too, maybe not as much as The Triumph of Deborah but loved it nevertheless.
The story of Ruth is well known for all who have read the Bible and I am not one of them.
The story starts with a young beautiful Israelite girl, Osnath traveling to Bethlehem to meet her extended family. Osnath has the ability to read and write, which is a rare quality possessed by women in those times. She is educated by her mother, who herself is a scribe and also by her father. She loves reading and writing scrolls and to her amazement finds a scroll room in there neighbors house. This is where she accidentally stumbles upon a few of Ruth’s poems which depict her life. Another scroll adds to the mystery about Ruth’s life which Osnath is determined to unravel. She is undeterred by the stiff objections from Ruth’s descendants. Osnath knows that there is a secret that Eliab, Ruth’s great grandson is trying to protect and she wants to know it and write about it too. Osnath gets help from her uncle Prophet Smauel and bit by bit uncovers the truth. In her journey to find the truth, she falls in love with Eliab’s youngest brother David, who is destined to be the King. She later realizes her true love and fights for him just as Ruth fought for hers.
This story shows women of strength who fought for there causes among there own kin and others. It is a beautifully written work and an amazing story! Eva has done a beautiful job of showcasing the strength of women in times when there choices were very limited. This book is highly recommended.