Be warned - although this is a novel about biblical characters, it has some fairly graphic romantic scenes.
The story of Ruth told through the eyes of Osnath, a niece of the prophet Samuel. This book is really told in 2 halves. The story of Osnath and the story of Ruth as Osnath discovers it in old scrolls. The author makes the characters interesting, but at times I am disquieted by the ease with which she seems to make all the characters with some dishonor. No one really appears to be honorable although she tries to redeem them in the end.
This book tells the story of Osnath, a young woman visiting Bethlehem with her grandmother. While staying there, Osnath tries to deal with her feelings for two different men and piece together the story of Ruth. However, Osnath has to deal with numerous obstacles in her quest to uncover Ruth's story as no one seems to want certain aspects of that particular story told. The second half of the book contains Ruth's story along with Osnath's commentary about how these events make her think about her own situation in life.
This wasn't a bad book, but it just wasn't what I was expecting. While the story itself was interesting, I didn't really like any of the characters. I understand that everyone has their flaws, but it just seems like all of the characters were making very stupid decisions, ones that probably could have been avoided for the most part with a little bit of communication. Those characters that weren't making bad choices due to lack of communication seemed to be making bad choices due to a lack of morals. Again, I understand that everyone has their flaws, but it just seemed like a bit much in this book.
The story consists of two stories in one book. Osnath, a 15 year old is very curious about the stories of Ruth and tries to piece together Ruth's story through scroles and pieces of information she gathers from those around her while she herself is pursued romanticly and falls in love. Her search gets her in trouble as well as teaches her much about life. The historical information of the life of women of biblical times is very informative and I enjoyed the story very much.
The Garden of Ruth delves into history as the bible describes it, and adds embellishment and intrigue as well. Eva Etzioni-Halevy's style of writing draws the reader into the world of Ruth and her descendants, thereby making all of their lives into a continuous beautiful story never told. The characters are intensely connected by the bonds of their religion and family history, which the years and time fail to separate. The book is truly written from a woman's point of view, and sheds light on the unknown world of Jewish women who were important, scarcely mentioned biblical heroes, and at the same time brings to full light their human weaknesses, needs and tribulations. Any woman reader can very easily feel their pain, and elation.
In Ramah, Uncle Samuel the prophet sends his intelligent fifteen year old niece Osnath to Bethlehem to uncover the truth inside of the sweetly wrapped tale of the lass' ancestor Ruth the Moabite, who married Boaz after another male in-law rejected her. Samuel specifically wants her to name the unnamed man who refused to wed Ruth.
Osnath stays with her relatives of the clan of Jesse where he wants her to read the documents in the scroll room to uncover the identity of the anonymous lover. However, everyone in the clan of Jesse wants her to drop her research; especially Jesse's oldest son, Eliab diligently guards the scroll room from her. He tries to distract the teen through seduction, even while she sleeps with his charming youngest brother David the shepherd.
Part One follows Osnath "In the Footsteps of Ruth" while Part Two focuses on the "Tale of Ruth" from the first hand perspective of Ruth. Readers will enjoy both sections that enable the comparison of the biblical legendary Ruth and her generation to that of her great-grandchildren as well as a fresh look at her saga. THE GARDEN OF RUTH is a delightful explicit look at the plight of women in ancient times.